White Doves in the Black Town

Béla Balogh, 1923. Heart-breaking drama about urban misery.

Premiere: 6 April 1923 (Kamara, Mozgókép Otthon, Corvin)
Genre: feature film, drama, silent film
Director: Béla Balogh

Original length: 2690 m
Lost film.

György Tasnády’s vast fortune provides him with all that the millions who have fallen into misery from the cost of war are deprived. He can live as he has always done yet he sees that he is surrounded by ragged and starving people so he finds pleasure in nothing. After a night at the card table he wanders through the city in a bad mood. Suddenly, he sees a small white hand in a window feeding doves. He realizes that there are white doves in the black town, that is, gentle, kind-hearted people fleeing the evils of the world in their own, charming homes. Tasnády continues to dream about the person whose delicate hands he saw, falling in love with the unknown girl who was feeding the birds. The poor teacher Professor Bartha lives in that very house with his lovely wife Margit and the beautiful sister of his wife, Erzsike. Christmas approaches. The teacher scrapes together all his savings and buys his wife a pair of shoes, but in his absentmindedness he leaves them in the shop. Tasnády finds the shoes and takes them to the teacher’s family, and exploiting the situation he enquires after the ‘owner’ of the mysterious hands. From then on he is a regular guest at the Barthas. One evening he proclaims his love to Margit but the lady rejects him. Tasnády begs forgiveness and tells her that he swore that the delicate white hands he saw feeding the doves would one day be his. Margaret is relieved since the doves come to the window for her sister, Erzsike. The story ends happily because Tasnády marries Erzsike and the Barthas escape poverty and misery.

What makes it interesting?
Heart-breaking drama about misery and the lives of the population suffering from the serious consequences inflicted by the war. Director Béla Balogh raises fundamental social issues and presents a shocking insight into urban life while maintaining a high artistic standard. The film inspired Gyula Juhász to write a prologue to the film in verse.

Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Balogh Consortium, Corvin
Screenwriter: Béla Balogh
Cinematographer: Dezső Nagy
Cast: Gusztáv Vándory (Dr. László Bartha, teacher), Bella Muzsnay (Margit, László's wife), Jolán Kornélné Sziklay (Tasnády's widow, Margit's mother), Ila Lóth (Erzsike, Margit's sister), Sándor Mészáros (György Tasnády), Aladár Sarkadi (Kálmán Radó, György's friend), Géza  Abonyi (artist), Béla Vágó (financier), Mária Czartoriszky (artist), Piroska Sipos, Gyula Mészáros, Gyula Kompóthy, Gyula Margittay, Jolán Ujhelyiné, Mihály Boross (journalist)