Mattie The Goose-Boy

Alfréd Deésy, 1922. The first film version of the story of the smart goose boy.

Premiere: 28 May 1922 (press-view), 28 October 1922 (Uránia)
Genre: feature film, fairy tale, silent film
Director: Alfréd Deésy

Original length: 5 acts, 1603 m
Lost film.

Young Matyi begs his poor widowed mother to let him take the geese she has raised to market. In the end she agrees. At the fair, lord of the manor Döbrögi immediately takes a liking to Matyi’s 20 beautiful geese. Matyi is asking one forint for a pair but his lordship promises to pay only half this. The bargaining is concluded by his geese being herded into the manor courtyard and in payment Matyi receives 50 lashes on his back. Matyi politely thanks for the payment but adds that: “Ludas Matyi will beat this out of you three times over”. He never forgets a promise; the desire for revenge burns in his soul. First he appears in Döbrög as a carpenter. Using cunning, he tricks Döbrögi into the forest and this is where he repays the wicked squire for the first time. He then continues on his way and enters into the service of an old doctor. Being extremely smart, he picks up plenty from his master. At this moment his lordship Döbrögi is sick. Matyi examines the patient, sends out the entire household in search of herbs and once they are together alone, he gives his lordship a good thrashing for the second time. Time goes by. By now Döbrögi is terrified of Matyi so he has himself surrounded by armed guards. Once again it is time for the fair. Döbrögi travels in the company of 10 lancers. Matyi hires a youngster at the horse fair and tells him that when Döbrögi is passing through the forest he should shout out: “Here I am, I’m Ludas Matyi!”, and then he should run away. The lad is up for the challenge and Matyi hides in the bushes. The trick works, the lancers tear off after the boy, at which Matyi steps out from his hiding place and for the third time gives Döbrögi a good whipping. Döbrögi is no longer high-handed with the villagers and Matyi moves back to his village where his childhood playmate, Rózsika, has meanwhile grown into a beautiful woman. They remain together happily ever after.

What makes it interesting?
The first film version of Mihály Fazekas’s popular narrative poem.

Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Citográf
Writer: Mihály Fazekas (1804)
Screenwriter: Alfréd Deésy
Cinematographer: Gyula Papp
Cast: Ernő Verebes (Lúdas Matyi), Klára Tihanyi (Rózsika), József Kürthy (Döbrögi), Zoli bohóc (the fool of the village), Magda Feldmann