National cinema, world stage : a history of Hungary's sound film industry, 1929-44 / David Stephen Frey.
This dissertation investigates the origins and evolution of the Hungarian film industry, from the debut of sound film in Hungary in 1929 to the abrupt demise of Hungarian film making following the German occupation in March 1944. It considers how the “national” was a driving force behind and the desired aesthetic outcome of mainstream filmic practices. During this fifteen-year period, Hungary's film industry made advances unparalleled in Europe. Feature-film output, non-existent in 1929, increased rapidly. By 1942 Hungary was the continent's third most prolific film making state, trailing only Nazi Germany and Italy. This rise inspired Hungary's small film establishment and some of its ruling elites to dream of regaining the prestige and power lost in the post-World War I settlements which truncated Hungary. The dissertation explains why, despite these successes, the self-declared goal of Hungary's film establishment—to create a national industry that would beget a characteristically national style—was ultimately doomed to fail.The dissertation proceeds chronologically but is constructed around thematically organized chapters. Drawing primarily from Hungarian, German, and U.S. government archival sources, film trade magazines, and period films, it considers the role of the state in the creation, expansion, and regulation of the film industry. It examines disputes among various segments of Hungary's film profession, including those between producers, exhibitors, and distributors, as well as those between private professional associations and state-endorsed organs. It analyzes the various incarnations of the “Jewish Question” and how anti-Semitism and populism radically altered the shape of the industry. It discusses how national film production was tied to the dominant intellectual, political, social, economic, and ideological discourses occurring in interwar Hungary. It details the roles that transnational movements of capital, motion picture professionals, and ideas played in transforming the Hungarian film industry and its products. It considers how geopolitics and war affected the film industry's fortunes as Hungary sought a strategic cinematographic niche between the dominance of Hollywood and the demands of Nazi Germany.
Record last modified: 2018-05-16 16:14:00
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