The previous review, lengthy and detailed and written by a professional, tells the story of the film. We'll concentrate on what entertained us.
It is a large cast of conventionally dressed people, including the effete "bohemians" cited above. The actor (and producer) Pavel Stastny lurks on the periphery of the screen. The cast includes three or four pretty girls we were hoping would be entangled in some sort of mischief before the day was done.
The whippings and croppings are all fast in this film, and no one is tied down or bound, makng for surging and wiggling bottoms in all the spankings, an erotic variation to Lupus style. Nor are the beatings so severe here, a relief we share with the reviewer above. After all, the three girls whipped are all in the employ of the Actress and must return to work.
The Actress whips her maid with a martinet for routine transgressions. Her uniform is conventional and functional. There are no lacy thongs or incongruous undies in this film. A visiting potential acting apprentice, Muruska, clutching her cardboard suitcase, and acting effectively awkward and clunky, accepts her fate. "I will obey your every word." She raises her skirt and drops her white silk shorts to be cropped on the bare bottom. Everyone in the room is aroused by this CP.
In separate scenes the Actress is training apprentice Maruska in posture and diction. We agree the semi-nude scenes of Maruska learning posture have erotic flair of their own. Both Helena and Maruska get cropped in their simple satin shifts, naked underneath, acting as punishment outfits.
In front of the assembled group, to nhance her self-confidence, Maruska is made to ride a very small hobby horse, naked, in the manner of Lady Godiva. Cute and humiliaiting, we wish the camera could have circled her.
Helena is caned again, this time much harder and with more vivid results.
In the sene where the cinema crew films Maruska at the whipping post for her acting debut, a scene within a scene, we approach more conventional Lupus format. Red-hooded male "executioners," a kneeling whipping post as used in "Fairy Tale." She is fastened, and Maruska's shift is ripped from her. One attendant flogs her, left-handed. She is allowed to flail, but returns her bottom to position for each stroke. Very voyeur, the assembled fully-dressed film crew look on passively and watch the naked girl being whipped and screaming. As usual, the thigh strokes create the greatest reaction.
"The Great Role" is one of Lupus's "fluffy" productions: there is humour, pointed over-acting and pervy cheeriness. However, none of this gets in the way of content. The film is full of whippings, flashes of punished bottoms, and there is even a rare OTK scene. The costumes are, as always, brilliantly thought-through, and the soundtrack complements the action. There is plenty to keep you squirming.
We get gently lowered into the film's atmosphere with the help of a grainy black-and-white sequence of the Film Star, the main character of "The Great Role", delivering a flaming monologue. This, you soon realise, is a freshly shot episode of her new film, a period drama; we are in the Star's house, in the company of her bohemian friends who have all come to see the work.
There's quite a menagerie of characters: a camp, blond-wigged Director wearing a ruched shirt and feather boa (Petr Podhájský), a Script Writer, who gets progressively drunker over the course of the party (Pavel Š?astný), an exalted critic in a pin-stripe suit (Marie Dvo?áková) and her even more exalted Actress Friend (Kate?ina Tetová), and finally, the Star's Lover (Maxmilian Schubert). We, of course, at once spot the girl who's going to suffer: it's the Star's apprentice, young Helena (Ester Slabá). She is a sweet young thing, the cynical Writer and the dandy Lover are unashamedly checking her out. She's wearing a modest pale-beige dress with lovely nautical stripes on the collar, which looks very much like a uniform.
As the party gets into full swing, the Maid (Kira Amsto, who wears a proper maid's uniform) arrives to whisper something to the Star, who gets very irritated at the interruption. Apparently, there's somebody at the door, but the Maid had been told not to interrupt while there's company in the house. Karolina Dlouhá is excellent as the psychotic Star: she tries to keep a sweet face for her friends, and at the same time she rages at the Maid out of the corner of her mouth, dragging the girl out of the room by the hand.
While their hostess is out, the guests take no time in starting to bad-mouth her for her appalling behaviour and bad acting skills. The Director seems to get inspiration out of this turn of events: it appears, it has always been his ambition to portray human souls in all their realistic nakedness. While he extrapolates on this issue, the Writer notices swishing sounds coming from behind a door where the Star and the Maid had disappeared. The swishes are soon joined by pronounced yelps.
We're taken past the door into the room beyond, where the Maid, her skirt up and her bottom bare, is bent over for a whipping with what looks like a multi-tailed flogger, or a martinet. She writhes very attractively. This is a short sequence, and serves as an adequate teaser for what is to come later in the film.
