Competitor or Compatriot? Hungarian Film in the Shadow of the Swastika, 1933–44

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Writing to Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels in late 1933, Hungary’s Interior Minister József Széll detailed an understanding he believed Hungarian and German political elites shared. Both groups agreed that they must fashion their film industries from a ‘national point of view’ and eliminate the artifice of cosmopolitan ‘internationalism’. ‘Film must suit each Volk’, preached the Interior Minister, ‘and each Volk’s film must assume a characteristic place in the market’. As a minor, linguistically isolated European power of less than 9 million inhabitants, however, Hungary faced a dilemma: it had neither the resources nor the internal market to sustain the ‘national’ niche industry it desired. ‘Profit’, Széll admitted, ‘was impossible on production of Hungarian version films for Hungary only.’ The solution, suggested Széll, was access to the German movie market. The Interior Minister assured his German counterpart that his nation’s films would not compete directly with German films since they would be ‘Hungarian’ products, culturally and perhaps racially distinct from those made by Germans. These features, naturally, would attract new audiences, and all sides would benefit from greater trade and mutual cultural understanding.
Film Industry, Export Quota, German Authority, American Film, Interior Minister
Frey, D.S. (2011). Competitor or Compatriot? Hungarian Film in the Shadow of the Swastika, 1933–44. In: Winkel, R.V., Welch, D. (eds) Cinema and the Swastika. Palgrave Macmillan, London.