The Secret of Nikola Tesla
|The Secret of Nikola Tesla|
|Directed by||Krsto Papić|
|Written by||Ivo Brešan
|Music by||Anđelko Klobučar|
|Edited by||Boris Erdelji|
The Secret of Nikola Tesla (Serbo-Croatian: Tajna Nikole Tesle), is a 1980 Yugoslav biographical film which details events in the life of the discoverer Nikola Tesla (portrayed by Serbian actor Petar Božović). Tesla was born to ethnic Serb parents in 1856 Croatia (at the time, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). He arrived in New York in 1884, became an American citizen in 1891, made immense contributions to science and died in Manhattan at age 86 during World War II in 1943.
This biography includes references to his amazing abilities of detailed mental visualization as well as the slowly intensifying personal habits, indulgences or eccentricities for which he became nearly as well known. The film portrays Tesla in a battle with Thomas Edison over the clear superiority of Alternating Current over Direct Current. It also depicts Tesla's dream of supplying consumers all around the globe with limitless free energy.
Croatian director Krsto Papić assembled a cast which includes three American actors playing iconic personalities of 19th and early 20th century America, J. P. Morgan (1837–1913), Thomas Edison (1847–1931) and George Westinghouse (1846–1914). Morgan is portrayed by Orson Welles, while Croatian actress Oja Kodar, Welles' companion for the last 24 years of his life, has the role of Katharine Johnson (1855–1924), with whom Tesla corresponded for many years, and whose husband, Robert Underwood Johnson (1853–1937) (portrayed by Croatian actor Boris Buzančić) was a poet, scholar, diplomat and Tesla's longtime friend and supporter. The other Americans in the cast are character actors Strother Martin (who died six weeks before the film's September 12, 1980 English-language premiere at the Toronto Film Festival) and Dennis Patrick as Westinghouse and Edison, respectively.
- Petar Božović as Nikola Tesla
- Strother Martin as George Westinghouse
- Orson Welles as J. P. Morgan
- Dennis Patrick as Thomas Edison
- Oja Kodar as Katharine Johnson
- Boris Buzančić as Robert Underwood Johnson
- Demeter Bitenc
- Vanja Drach