The Star goes back to her guests, and the conversation quite naturally shifts to the topic of corporal punishment. Everybody present finds it a fascinating subject, and a most effective educational measure. The point is illustrated when the Star makes her apprentice raise her dress over her bottom to expose some rather vicious stripes on her sit-spot, right above her stockings.
The Writer in particular quite likes the idea of being a teacher, if he was to be allowed to whip girls. The Director suggests that he write a script about it; this would mesh well with his desire for realistic, naturalistic aesthetics. The viewer, meanwhile, remembers that the very same Pavel Š?astný not only writes most of Lupus scripts, but also plays the Headmaster in the famed "Headmaster's Study" series, and smirks at the brazen self-references in the long discussion about the potential merits of a spanking film.
Meanwhile, the Star goes to talk to a young girl by the name of Maruška, who is at the door and won't leave. The girl is a gawky, awkward thing in bad glasses. She's wearing a dull dark-blue dress buttoned up to her throat, and is clutching a cheap suitcase with both hands; she talks with a pronounced lisp. One can only admire Jana Myši?ková for letting herself be thus portrayed in her debut star role. Maruška needs tuition for her acting school exams. For this she promises to try her best, to do absolutely anything the Star wants.
The Star, in the tradition of classic porn villains, loves the idea of getting "everything she wants". She fetches a riding crop and makes the unsuspecting girl stand in the centre of the living room, in front of all the guests, and slashes into her with the crop. It can't hurt much through the skirt, but it makes the necessary impression: Maruška squeaks, grabs her suitcase and runs away.
While the guests snicker, the Star's Lover notes that he wouldn't drive out a girl who came to him promising anything he wanted. Everybody present is quick to see a film plot potential in the story of a girl who wants a career so much that she'll take the greatest suffering for it. (The viewer will be right to suspect that they are watching exactly the film resulting from such a discussion.) Just then, to everybody's hilarity and surprise, the maid comes to announce that the girl is back after all.
The Lover offers a wager: if Maruška proves she really _will_ do anything to become an actress, he will pay for her acting lessons.
Everybody intently watches the girl "prove it". At the Star's instructions she apologises for her earlier disobedience and promises that she will always, always obey orders. The first test of obedience comes as she's told to lift her skirt. Obviously embarrassed, she obeys. Even more reluctant, she takes down her panties, exposing a perfectly shaped bottom. (The viewer is looking forward to seeing more of it.) She obediently bends down, and the Star begins to whip her with a crop.
It's a fast-paced whipping, and an awkward position for the girl to take; she obviously struggles, and puts her hands back, but takes them away when told. Her excellent bottom is quickly covered with red stripes, which blend into an even cover of welts. The marks are impressive, but this reviewer was glad to find they are not the standard Lupus severity. However, the crop wraps on every stroke, and Maruška's left hip is noticeably welted, which explains her excessive writhing during her punishment: she is trying to offer her bottom in a way that evens up the damage to both cheeks. We are not sure whether it is the Star or the actress Karolina Dlouhá who could use some lessons with whippy implements.
Afterwards, there is a lovely shot of Maruška's panties sliding up over her marked bottom, which is beautifully framed with her garter belt. The girl is embarrassed and crying, but she has passed the test, and is now officially the Star's student.
The following few sequences are the loveliest bit of the film in our opinion. The Star takes to the lessons with enthusiasm, making sure her pupil suffers for her art. We watch Maruška and the first apprentice, Helena, go through a sequence of trying, embarrassing exercises, while the Star encourages them with her crop.
Thus, Maruška is taught to walk straight; she is naked from the waist up, with a board strapped to her back for posture; she must walk in a straight line carrying a book on her head. For additional effect, her ankles are shackled close together with a short chain, and the Star is whacking her indiscriminately with a crop and taunting her whenever the book slides.
In the next lesson both apprentices, dressed in identical see-through shifts, are standing side by side in front of the Star. They must take turns getting through a series of tongue-twisters. (We must compliment the translator for managing to pick a series of tongue-twisters in English that are exactly appropriate for the key sounds in the original script.) Red-headed Helena is doing quite well to start with; the Star is actually fair with praise for once. Maruška does her best, although she does struggle with her sibilants; the Star, lounging in a chair with a notebook in hand, marks down every time she stumbles. Getting flustered, Maruška starts making more mistakes, her mouth finally completely betrays her; even Helena gets nervous and messes up her turn. In the next shot Helena is bent over, her floaty dress above her waist and her bottom bare; she gets several sharp slashes of the crop, which quickly have her sobbing. After that it's Maruška's turn. She still has stripes from her previous punishment: pale pink on her bottom, red and vivid on her hip, where the crop had wrapped. She has trouble standing still and keeping her hands away from her bottom; she dances prettily as the strokes land. Again, though the technique is not brilliant - several strokes are noticeably high - the whipping is squirmy-hot, and does not produce the sort of harsh marks that can be sometimes off-putting.
