The Borrowed Babies

Mihály Kertész, 1915. Mihály Kertész’s smash comedy proved to be a box office hit abroad as well as at home.

Premiere: 19 February 1915 (press-view, Apolló), 22 March 1915 (premiere, Apolló)
Genre: feature film, comedy
Director: Mihály Kertész

Original length: 3 acts, 1170 m
Lost film.

One day, the young couple Emma and Aladár have such a falling out that they separate and want to divorce. Six months go by. Aladár is sad in Budapest. Emma weeps at home but her sister and brother-in-law, Aranka and Dezső, arrange to adopt a newborn from a home for destitute children and then send a telegram to her husband saying that their baby has just been born. At the last minute the child’s birth mother refuses to sign the adoption papers but since the telegram has already been despatched, Dezső has no other option but to kidnap the baby. The mother threatens to call the police so Dezső borrows one of the twins recently born to his washerwoman. Aladár turns up exactly at the moment that Dezső wants to switch the two infants. Since there are two babies in the children’s room, Dezső is forced into a lie, saying that twins were born. After this, he desperately needs yet another child because he has to give the first back to the mother. Dezső steals the washerwoman’s other twin. He is in the act of swapping the children when Aladár strolls in. In a panic, Dezső explains that in reality it was triplets. Aladár’s delight lasts but for a short time, the mother of the first child charges in accompanied by the police, followed by the washerwoman, and they take away all three babies. The sorrowful husband eventually forgives his wife for the trick, because after all, what is not can still be.

What makes it interesting?
The fine actor siblings Lili Berky, Kató Berky and József Berky play together in this Mihály Kertész comedy made in Cluj-Napoca. The lively story soon became a hit abroad, too.

Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Proja
Writer: Margaret Mayo (play, Baby Mine, 1910)
Screenwriter: Jenő Janovics
Cinematographer: József Bécsi
Cast: Aladár Ihász (Aladár), Lili Berky (Emma, Aladár's wife), Kató Berky (Aranka, Emma's sister), Alajos Mészáros (Dezső, Aranka's husband), Elza Báthory (the mother), Mariska Simon (washerwoman), Hugó Kozma (waiter), József Berky (detective), Mátyás Némedy (policeman), Bertalan Pálfy, Gyula Nagy (Kálmán, Aladár's boss), Ilonka Nagy

International Distribution
Germany (Der Storch)
Czech Republic


Photo: Aladár Ihász with a baby. Unknown photographer. Source: NFI