Hungarian Rhapsody (1979)

György Cserhalmi, Lajos Balázsovits, Gábor Koncz, Udo Kier,
The first chapter of a two-part dramatized history of Hungary, from the turn of the century, to World War II.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Gyula Hernádi, Writer:
  • Miklós Jancsó, Director:
  • Producer:
7 / 10

...and not the kind that you hear in Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons

If you recognize the name "Hungarian Rhapsody", it's because you've probably heard Franz Liszt's famous song in a Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon or two: "Rhapsody Rabbit", "Back Alley Oproar", "Wise Quackers" and "What's Up, Doc?", to name a few. Later on in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", Daffy Duck and Donald Duck play it on pianos.

Well, Miklos Jancso's movie "Magyar rapszodia" has nothing to do with any of what I just described; for starters, they don't play Franz Liszt's song. It portrays a peasant revolt in Hungary in the early twentieth century (it seemed like it took place around the same time as the Russian Revolution, but I can't verify that). I can't claim to be any connoisseur of Hungarian cinema, so I probably can't compare this movie to most other flicks from that country. But I can say that it has to be one of the most overdone films that I've ever seen. There is some look at the power structure and class system in the early twentieth century, but they throw so much at you that it's nearly impossible to digest.

So, if you're studying cinema from Magyarorszag*, this might be one to check out. But before analyzing it, you have to try and keep track of it. I think that Istvan Szabo's "Sunshine" was the best movie that I've ever seen about Hungary's history.

One other thing that I noticed: the nudity in this movie. I know that movies from the Soviet Union didn't show people having sex. But I see that a flick from one of it's satellite states shows lots of nudity. I wonder whether that had anything to do with Hungary's more lenient goulash communism (it must be the only country that named a governmental system after a stew).

*Magyarorszag is the Hungarian name for Hungary.