A Czech version of a “Masterpiece Theatre”-style production, “Saturnin” is a 1920s period comedy that might have come from the pen of a Central European P.G. Wodehouse. Well-mannered and technically correct, it ambles through its amusing, inconsequential entertainment at a relaxed pace. Too slight for a far-flung cinema life, it could nonetheless find a slot on upscale cable or public TV.
Saturnin (Oldrich Vizner) is a quirky though perfectly proper butler who manages to change the humdrum life of his wimpy master, Jiri (Ondrej Havelka). Jiri, one of the planet’s less-than-adequate inhabitants, creates minor disasters at every turn. Under Saturnin’s control, he gains a reputation as a big game hunter and sets off for adventure on a houseboat.
Jiri’s self-centered, widowed Aunt Katerina (Jana Synkova) and boorish, spoiled Cousin Milous (Petr Vacek) turn up as uninvited house guests sponging off all available relatives. Also on the scene is the lovely, poised Barbora (Lucie Zednickova), who captures Jiri’s fancy.
The loyal Saturnin intervenes whenever Jiri’s interests are threatened, creatively improvising whatever actions are necessary to look after his master’s comfort.
By film’s end, Jiri has become a suitable match for Barbora, Aunt Katerina has been married to a wealthy man, and Milous has been put in his place. All loose ends are neatly tied up in this entertaining bit of Czech fluff. Solid tech credits, mildly broadened characters and a soupcon of slapstick add to the film’s undemanding pleasure quotient.