It’s now half a century since the première of the fairy tale Three Little Nuts for Cinderella, without which Christmas would be unimaginable for the Czechs and Germans. Join us in following in the footsteps of this magical story and see the places where this iconic film was shot. We’ve also got a few fascinating facts for you about the shoot.
The classic plot of the fairy tale about Cinderella, who has to put up with her stepmother and stepsister at home and gets a ball gown in magic nuts, is revived in the film Three Little Nuts for Cinderella with the main characters given new traits, especially Cinderella. She gets into the action a lot more than her predecessor – she rides a horse, can shoot a crossbow like a seasoned hunter, and doesn't put up with any monkey business. The prince is a wayward young lad who’d rather hunt and have fun with his friends than work on his court manners or get ready for a ball.
And it is perhaps these appealing differences from the classic story that have earned this Czech fairy tale such a cult following. There’s no doubt that this is also down to the charismatic actors, amazing music and of course the fairy-tale setting amidst drifts of white snow. And we’ll guide you through the places that formed the unforgettable backdrops of this film.
Try on Cinderella's slipper!And so let's start right from the beginning, at the farmstead where the movie Cinderella lives with her stepmother and sister. That was the Švihov water castle in the Plzeň region. In order to make it a perfect farm backdrop, barns, a living area, a wooden loft and a plaster gate were built; they shot scenes in the Red Bastion, and a dovecote was placed in the courtyard. When you visit the castle, make sure you don’t miss the special exhibition on The Secret of Cinderella's Slipper. It features the original movie script as well as photos from the shoot… And, of course, you’ll have the chance to try on the slipper.
On the trail of Jurášek the horseJurášek, Cinderella's white horse, was also stabled in Švihov. Cinderella used to ride him around the château in Lužnice and in Mezihoří in the Plzeň region. In the orchard there, you’ll also find a cottage, formerly the site of the barn where Rozárka the owl watches over Cinderella's treasures. The area around Mezihoří appears at least two more times in the film, when our heroine flees home after the ball and then at the end of the story, when Cinderella's stepsister Dora and her mother are riding away from the prince and they and their carriage fall into the Mezihoří pond.
Can you find your three little nuts as well?But let's rewind a few dozen minutes. Do you remember the scene when the nuts fall on Vincek's nose as he sleeps? That scene was shot around Javorná in the Klatovy district. That’s also the setting for the part where Cinderella is disguised as a huntsman, as well as another scene when she hides in a tree and throws a snowball at the prince, leading to the famous exchange of words "I'm telling you, come dooooown.""I'm telling you, come uuuup." This much-loved scene was filmed near the village of Onen Svět.
And the bell rang...The last romantic scene, when the main characters are riding their horses across the snowy plains towards their future fairy-tale life to the sound of Czech music legend Karel Gott, takes place in Jesení.
An (unreal) château ballAnd the royal palace? You’ll find that near Bohemian Switzerland. Paradoxically, only the exteriors of the German Moritzburg Castle are featured in the film. The only time the palace actually appeared was in the scenes of Cinderella arriving at the château ball, peeking into the hall where she sees Dora dancing with the prince, and then rushing down the stairs and losing her slipper. Another scene also takes place at the château, when two of the prince's comrades are getting ready to go hunting and the preceptor exchanges their weapons for books. The entire ball was actually shot in a film studio.
Some things you might not know about the movie Three Little Nuts for Cinderella
- The fairy tale is not only loved by the Czechs and Germans. Viewers in Norway, where Christmas regularly starts with the Czech Cinderella, in Austria, Russia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and even in the Philippines, also adore it.
- Unfortunately, it didn't snow when they were filming in Germany. And so the filmmakers had to improvise. They made snow from ground bones from a fish cannery. When the sun shone on it, everything stank of fish. It’s said that the forests still smelled of fish in the following summer!
- There was also very little snow when they were filming in what was then Czechoslovakia, and so they sprayed the roofs of Švihov with lime and used ground polystyrene as artificial snow. Later, however, it snowed so much that it was impossible to get to the forests they had originally chosen for the shoot.
- As the film was originally to have been shot in summer, the costume designers used light fabrics to make the actors’ clothes. This made filming quite a challenge. During the final scene for Libuška Šafránková, aka Cinderella, for example, when she rides to the farmstead in the morning to see the prince wearing just a thin dress - the temperature was apparently around minus 20 degrees Celsius!
- Cinderella's horse Jurášek was actually played by more than one horse. The heroine rode three white ones in all! The 1973 foot-and-mouth epidemic meant that animals couldn’t be transported across the border, so there had to be one in Germany and another two in Czechia.
- Hundreds of actors auditioned for the role of the prince. So how did Pavel Trávníček, then 23 years old, get the part? One reason he was cast was because he was thought to look like Alain Delon.