Hyppolit, the Butler

Hyppolit, the Butler (Hungarian: Hyppolit, a lakáj) is a 1931 black-and-white Hungarian film comedy of manners. It was one of the earliest full sound films produced there.

Hyppolit, a lakáj
Directed byIstván Székely
Screenplay byKároly Nóti
Based onHyppolit, a lakáj (play)
by István Zágon
StarringGyula Csortos
Gyula Kabos
Pál Jávor
Music byMihály Eisemann
CinematographyIstván Eiben
Eduard Hösch
Edited byLászló Benedek
Sonor Film
Distributed byKovács Emil és Társa
Release date
Running time
77 minutes

In 2000, Hungarian film critics chose it as one of the twelve best films of Hungary.[1]

It was remade in 1999 as Hippolyt, a lakáj (with the y and the i interchanged).[2]

The screenplay was written by prolific Hungarian screenwriter Károly Nóti AKA Karl Noti,[3] based on a stage play by István Zágon.[4] It was directed by Székely István AKA Steve Sekely,[5] who earlier worked in Germany and later worked in Hollywood and Great Britain. The music was composed by Mihály Eisemann.[6]



Mátyás Schneider (Gyula Kabos) is a typical parvenu, an ignorant transportation entrepreneur who has become very rich quickly. Despite their humble origins, his wife (Mici Haraszti) strives to live a 'sophisticated' and 'aristocratic' lifestyle. When she engages a butler, Hyppolit (Gyula Csortos) - who was an educated man, and who has served in the household of a late count for 27 years and traveled around the world with the late Count - their whole life is turned upside down: Schneider has to shave off his mustache, wear a dinner suit for dinner and eat French food instead of his beloved onions and roasted goose, while his wife is bullied by the butler into engaging in gymnastics and a rather meagre diet.

In the meantime, the Schneiders' spirited daughter, Terka (Éva Fenyvessy), falls for their good-looking manager, the former driver István Benedek (Pál Jávor), who keeps secret that he is in fact an engineer with a college diploma. Her mother, however, would prefer the good-natured, but quite stupid Makáts (Gyula Gózon) as a suitor, because Makáts's uncle (Sándor Góth), a city councillor, may help them to get a lucrative contract.

Things begin to turn upside down, when Schneider follows Hyppolit's suggestions to start dating Mimi (Mici Erdélyi), a singer and dancer at a sleazy night club. When he fails to show up at a date with her, the girl enters the Schneiders' villa, where a dinner party with important guests - including Makáts's uncle - is taking place, and causes a scandal. Meanwhile, Terka follows her own plans to get the man she wants...

Subsequent history

The film was shown again in Hungarian cinemas in 1945, 1956 and 1972.[7] It is also shown regularly on the small screen and is still popular with viewers.

Almost eighty years after its premiere, in 2008, the original film was digitally restored by the Hungarian National Film Archive.[8][9][10] The restored version erroneously awarded director Sekely a writing credit that does not appear in either the original film titles[11] or in any subsequent documentation. It has been released on DVD and Blu-ray.


  1. "Kommunikáció - 23. hét". www.sulinet.hu.
  2. "Hippolyt" via www.imdb.com.
  3. "Károly Nóti". IMDb.
  4. "István Zágon". IMDb.
  5. "Steve Sekely". IMDb.
  6. "Mihály Eisemann". IMDb.
  7. According to the booklet of the DVD edition of the restored version (2008).
  8. "Hungarian National Film Archive".
  9. "News Archive — filmarchives online". www.filmarchives-online.eu.
  10. "European Film Gateway News". www.efgproject.eu.
  11. Video on YouTube
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