24 July 2019

Ila Lóth

Ila Lóth (1900-1975) was one of the most popular Hungarian actresses of the silent screen. She starred in films by the Star Film Company and the Corvin Film Factory, and her co-star in these films was often Arisztid Olt, better known now as Béla Lugosi. In the early 1920s, she also made films for the Emelka studio in Germany. Ila Lóth acted in 35 silent films before she married in 1923 and retired. In the 1950s, she returned to the screen in small parts.

Ila Lóth in Lengyelvér (1921)
Hungarian postcard by MFSI, no 24. Photo: May. Ila Lóth in Lengyelvér/The Leopard (Béla Balogh, 1921).

Ila Loth
German postcard by NPG, no. 1963. Photo: Angelo, Budapest, 1918.

Dorian Gray

Ila Lóth was born as Mária Rónai in 1900 in Budapest, Hungary (Austria-Hungary). She was the daughter of István Rónai, a drawer, and Mária Horváth.

She studied at the Állami Operaház Balettiskolájában (Ballet School of the State Opera) and then she graduated from Kálmán Rózsahegyi's private acting school.

In 1916 she appeared in the film version of János vitéz/John the Hero (Eugen Illés, Tibor Rákosi, 1916) as one of the dancing fairies opposite Alfréd Deésy as the male lead.

In 1917, screenwriter József Pakots discovered her and she became a member of the Star Film Company. With her natural acting style, Ila Lóth soon became a popular star of the Hungarian silent cinema, first of all in films directed by actor-turned-director Alfréd Deésy, e.g. as the maid in Raskolnyikov/Raskolnikov (1917), Casanova (1918) with Deésy himself in the title role, and as Postáskisasszony in Lengyelvér/The Leopard (1918), opposite Bela Lugosi (as Arisztid Olt).

She also played Sybil Vane in Az élet királya/The Picture of Dorian Gray (Alfréd Deésy, 1918), based on Oscar Wilde's novel of the same name, with Norbert Dán as Dorian Gray and Bela Lugosi (as Arisztid Olt) as Lord Henry Wotton.

Also, German director Cornelius Hintner often directed her in Hungarian films, e.g. in Nebántsvirág/Mam'zelle Nitouche (Cornelius Hintner, 1918) and the comedy Egy Nagymama naplójából/Lili (Cornelius Hintner, 1918) featuring Ida Andorffy as Lili and Bela Lugosi.

Ila Loth in Az ötödik osztály (1920)
Hungarian postcard. Photo: Star Film. Ila Lóth, Árpád Latabár, and Lajos Ujváry in Az ötödik osztály (Bela Balogh, 1920). The card reads 'written by Richard Falk', but IMDb lists József Pakots as the screenwriter of the film.

Ila Loth and Ernö Verebes in Az ötödik osztály (1920)
Hungarian postcard. Photo: Star Film. Ila Lóth and Ernö Verebes a.k.a. Ernst Verebes in Az ötödik osztály (Bela Balogh, 1920).

A Hungarian version of Mary Pickford

In 1919, Ila Lóth moved to the Corvin Film Factory, on the recommendation of Korda Sándor a.k.a. Alexander Korda. Korda directed her in the drama Yamata (Alexander Korda, 1919) and starring Gábor Rajnay as the slave Yamata.

Yamata was made for the state-owned Hungarian film industry during the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and concerns a black slave's revolt against his master. The film's apparent political leftism, along with that of Ave Caesar! (Alexander Korda, 1919), led to Korda's arrest once the Soviet Republic collapsed and he fled Hungary in 1919 during the White Terror.

Ila Lóth appeared for Corvin in several films by Béla Balogh as a naive girl with blond curls, a Hungarian version of Mary Pickford. These films included Az egyhuszasos lány/Egy dollár/One dollar (Béla Balogh, 1923), in which she starred opposite Paul Lukas, and Hegyek alján/Under the Mountains (Béla Balogh, 1920), with Iván Petrovich.

In the early 1920s, she made some Germsn silent films for the Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG (Emelka) studio in Munich, such as Der Verfluchte/The damned (Franz Osten, 1921), with Violetta Napierska, Schattenkinder des Glücks/Shadow children of happiness (Franz Osten, 1922), with Vilma Banky and Um Liebe und Thron/For Love and Crown (Franz Osten, 1922) with Ellen Kürti.

Probably her last silent film was A Lélek órása/Soul Watch (Béla Balogh, 1923), in which she starred opposite Gusztáv Vándory. On the 26th of October 1923, Ila Loth married Győző János Rohoczy Storer in Budapest and retired for a long time. All in all, Lóth acted in some 35 silent films.

From 1948 onward, she played small parts in films again. Among her films of the 1950s is the classic Liliomfi (Károly Makk, 1954) with Iván Darvas, Marianne Krencsey, Éva Ruttkai and Imre Soós. The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955.

From the 1950s on, Ila Lóth acted on stage at the Madách Theatre. From 1960, she also appeared in some Hungarian TV films and one series, the popular historical adventure series A Tenkes kapitánya/Captain Of The Tenkes (Tamás Fejér, 1964) with Ferenc Zenthe.

In the cinema, she appeared in another Hungarian classic, Apa/Father (István Szabó, 1966) featuring Miklós Gabór. Her last feature film appearance was in Szabó's Tüzoltó utca 25./25 Fireman's Street (István Szábo, 1973) with Lucyna Winnicka and Margit Makay.

Ila Lóth passed away in 1975 in Budapest, Hungary. She is interred at the Fiumei úti Nemzeti Sírkert (National Graveyard in Fiumei Street) in Budapest. Her husband Győző János Rohoczy had passed away in 1952.

Ila Loth in Egy dollar (1923)
Hungarian postcard, no. 2. Photo: Corvin Film / May Film. Ila Lóth in Egy dollar/One Dollar aka Az egyhuszasos lány (Uwe Jens Krafft, 1923).

Ila Loth in Egy dollar
Hungarian postcard, no. 4. Photo: Corvin Film / May Film. Ila Lóth in Egy dollar/One Dollar aka Az egyhuszasos lány (Uwe Jens Krafft, 1923).

Ila Loth in Egy Dollár (1923)
Hungarian postcard by K Ltd. Photo: Corvin Film / May Film. Ila Lóth in Egy dollar/One Dollar aka Az egyhuszasos lány (Uwe Jens Krafft, 1923).

Sources: Billion Graves, Wikipedia (Hungarian and English) and IMDb.

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