Semmelweis

1939, Hungary, Language: Hungarian, Subtitles: English (77’). Screening: 09.06, 12.00, Toldi Cinema, Nagyterem

Endre Tóth (André de Toth) brings something new to the genre palette of period Hungarian film. In the course of his career in Hungary lasting just one year, the young and experimental director, in the wake of spy films and detective stories, tried his luck with this autobiographical film, a sub-type flourishing in Hollywood known as a doctor film. He introduces the hard life of Ignaz Semmelweis, the brilliant Hungarian physician (born 200 years ago) who discovered the reason and cure for childbed fever, as well as the circumstances of his tragic death at the early age of 47, dynamically, with dramatic power and occasionally employing horror film effects. The figure of Semmelweis was played with huge empathy by Tivadar Uray, an artist of the Budapest National Theatre. Although his acting style – exalted by critics of the day – may seem a touch over the top by modern standards, his multifaceted acting abilities are proven by the fact that he totally convincingly played the professional rival of Semmelweis in a later version of the film in 1952.

Directed by: Tóth Endre (André de Toth)
Screenplay by: József  Babay, László Bihari, László Kalmár, Vilmos Müller, Sándor Nagymihály   
Director of photography: István Eiben
Music by: Zoltán Pongrácz   
Cast: Tivadar Uray, Gyula Gózon, Juliska Ligeti, Margit Árpád, Tivadar Bilicsi, Artúr Somlay
Genre: biography, drama
Production: Mester Film Kft.
Format: black and white, 1.37: 1

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