Ogniem i mieczem/With Fire and Sword is a Polish blockbuster, which at the time was the biggest and most-expensive film production in the entire history of Polish cinema, today being the fifth-most-expensive Polish film in history. The film by Jerzy Hoffman is a monumental work – it is a three-hour epic story based on the first part of the Trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz.
The two previous films by Hoffman, namely Pan Wołodyjowski/Colonel Wolodyjowski from 1969, and Potop/The Deluge from 1974, the latter of which was nominated for Academy Awards, raised the standard very high. For the third time in a row, the film Director proved that it is possible to combine romantic themes with battle scenes, in a masterly fashion, showing the fates of the colourful characters created by Henryk Sienkiewicz against the background of the complex history of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th Century.
The film featured a whole galaxy of the best Polish and Ukrainian actors, and Dumka na dwa serca (Dumka on two hearts), a song from the film performed by Mietek Szcześniak and Edyta Górniak, became a great hit. The film featured performances by actors Michał Żebrowski as Skrzetuski; Izabella Scorupco, known for her role in GoldenEye as Helena; Wiktor Zborowski as Longinus Podbipięta; Zbigniew Zamachowski as Michał Wołodyjowski; Aleksandr Domogarov as Bohun; and Bohdan Stupka as Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Naturally, the film would be incomplete without Daniel Olbrychski, who played Tugai Bey, a chief of the Crimean Tatars. In the previous films directed by Jerzy Hoffman, he gave his most-memorable performances, as Kmicic in The Deluge and Azja in Colonel Wolodyjowski”.
The filmmakers used many locations scattered all around Poland. For example, the famous Biskupin archaeological open-air museum (in Kujawsko-Pomorskie) became the Zaporozhian Sich, in other words the “heart” of the Cossacks polity.
Ogniem i mieczem
Poland 1999, 175′
Directed by: Jerzy Hoffman
Screenplay: Jerzy Hoffman, Andrzej Krakowski
Cinematography: Grzegorz Kędzierski
Music: Krzesimir Dębski
Producer: Jerzy R. Michaluk, Jerzy Hoffman
Produced by: Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production Sp.z.o.o.
Cast: Michał Żebrowski, Aleksandr Domogarov, Izabella Scorupco, Bohdan Stupka, Krzysztof Kowalewski, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Andrzej Seweryn, Wiktor Zborowski, Wojciech Malajkat, Ewa Wiśniewska, Maciej Kozłowski, Marek Kondrat, Rusłana Pysanka, Daniel Olbrychski, Leszek Teleszyński, Jerzy Bończak, Andrzej Kopiczyński, Gustaw Holoubek, Adam Ferency, and others.
The Gdynia Film Festival – the Jury Award, for production design, & editing; the Award of the President of TVP Polish Television; the Polish Film Festival in America – the Golden Teeth Award; the Golden Ticket awarded by the Polish Cinemas Association; the Polish Film Awards: Eagles – the Eagle Award in the Best Producer category, and Best Supporting Female Character; the TP SA Music and Film Festival in Warsaw – the Philip Award; the Golden Knight International Film Forum in Moscow – an award for directing; the Golden Duck Award for the 50th anniversary of the song Dumka na dwa serca and others.