THE KIDNAPPING OF FUX THE BANKER (…) was once considered a milestone, if not a breakthrough, hailed by some as the best Czech film to date. And the stakes were high. With its relatively generous budget, criminal plot, emphasis on architecture and decoration, star cast, “fashion parade” and unprecedented media support, this American-style comedy was anticipated as the saviour of the country’s film industry, then at a point of deepening crisis. It was generally taken for granted that Anton’s film would sell well abroad (which wasn’t the case, despite the warm reception at home), and elevate Czech film to an international standard. In this light it’s no surprise that THE KIDNAPPING really does wear its internationalism on its sleeve. The opening scene sets the atmosphere through a simple but witty sequence of close-ups: a hand having a nail filed, a laughing manicurist, a typist, a barber at work. As the subsequent shot reveals, the person being pampered is not a woman but an elegantly dressed man – banker Fux – introduced in an intertitle as “a prematurely widowed banker and mondain [who] can’t forget his work, his appearance, or flirting...”.
Marketa Uhlirova, If Looks Could Kill, London 2008