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06 December 2011

Teri Tordai

Hungarian actress Teri Tordai (1941) appeared in interesting films by such noted directors as Karoly Makk, István Szabó, Márta Mészáros and Péter Bacsó. During the late 1960’s and 1970’s she showed her strikingly beautiful looks in several mediocre German and Austrian comedies and sexploitation films.

Teri Tordai
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2613, 1966. Retail price: 0,20 MDN.

Sexy Susan
Teri Tordai (also Teri Torday and Terry Torday) was born in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1941. She received early ballet training and from 1960 on she took acting lessons at the television and film school in Budapest. After graduating in 1964 she played at the National Theatre and the Comedy Theatre. Already in 1962, she made her first film appearance in the Hungarian film Esös vasárnap/Rainy Sunday (1962, Márton Keleti). She played one of the leads opposite Gyöngyi Polónyi and Ilona Béres. In the next years followed parts in such Hungarian productions as Utolsó elötti ember/The Last But One (1963, Karoly Makk) and the comedy Mit csinált Felséged 3-tól 5-ig?/What did Sire do between 15 and 17 hour? (1964, Károly Makk) with Éva Pap and Ildiko Pecso. She starred opposite Mari Töröcsik in Tilos a szerelem/Forbidden love (1965, Tamás Rényi). In 1965 she also made her first German film, the comedy Ferien mit Piroschka/Holiday with Piroschka (1965, Franz Josef Gottlieb) starring Marie Versini and Götz George. Paradoxically she played a German in Hungary. Under the name Terry Torday she played title character Susanne in the sexy comedy Susanne, die Wirtin von der Lahn/The Sweet Sins of Sexy Susan (1967, Franz Antel). The success of this sexy comedy led to a series of six films about the Wirtin von der Lahn (Hostess of the Lahn) all under the direction of Franz Antel. But she also continued to appear in Hungarian films, including the historical drama Egy magyar nabob/The Hungarian nabob (1966, Zoltán Várkonyi), and A gyáva/The Coward (1971, Imre Mihályfi).

Teri Tordai, Eva Pap, Ildiko Pecsi
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2368, 1965. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: publicity still for Mit csinált Felséged 3-tól 5-ig?/What did Sire do between 15 and 17 hour? (1964, Károly Makk).

Dangerous Temptress
From the 1970’s on, Teri Tordai regularly appeared on Hungarian television. Among the TV-films in which she appeared were the romance A vasrács/The iron bars (1971, Tamás Rényi), Jó estét nyár, jó estét szerelem/A good summer evening, good evening, love (1972, Sándor Szönyi G.) and the Pan-European adventure series Les évasions célèbres/The famous escapes (1972, Christian Jacque a.o.). An interesting Hungarian film in which she appeared during this period was the adventure film A Pendragon legenda/The Pendragon Legend (1974, György Révész) with Iván Darvas. At the time, she appeared in a total of 18 productions for the Austrian film studio Neue Delta. She often played a dangerous temptress, who seduced both young men (in Monika und die Sechzehnjährigen/Monika and the sixteen-year-old (1975, Charly Steinberger), Verbrechen nach Schulschluß/Crime after school (1975, Alfred Vohrer)) and very old men (Heinz Rühmann in Der Kapitän/The Captain (1972, Kurt Hoffmann)). Happily, these films could not be shown in her native Hungary, which was a communist state at the time. More interesting was her work for director István Szabó. Their cooperation started with the TV film Ösbemutató/Opening Night (1974, István Szabó). She also played the sculptor Lenie in Mephisto (1981, István Szabó) starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, and the Countess Festetich in Oberst Redl/Colonel Redl (1985, István Szabó), also featuring Brandauer. Franz Antel, who had directed her in several sexploitation comedies, also gave her a small part in his interesting war film Der Bockerer (1981, Franz Antel), the story of Viennese butcher Karl Bockerer (Karl Merkatz) from the moment the Nazis took power in Austria until their end.

Teri Tordai
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2819, 1967. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Hungariafilm.

The Inspector General
Teri Tordai appeared in several films by noted Hungarian director Márta Mészáros. She had a supporting part in her TV film Anna (1981, Márta Mészáros) starring Marie-José Nat, played Jan Nowicki’s wife in the satirical comedy of errors Délibábok országa/The Inspector General (1984, Márta Mészáros) based on the play by Nikolai Gogol, and had a small part in Napló szerelmeimnek/Diary for My Loved Ones (1987, Márta Mészáros). She was successful as a grandmother in Mészáros’ Bye bye chaperon rouge/Bye Bye, Red Riding Hood (1989, Márta Mészáros), and she had small parts in the biographical drama Napló apámnak, anyámnak/Diary for My Father and Mother (1990, Márta Mészáros) and the drama A magzat/Foetus (1994, Márta Mészáros). Also interesting were the surreal comedy Banánhéjkeringö/Banana Skin Waltz (1987, Péter Bacsó, Tamás Tolmár) and the family comedy Szeleburdi vakáció/Giddy holiday (1987, György Palásthy). In later years, Teri Tordai received only relatively small roles in Hungarian films and television programs. Notable among these films are Ébredés/Awakening (1995, Judit Elek), Caligula (1996, Sándor Cs. Nagy) based on the play by Albert Camus, and the musical Hamvadó cigarettavég/Smouldering Cigarette (2001, Péter Bacsó). Her daughter Lili Horvath (1976) is also an actress. They appeared together in A temetetlen halott/The Unburied Man (2004, Márta Mészáros) featuring Jan Nowicki. Teri Torday continues to play in Hungarian productions. Most recently she was seen in the romantic drama Kaland/Adventure (2011, József Sipos). In 1985 she was honoured with the 1985 Jászai Mari Award.


German trailer Hurra, wir sind mal wieder Junggesellen/Hurray We Are Bachelors Again (1970, Harald Philipp). Source: RialtoFilm (YouTube).


Trailer of Bye bye chaperon rouge/Bye Bye, Red Riding Hood (1989, Márta Mészáros). Source: Chaffy Glitz (YouTube).

Sources: Dr.Štefan ‘Cicis’ Rencz (CSFD.cs) (Cszech), Wikipedia (German and Hungarian) and IMDb.

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