The Watchmaker of the Soul

Béla Balogh, 1923. Starring Ila Lóth, the ‘Hungarian Mary Pickford’.

Premiere: 1923. július 13. (sajtóbemutató, Kamara) 1924. január 4. (Corvin)
Genre: feature film, drama, silent film
Director: Béla Balogh

Original length: 6 acts, 2357 m
A few-second fragment of the film survives in the Vándory bequest.

Magda yearns, from a life of respectable poverty, for the carefree life enjoyed by the wealthy. Despite the entreaties of her mother and uncle she elopes with her lover, the happy-go-lucky Sándor Tomory, who holds out the promise of a life of luxury. Her happiness is short-lived, the young man soon tires of her and leaves. In her despair Magda attempts suicide. She is rescued in the nick of time and nursed in her uncle’s house. Here she learns that Tomory has been arrested for forgery. Her uncle, the ‘watchmaker of the soul’, tries to save this young man gone astray. He bails out the man and gives him a chance to start again. Tomory regrets his past ways and vows to change. He asks Magda to marry him. At first the cheated woman rejects the unfaithful young man but when he convinces her that he truly has turned over a new leaf, she forgives him and agrees to be his wife.

What makes it interesting?
The female protagonist of this romance drama examining the functioning of the soul is Ila Lóth, known as the ‘Hungarian Mary Pickford’ by her contemporaries. Scenes shot at the famous Tata horse fair include numerous members of Hungarian elite society.

Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Balogh Consortium
Director: Béla Balogh
Screenwriter: Béla Balogh
Cinematographer: Dezső Nagy
Cast: Ila Lóth, Gusztáv Vándory, André Leon, Endre Boross, László Gáspár, Gida Lázár, Bella Muzsnay, Gyula Stella, Sándor Szőke, Kálmán Ujj, Jolán Sziklay Kornélné, Lici Roby


Photo: the film's poster. Source: NFI