Digitally restored Invention for Destruction film

The world premiere of the digitally restored film by Karel Zeman Invention for Destruction took place on Friday, July 10, 2015 from 20:00 when the film shone again at World EXPO 2015 in the National Museum of Film in Turin, at the jubilee International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary and in the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. All viewers will be able to simultaneously partake in this unique premier on their TV screens thanks to Czech Television.

The film Invention for Destruction had been digitally restored under the project Restoring a World of Fantasy, a joint project of The Czech Film Foundation, The Karel Zeman Museum and Czech Television. Its goal is within three years to digitally restore selected films by Karel Zeman to the highest quality possible, put them on display on huge movie screens and bring them to life again.

All lovers of Zeman's films can contribute any amount they wish to the account of The Czech Film Foundation: 107-5652650247 /0100 or by sending a donor SMS worth CZK 30 in the form DMS BIJAKY to 87 777. You can also contribute regularly throughout the year by sending an sms DMS ROK BIJAKY, again to 87 777. A donor SMS service is available only in Czech Republic. Support and additional funds for the restoration is also being provided by the Ministry of Culture.

During work on the digital restoration of Invention for Destruction, as part of the Restoring the World of Fantasy project, restorers found a scene that is missing on all other available negatives. A shot of a clock depicting the Napoleonic eagle is part of this larger sequence, in which Professor Roch is deeply involved in proposals to construct his invention. "I leave it to the viewers to decide on the deeper meaning of this scene, but the scene takes place at a very crucial moment, when the inventor begins to realize to what ends his discovery could be used," commented James Mockoski, the American expert on digital restoration and guarantor of the restoration, on the importance of the scene.

"The goal of the digital restoration Invention for Destruction was to restore the film in such a way that the audience today can see it exactly as it was seen during its initial premiere," says the chief conservator Ivo Marák of company UPP. The original Prague premiere took place on 26 June 1958, shortly before the film was shown at the World Film Festival at Expo 58 in Brussels, where it won the Grand Prix and where this scene was discussed at the follow-up press conference. One American journalist interpreted it as anti-American. "Maybe the scene was cut to avoid giving offend when the film was sold into American distribution," says Mockoski, though any record or account of this are sadly lacking. "The real reason will probably never be revealed, but based on what we know, we took the right course to be to restore the scene to the movie, so now, for the first time since 1958 we can see Zeman's uncut version of the film," adds Mockoski who decided, together with a commission of experts, to return to the scene to the movie.

Karel Zeman-Vynález zkázy 1958

The digital restoration of Invention for Destruction was a challenging process, which brought together various experts. In the first phase of the restoration the film was transferred from celluloid film to digital data, a process which was carried out on special equipment at twice the resolution of the resulting film digital restoration. Subsequently, impurities were removed from each film frame in different ways and in several iterations, a procedure which took six months of intensive work. Overall, 117,288 film frames were cleared up, on which there were over 6 million impurities. After these technical adjustments, the film went to image color correction (a process necessary even in the restoration of black and white movies!), based on a reference copy of the film and on all available information from the period of the making of the film, so that the appearance of the restored film resembled as closely as possible the original film as created by Karel Zeman.

The next phase was the restoration of the film sound, which was carried out separately. Audio digitization was based on the original negative and period copies. First the most disturbing sound glitches were erased and then any remaining distortion removed. The sound was finalized in a certificated mixing hall. The result is sound that preserves the original audio format, but including equalization to enable a good acoustic over the entire hall.

The final phase of restoration took place in a film theater which meets the standards of today's digital cinema, so-called. DCI, which stands for the Digital Cinema Initiatives platform, which was established in 2002 as a joint venture of the major film companies: among others, Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. The result of this whole demanding process was a restored digital copy, or new master of Invention for Destruction, which will be used for the production of distribution masters that conform to internationally recognized specifications (DCI or the SMPTE standard, i.e. That set by The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers). These master will eventually be stored in a format that is suitable for the long-term archiving of films.


The author of the trailer and and the commercial campaign is Hawas Worldwide Prague agency. This connection with this agency is not random. Its residence is in the same building, where Invention for Destruction world premiere was held on Expo 58.

Restoring a World of Fantasy

Project partners:

The Czech Film Foundation
The Karel Zeman Museum
Czech Television

in cooperation with Universal Production Partners
with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
The Ministry of Culture Mgr. Daniel Herman

Cooperating in the realization of world film premieres of Invention for Destruction are

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Il Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino
The Museum of the Moving Image, New York
The Commissioner General Office for the participation of the Czech Republic at EXPO
The Czech Tourist Authority - CzechTourism
The Czech Centre Milan
The Czech Center New York

The world premiere of Invention for Destruction in Turin was held under the auspices of honorary consul of Czech Republic in Liguria a Piemonte county Mr. Franco Aprile.

 Watch the unique "Making of" showreel of digitally restored Invention for Destruction film: