The Boys of Paul Street
Béla Balogh, 1917. The first film version of the most famous youth novel in Hungarian literature.
Premiere: 19 October 1917 (press-view, Mozgókép-Otthon), 17 December 1917 (premiere, Uránia)
Genre: feature film, drama, silent film
Director: Béla Balogh
Original length: 4 acts.
A battle is raging between the Paul Street boys and the red shirts for control of the Grund. Paul Street lads sneak into the opposition camp where they witness Geréb betraying them. While hiding, little Nemecsek is up to his neck in chilly pond water, returning home with a cough and fever. While the Paul Street boys are electing a leader, Nemecsek notices Geréb who is skulking nearby and he stealthily follows him. The boys think that he has joined the red shirts and consider him a traitor. Meanwhile, Nemecsek follows Geréb into the Botanical Gardens. He defends the honour of the Paul Streeters but the red shirts punish him by forcing him to swim in the lake. The cold bath knocks him off his feet so the others begin the battle for the Grund without him. The war is almost decided in favour of the red shirts when the feverish Nemecsek appears and defeats Feri Áts, thus winning victory for the boys of Paul Street. However, he is unable to shake off the fever and is carried home unconscious. By the time the Paul Street boys arrive to honour his heroism, he has passed away.
What makes it interesting?
There are numerous Hungarian and foreign film versions of the most famous youth novel in Hungarian literature. Béla Balogh, director of the 1917 version, tackled the same subject again in 1924. There are a number of children-themed works in Béla Balogh’s oeuvre, but films depicting the adventures of children’s gangs were generally popular around the world in the age of silent film.
Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Astra Filmgyár és Filmkölcsönző Rt.
Writer: Ferenc Molnár (novel, 1907)
Screenwriter: Béla Balogh
Cinematographer: Béla Zsitkovszky