Sog.: dalla pièce teatrale omonima di Ede Tóth. Scen.: Jénö Janovics. F.: László Fekete. Int.: Lili Berky (Liszka), Várkonyi Mihály (Miklós), Mari Jászai (Sára), Andor Szakács (Pál), Gyula Nagy (Kontra Fridolin), Mariska Simon (Kontráné, la madre di Miklós), István Szentgyörgyi (Mrawcsák), Alajos Mészáros (un gentiluomo), Kató Berky (sua moglie), Elemér Hetényi (il maggiordomo). Prod.: Jénö Janovics per Proja Film ·DCP. Bn.
The films shot in young Mihály Kertész’s (known abroad as Michael Curtiz) native Hungary are rarely explored terrain, especially since the ones that have survived in their entirety can be counted on just one hand. The new digital restoration of A tolonc is a very significant addition that shows us a director already skilled with narrative, able with delineating the nuances of characters involved in intense dramas, and possessing a delicacy when it comes to pathos without ever becoming pathetic. The film is the second work Kertész shot for Jénö Janovics, director of the National Theater in Kolozsvár (today Cluj-Napoca), right in the middle of Transylvania, later a theater director and film producer. For A tolonc, Janovics relies on two elements that always have a good probability of making a successful film: a famous actress (the star of the national stage Mari Jászai), here in the part of the mother; and a wildly popular play (written by Ede Tóth in 1876), focusing on the troubled life of a kind girl dealing with human evil and the vicissitudes of fortune.
This hundred-year-old silent film was discovered in the basement of the Hungarian House, a cultural Center in New York City. How it got there is still unknown, but great efforts have been made to return the film to its homeland. The adventurous resurrection and journey of the only surviving nitrate print, otherwise a complete technological discard with myriads of rhapsodic contours all over the print due to faulty continuous printing at the time, deserves a documentary film on its own.
Restored in 2014 by Hungarian National Digital Archive and Film Institute (MaNDA), with the aid of Hungarian National Film Fund, at Hungarian Filmlab in Budapest