André de Toth (May 15, circa 1912 – October 27, 2002) was a Hungarian-American filmmaker, born and raised in Makó, Csongrád, Kingdom of Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire. He directed the 3-D film House of Wax, despite being unable to see in 3-D himself, having lost an eye at an early age. He is known for his gritty B movies in the western and crime genres.
Born ca. 1912 as Sâsvári Farkasfalvi Tóthfalusi Tóth Endre Antal Mihály, he earned a degree in law from the Royal Hungarian University in the early 1930s. He garnered acclaim for plays written as a college student, acquiring the mentorship of Ferenc Molnár and becoming part of the theater scene in Budapest. From that involvement he segued to the film industry and worked as a writer, assistant director, editor and sometime actor. In 1939 he directed five films just before war began in Europe. Several of these pictures received significant release in the Hungarian communities in the United States. De Toth went to England, spent… read more
At the end of a decade in which some of the finest examples of the genre were made, De Toth shot this bleak western classic which deserves wider recognition. Big and burly Ives dominates scenes as a mortally wounded fugitive who takes over a snowbound town with his thirsty, sex-starved colleagues only to founder at the hands of a determined Ryan. A colossal film that plays out in three acts of increasing brilliance..
Burl Ives plays a well-written character and performs it wonderfully. The film has some un-usual for the time long takes, and some awesome long pans, particularly the Dance scene which Bertrand Tavernier has pointed out before (see "Fragments" by de Toth, preface). I really enjoyed the last 12 minutes-briliant b&W cinematography in the snow-with a killer soundtrack!My appreciation of de Toth just keeps growing.
Exemplary for a B movie director's ability to marry economic storytelling with visual poetry to the utmost efficiency. Even the obvious difference in the lighting quality between interior staging and photography in the open adds to its surreal stylization. All in all a little miracle in mise-en-scène.
Harsh inversion of High Noon. Ascends into a blinding wilderness with its gunslinger twilight tropes before dissolving and pulling back to an unsatisfying conclusion, but not before issuing the cry of the individual against history in a way that echoes in Peckinpah and resonates in the hallucinatory angst of Corbucci's Il Grande Silenzio. The life of a genre must pass and when it passes the end must take place.