The White Disease

  • Czech Republic
Audio Tracks 

Set in a country where a dictator has been successfully persuading the nation with his fiery speeches about their superiority and the justifications for military expansion, the bacteria of a very destructive form of leprosy has been spreading. It is called the Morbus Tshengi, more commonly referred to as the „white disease“. The only person who has developed an effective drug against it is a poor doctor named Galen. However, he refuses to reveal the secret of his cure until the powerful stop destroying people’s lives through war.

Karel Čapek’s play, The White Disease, was first performed in January 1937, at a time when the danger of Nazism was imminent, and its parallels with the events of that time and even more so of the immediate future are frighteningly apt. Haas‘ film adaptation, which premiered at the end of that year, preserved the exceptional quality of this first performance as a result of the same cast playing the main roles. At the same time, however, it has remained a particularly timeless piece.


  • Original Title
    Bílá nemoc
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Hugo Haas
  • Cast
    Hugo Haas, Zdeněk Štěpánek, Karla Oličová, Bedřich Karen, Václav Vydra st., Ladislav Boháč...
  • Cinematography
    Otto Heller
  • Editing
    Antonín Zelenka
  • Music
    Jan Branberger
  • Sound
    Vilém Taraba
  • Runtime
    105 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Czech Republic
  • Format
    • Black & White
  • Distribution is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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