Hej-Rup! (Heave-Ho!)

In the 1930s, Czechoslovakian films were a glorious lot — delirious, adroitly made and sumptuously filmed on location. One such dazzler is the 1934 comedy masterpiece Hej-Rup! (Heave-Ho!) from director Martin Fric (the Czechs’ grand old man of the movies, he started his career in 1919).

What gives this movie such a kick are the two wily stars, veteran actors Jiri Voskovec and Jan Werich, who co-wrote the story and had been Czechoslovakia’s leading theatrical duo and cultural icons since 1927. Their brand of surreal high jinks and biting social commentary is bracing, and this Depression Era movie lovingly showcases their particularly European sensibilities, which seem so contemporary today. Like the best of Chaplin — with a wry visual nod to Sergei Eisenstein — it’s the little guy against the machine. The machine doesn’t stand a chance.

5 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Sun., Jan. 15, 5 p.m., 2012

 
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