On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian film, the National Film Institute – Film Archive launched a widespread research programme to identify lost treasures of Hungarian film history. These works are irreplaceable and form a vital part of our national cultural heritage, which is why their preservation and making them accessible is our prime mission.
In 2021, we calculate that more than one-third of all films made during the 120 years of Hungarian film history have still not been recovered.
Due to the fragility of the raw material and in the course of historical vicissitudes, the original prints were frequently destroyed, lost, or have only survived to this day in a fragmentary form. It is a sad fact that we will never see most of these in their entirety. However, it occasionally happens even today that in attics, cellars and from the depths of collections, rolls of film turn up that, incredibly, survived and prove interesting for contemporary viewers.
We are now in the final hour to locate these continuously degrading treasures and rescue them for posterity. In this regard, we ask for the help of the domestic and international community. In the list below we introduce the 120 most sought-after films made between 1901 and 1944, with commentaries about why it would be especially important to find them. The selection includes various genres, early silent films and missing sound films, demonstrating just how diverse the “lost Hungarian film heritage” is.
If you have any information whatsoever in relation to the location of the following films, or perhaps you could give us tips about where to look for them, please write to us at the e-mail below. Thank you very much for all your help!
Lead image: The Tales of the Typewrite, 1917 (Source: NFI)
Béla Gaál, 1932. A poor young couple meet an American millionaire of Hungarian ancestry.
István Kató-Kiszly, 1932. The only sound, colour short by István Kató-Kiszly, pioneer of Hungarian animation.
István Székely, 1934. The consequences of a riding accident and a girl in love in a dual role.
Everything for the Woman
Béla Gaál, Géza Cziffra, 1934. Hacsek & Sajó movie adventure with three comic episodes.
The Rotschild Girl
Béla Gaál, 1934. Lightweight comedy about a Hungarian millionaire girl looking for a marriage partner.
Storm on the Plains
István György, 1936. French-style film of passion about the consequences of an accident.
I Entrust My Wife To You
János Vaszary, 1937. Lively comedy with excellent actors and plenty of music.
Beauty of the Pusta
István Székely, 1937. Story of a highwayman starring Pál Jávor on the picturesque Hungarian plain.
Viktor Gertler, 1937. Film drama about a love triangle with Éva Szörényi, Pál Jávor and Sándor Svéd, opera singer.
Márton Keleti, 1937. The world of country houses and much great music in a Romeo and Juliet story set in rural Bihar county.
Sándor Szlatinay, 1938. Military comedy with the heroine played by the brilliant Zita Szeleczky.
It is Hard To Be a Father
Márton Keleti, 1938. An abandoned little boy causes a mix-up in the girls’ school in this Hungarian adaptation of a French film.
I Protected a Woman
Ákos Ráthonyi, 1938. An innocent beer in the pub turns into a divorce and then marriage.
The Wheat Ripens
Béla Gaál, 1939. An English girl and an Italian young man learn about Hungarian culture.
I Never Stole In My Life
Béla Balogh, 1939. Light farce revolving around a supposed jewellery heist.
Emil Martonffy, 1939. This music comedy involving much switching of outfits preceded Some Like It Hot by 20 years.
Ákos Ráthonyi, 1943. Complex comedy in which a spoiled gentleman is inducted into the army.
Someone's Knocking On My Window
László Sipos, 1944. A doctor with big dreams goes to work not in a private sanatorium but in a small village.