wed 21/04/2021

Blu-ray: Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea | reviews, news & interviews

Blu-ray: Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea

Blu-ray: Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea

Lightweight but likeable Czech time-travel romp

More 'Carry On' than Kubrick: Petr Kostka prepares for takeoff

Jindřich Polák ’s 1963 film Ikarie XB-1 (also available from distributor Second Run) still seems fresh, a cerebral, visually arresting sci-fi which clearly influenced 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Jindřich Polák ’s 1963 film Ikarie XB-1 (also available from distributor Second Run) still seems fresh, a cerebral, visually arresting sci-fi which clearly influenced 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s surprising to read that Polák was actually a comedy specialist, and that the broader, farcical stylings of 1977’s Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea (Zítra vstanu a opařím se čajem) are more typical of the director’s output. Yes, it’s still sci-fi, but more Carry On than Kubrick. The setup is a good one, with elderly Nazis plotting to travel back in time from the 1990s with a stolen hydrogen bomb and thereby change the course of history.

Tomorrow Scald Tea packshotPolák’s future actually looks very much like Prague in the drab late 1970s, though one where anti-ageing pills are freely available and wealthy tourists are able to take advantage of revolutionary technology allowing them to visit Ancient Egypt or Paris during the French Revolution. Strict rules apply, of course, with visitors permitted to observe but not intervene. Polák shot the departure lounge scenes in the recently constructed Prague Metro, and decent effects make the whole process intriguing but reassuringly normal. Three ageing fascists bribe a corrupt pilot to take them to 1944 where they will present Hitler with a briefcase-sized nuclear weapon. What could possibly go wrong?

This being broad comedy, quite a lot. Philandering pilot Karel Bureš (Petr Kostka) chokes over breakfast, so his identical twin, time-travel rocket designer Jan (also played by Kostka) takes his place. Why the inventor of such world-changing kit is a scruffy bachelor in a flatshare is one of many inconsistencies, along with his seeming indifference to Karel’s demise. Donning Karel’s uniform, Jan sets out to take his place. The conspirators are mystified by Jan’s unawareness of the plan’s finer details and enraged when a couple of comedy American tourists also board the flight. The rocket lands in 1941 by mistake, the bomb gets lost, and the trio encounter a disbelieving and uncharismatic Hitler (František Vicena, pictured below). I’ll say no more, except that the historical segments are well staged but occupy a relatively small proportion of the film, the bulk of what ensues concerning Jan’s efforts to restore order.Frantisek Vicena as HitlerThe best time travel films don’t take themselves too seriously; who wouldn’t rather watch Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey than Tenet? Polák cranks up the pace in the film’s final act, accompanied by Karel Svoboda’s jaunty score. Characters cross their past selves without incident, and how Jan fixes things is both ingenious and satisfying. You may need a pencil and notepad to track exactly what transpires (I did) and replaying key scenes is recommended, but everything ties up neatly. This is fluff, but enjoyable fluff, and it’s good to have it readily available; Graham Williamson’s booklet essay reveals that the film’s cult following in the UK dates back to 1982 and a single, unrepeated BBC2 showing, the audience boosted by a delayed Match of the Day broadcast on BBC1. Second Run’s image and sound quality are decent, and there’s a commentary from the hosts of The Projection Booth podcast.

@GrahamRickson

You may need a pencil and notepad to track exactly what transpires

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters