Josef Svab-Malostransky

Czech actor, writer, director and publisher

Chiefly known as a highly popular comic actor, Svab-Malostransky was a man of many talents whose film career unusually lasted from the pionneering days of 1898 to 1932. First working in a Prague bookshop after leaving school, he then set up his own business publishing postcards and songs. He also developed a career as a café performer and in June 1898 he starred in three comic shorts made by the first Czech filmmaker Jan Krizenecky: Dostavencicko Ve Mlynici (Appointment at the Mill), Plac a Smich (Tears and Laughter) and Vystavni Parkar a Lepic Plakatu (The Billsticker and the Sausage Vendor). Sustaining a career on both stage and film that included work with Antonin Pech, founder of the first Czech film company Kinofa (1908), he went on to become actor manager of Prague's Svanda Theatre in 1915, while continuing his publishing career. As well as acting, he wrote film scenarios and on occasion directed, combining all three talents in such films as The Five Senses of Man (1912) and Live Corpses (1921).

Luke McKernan