Halas & Batchelor at 40 - a Hungarian perspective

To mark the 40th anniversary of Halas & Batchelor in the early 80s, John and Joy co-produced a four part documentary series on the history of their company for Hungarian television. Understandably given its origins, one of the most valuable parts of the series is the insight into the early years of John's career in Hungary.

The video below is an extract discussing this period, and begins with an interview with Sándor Bortnyik, an interesting Hungarian artist and designer who become involved in the Bauhaus in Weimar after moving there in 1922. As we learn in this clip, back in Hungary he became involved in animation with John as his assistant.

Also interviewed is Félix Kassowitz, another Hungarian artist and designer known for his cartoons and caricatures and one of John's early business partners.

An early post on this site showed a letter from the composer György Ránki to John Halas and discussed the score for a uncompleted film The Brave Tin Soldier that John and Joy attempted to make in Hungary in the late 1930s. Ránki is also interviewed and their are some fascinating glmipses of what this film might have been.

Halas & Batchelor at 40 - documentary excerpt from Halas & Batchelor at 75 on Vimeo.

Thanks to Martin Pickles for tidying up the video and especially to Márton Orosz for the translation of the Hungarian - errors are all my own, doing subtitles is a bloody nightmare. The bit with Joy talking in English quietly under the Hungarian voiceover have given a double google translate aspect to some of this, but hopefully it all still makes sense.

Jez

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