Between 1929 and 1942, Hungary's motion picture industry experienced meteoric growth. It leapt into Europe's top echelon, trailing only Nazi Germany and Italy in feature output. Yet by 1944, Hungary's cinema was in shambles, internal and external forces having destroyed its unification experiments and productive capacity. This original cultural and political history examines the birth, unexpected ascendance, and wartime collapse of Hungary's early sound cinema by placing it within a complex international nexus. Detailing the interplay of Hungarian cultural and political elites, Jewish film professionals and financiers, Nazi officials, and global film moguls, David Frey demonstrates how the transnational process of forging an industry designed to define a national culture proved particularly contentious and surprisingly contradictory in the heyday of racial nationalism and antisemitism.
David Frey is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, United States Military Academy at West Point.
IntroductionChapter 1 - When Silence became Loud. The Silent Era and the Origins of SoundChapter 2 - Constructing the Fantasy of Hungary. Elite Concepts of the NationalChapter 3 - National Cinema, International Stage. Film Trade and Foreign RelationsChapter 5 - The Flawed Christian National SystemChapter 6 - The WarChapter 7 - The National Spirit Doesn't Stick to Celluloid. Hungary's Failed Nationalist Film ExperimentsConclusion