Next is a lesson in method acting, where the girls must exclaim "Oh, how I'm suffering!" so that their mistress believes them. When they are not convincing enough, a cut with the crop follows, until they are suffering just right.
Then there comes an odd scene where Maruška must act out a scene as Lady Godiva, and ride a little rocking horse naked, in front of the Star's guests. The girl is obviously deeply embarrassed, but her mistress makes her sit up straight and actually ride the rocking horse for a good few minutes, which makes for a sight that is somewhere on the border between the wickedly lewd and quite ridiculous. There are a few lovely shots of Maruška's whipped bottom pressing into the hard back of the horse, and her breasts rising up and down as she breathes hard.
This, tells her the Star, is the very essence of acting: the actress carries on until the curtain falls, or the director says "stop", even if she should die on the stage. Judging by Maruška's face, she's just about ready to die of shame, but she carries on.
Meanwhile, the unfortunate Helena manages to make her mistress fly into a rage by flirting with the Critic's Actress Friend.
Before we know it, we're in the Star's room again, with Helena bent down for a caning. Her mistress really lays into her, enraged that the girl would annoy a critic like that, when her mistress would be the one to suffer from their temper. This is a harsh punishment. This time Helena is allowed to clutch the seat of a chair, and she holds her position admirably while raised double welts appear on her bottom, soon turning into a mass of bruises. She sobs all the way through.
With the Star properly annoyed with her young charges now, there comes a blow: the Director visits. (He is wearing a poppy-patterned jacket rather fabulous in its ugliness, and a crystal drop is dangling from his ear.) He is looking for a fresh young face to star in his film alongside his heroine, and had been thinking about inviting Maruška or Helena. The Star is immediately threatened, and does her best to dissuade him from hiring either of her two apprentices, going into a full-blown hissy fit. The Director doesn't appreciate this, and stomps off in contempt.
The poor maid is the one to suffer for this: she accidentally tugs on the Star's hair while brushing it, and is immediately stripped of her panties and thrown over her mistress's lap for a spanking with a solid hairbrush. She ends up in a revealing position where she is straddling one knee and is bent over the other, with all her girly charms on display. The spanking is very hard, and her bottom is covered with angry red splotches as a result. This rare OTK scene in a Lupus film had this reviewer wriggling in her seat.
But soon it is over, and the excited Maruška, who can't believe she is getting a role in a real film, finds out she is to play a Penitent unjustly accused of a crime. In the course of the scene the executioners will tear off her dress in preparation for a whipping. The director assures her that, as this is a film made for the general public, there will be none of the brutal naturalism that he craves to film. Helena, who is bitter about getting only a tiny role in the film, offers to take the role if Maruška doesn't really want it. This is all the encouragement Maruška needs: she wants to be an actress, and she'll do her best. In any event, the heroine of the new film, played by the Star, will turn up at the last moment and save the day.
That, in any event, is the plan as Maruška knows it; however, to nobody's surprise, the events don't go quite as well for her. When the hooded executioners tie the girl to a whipping post, the Star, instead of rushing into the shot to interfere, sits quite comfortably with the rest of the crew. She alone in the room is quite sure that however long the whipping needs to continue, the well-trained Maruška will keep acting "until the curtain falls, or the director says 'stop', even if she should die on the stage."
Thus, "The Great Role".
DVD extras include interviews with Ester Slabá and Kira Amsto, which should prove entertaining to Lupus connoisseurs and curious new viewers alike.
The most attractive feature of this film is both the sheer variety of the punishments in it, and the fact that, while quite firm, no punishment by itself is particularly harsh. (Although they do build up.) If you are one of the people who dislikes jokey fluffiness in spanking films, perhaps it would be best if you give it a miss, however, if you like your spanking mixed with humour, "The Great Role" is for you.
Also, even though some of the inside jokes might need an explanation, this should be a good film with which to introduce an unprepared viewer to the joys of Lupus.