Polish documentary filmmaker Jerzy Hoffman brought an aura of realism to the sweeping historical epic Colonel Wolodyjowski. Originally running 160 minutes, the film was based on a trilogy of patriotic novels by Henry Sienkiewicz (Quo Vadis?). The story, set in the 17th century, details the bloody struggle on the Eastern border between the Poles and the invading Turkish hordes. Giving the box-office potential of Colonel Wolodyjowski a major boost was the presence in the supporting cast of 24-year-old matinee idol Daniel Olbrychski. Successful in its home country, Colonel Wolodyjowski unfortunately made very little impression outside of Poland; but then, would a biopic of George Washington play well in Warsaw?