Menzel wraps lensing on ‘King’

Due to rights dispute, shoot was postponed for 10 years

PRAGUE — Czech helmer Jiri Menzel on Wednesday wrapped his first feature in 12 years, “I Served the King of England,” after shooting 66 days in 25 locations in the Czech Republic.

Because of a rights dispute over the classic book by late Czech author Bohumil Hrabal, filming on the ribald tale of life behind the scenes at a glamorous old-world Prague hotel was shelved for 10 years.

With a cast of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and German players, Menzel re-created the splendor of pre-World War II Czechoslovakia through the eyes of Jan Dite, played by Bulgarian stage performer Ivan Barnev.

With 38 principal characters and 148 lesser ones, and a period extending from the 1930s into the ’60s, the film exhausted the 68-year-old Menzel.

Backed by TV Nova in the Czech Republic, pic has yet to be picked up for North American distribution.

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