Under King Krakus

Stop-motion retelling of the legend of the Wawel dragon, which terrorized Kraków and was finally slain by a sneaky cobbler. Original title: Za króla Krakusa

Za Krola Krakusa, Under King Krakus

Crudely animated, though to be taken in the context of a rebuilding post-war cinema. Best shots are under the titles: a mysterious forest, a pillar with a human face. Afterwards, the illusion of magic is lost: the film’s Kraków is unconvincing, the king’s throne room shoddy. Character animations range, though some a are well done. The puppets have a style to them. The dragon, however, poses a problem. He’s adequate at best. His demise isn’t well handled and he comes off without much “personality”. Meanwhile, politics surface in the character of an arrogant [Nazi] German knight who’s come to slay the monster, but ends up getting spooked, fleeing up a tree, and then eaten; on his chest: a swastika. By the time the good cobbler kills the beast and marries the princess, we’re glad it’s over—and not because we hated the dragon. Under King Krakus is a historical curiosity, mostly.

Zenon Wasilewski, 1947


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