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January 21, 2022

“The Hungarian Rhapsody”: Beautiful Photos of Vilma Bánky in the 1920s

Born 1901 in Nagydorog, Hungarian-American actress Vilma Bánky had her first film appearance in the now-lost film Im Letzten Augenblick (In the last moment) in 1919. She appeared opposite silent film star Rudolph Valentino in The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). She also appeared opposite Ronald Colman in a series of love stories, including The Dark Angel and The Winning of Barbara Worth.


It is commonly believed that her thick Hungarian accent led, with the advent of sound, to her career being cut short; however, Bánky began losing interest in films and wanted to settle down with Rod La Rocque whom she married in 1927 and simply be his wife. By 1928, she had begun announcing her intention to retire in a few years.

Of her 24 films, eight exist in their entirety (Hotel Potemkin, Der Zirkuskönig (The King of the Circus) with Max Linder, The Son of the Sheik, The Eagle, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Night of Love, A Lady to Love, and The Rebel), and three exist in fragments (Tavaszi szerelem in scattered bits, the first five reels of The Magic Flame, and an incomplete copy of Two Lovers).

Bánky died in 1991 from cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 90. For her contributions to the film industry, she received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Her star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Vilma Bánky in the 1920s.












































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