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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Transport z raje" )


directed by Zbynek Brynych
Czechoslovakia 1963


Although dotted with satirical touches and sentimentality, the tone of TRANSPORT TO PARADISE is grim and hopeless. During World War II, the Czech eighteenth century garrison Terezin was designated Theresienstadt by the Nazis, a Jewish ghetto that is apparently autonomous and self-governing (while taking the "wishes" of the Nazis into consideration). The Nazis state the number of those to be transported to "work camps" and the Chairman of the Town Council (Zdenek Stepánek) draws up the lists. Under pressure from the international Red Cross to visit the camp, the Fuhrer send a general (Jindrich Narenta, THE CREMATOR) to check out the operation in advance of the visit. He even has the idea to produce a propoganda film to show that life continues on as normal in the ghetto. When rumors of death camps, gas chambers, and crematoriums reach the ears of the chairman, he refuses to sign the transport papers (his consent not actually necessary other than to preserve the illusion of Jewish autonomy and complicity). The chairman is sent for "special treatment and appoints the more opportunistic Marmulstaub (Cestmír Randa, WITCHES HAMMER) - also known as "Toady" or "The Rat" - in his place. Once they have brutally stamped out the "rumor mill" and other dissent, the general decides that they can invite the Red Cross delegation to judge for themselves. In reality, the delegation visited and were fooled which then motivated the Nazis to have famous Jewish actor/director Kurt Gerron [THE BLUE ANGEL] to produce a propoganda film in exchange for releasing him and his family from the camp (which they did, but they sent them to Auschwitz where they were murdered).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 25 October 1963 (East Germany)

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DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:32:21 (4% PAL speedup)

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.17 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Czech/German/French/English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 20-page booklet 'Reality and Illusion in Theresienstadt' by Roy Kift

DVD Release Date: 10 March 2014

Chapters 12



Second Run's dual-layer disc features some edge enhancement as well as some marks and scratches around the reel change points, but detail is good in close-up and fair elsewhere (the film does have a deliberately harsh and dark look and the weather conditions do seem to effect clarity in the exterior scenes). The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is very clean with the pointed use of certain sound effects coming through vividly. The optional English subtitles are free of errors and attempt to translate all of the non-English dialogue until we become accustomed to certain repeated lyrics and the roll call counts.

The sole extras is a helpful eighteen-page booklet by playwright Roy Kift that gives background on Theresienstadt (Kift has written two plays on the subject) and its cultural world, including the use of humor and satire in the face of the inconceivable. It also covers the historical facts behind the film (and how they were shuffled for dramatic purposes here).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL


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