/Such a shoes: prewar commercials of Bata company

Such a shoes: prewar commercials of Bata company

Apparently advertising is the leverage of trade. It can also be a successful tool of propaganda. On Wenesday in Malopolski Ogrod Sztuki we show produtions commissioned by Bata: footwear adverts from years 1935 – 1940 and documents on Zlin from 1936 – 1945.

Maciej Gil about Bata’s film productions:

At the turn of 1920s and 1930s the industrial empire established and managed by the Bata brothers, Tomáš and Jan Antonín, was present all over the world and comprised countless industries – apart from the shoe industry it also included chemical, textile, paper, agricultural, aviation, tyre, hotel, insurance industries and many other. It comes as no surprise that at one point cinematography entered their sphere of interest, too. The company commissioned the first commercials at the end of 1920s in Prague studios. In the summer of 1934 an advertisement was published in Czechoslovak papers about recruitment of workers for the emerging atelier in Zlin, the capital of the Bata empire. The director and screenwriter, 25-year-old Elmar Klos, the cameraman and editor, 27-year-old Alexander Hackenschmied and the producer, 32-year-old Ladislav Kolda were hired in December, the production plan was accepted in January 1935, and in the autumn of the same year the construction of the studio existing to the present day started. In 1936 the three men mentioned above were sent to Hollywood to see the best do it and bring back appropriate patents, whereas in August of the same year the first commercial was made in Zlin.

It is estimated that in 1927–1942 the company Bata commissioned or made itself about 170 films: commercials, documentaries, chronicles and etudes. Many of them disappeared or got burned in 1944 in the bombed cinema in Zlin. What survived constitutes a unique testimony of what the pre-war commercial and propaganda looked like, but also of what great artistic freedom was enjoyed by their authors, among whom there were many Central-European film classics.

It is worth mentioning that Klos and Hackenschmied, who started their adventure with film in the studios in Zlin, were awarded Oscars in 1966: the former in duet with Ján Kadár for the best foreign language film Obchod na korze (The shop on Main Street), the latter (as Alexander Hammid) together with Francis Thompson for the best documentary To Be Alive!.


Under the company Bata – Shoe commercials 1935-1945

Malopolska Garden of Arts (small screening room)
25th November (Wednesday), 5 p.m.

Under the company Bata – Documentaries about Zlin 1936-1945

Malopolska Garden of Arts (small screening room)
25th November (Wednesday), 6.30 p.m.