Molnár on Film

It would be virtually impossible to list all the films, works and musicals rearranged and adapted – to varying degrees – from plays originally written by Ferenc Molnár. Preston Sturges, who was just then setting out on a career, adapted A jó tündér/The Good Fairy in 1935, directed by William Wyler. Grace Kelly concluded her acting career with the third (and surprising true to the original) adaptation of A hattyú/The Swan. The movie was directed by Károly (Charles) Vidor, a native of Budapest. In 1960, the veteran Mihály Kertész made a film version of Olympia starring Sophia Loren, John Gavin and Maurice Chevalier. Of all his plays, Liliom had the greatest impact. Vienna-born Joseph Schildkraut and Eva Le Gallienne played the main roles on Broadway, and in a later, 1940, version Burgess Meredith played opposite Ingrid Bergman, with Elia Kazan as Ficsúr. In 1939, Orson Welles used the work as the basis for a radio adaptation, and in 2011 Michel Legrand converted it into a ballet. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg: Molnár – along with Sándor Márai and Imre Kertész – is the best-known Hungarian writer in the world.