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Archive for October, 2013

Zsa_Zsa_Gabor_-_1959

Via Wikipedia

Her name is synonymous with glamor – no not her birth name Sári Gabor –  but Zsa Zsa, a simple Hungarian girl who became Hollywood royalty. It is fair to say that before there was Paris Hilton, before Angelina Jolie, and other starlets who became obsessions of the American public and media, there was Zsa Zsa.  Born in 1917 in Budapest, which was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, it wasn’t until just before World War II that Gabor was able to flee Europe (she would have to, her mother was Jewish).

Before retiring due to health reasons, Zsa Zsa spent over 70 years in the entertainment industry in the USA. Her career stretches far back as the Milton Berle Show, which many consider the first real successful TV comedy show, all the way up to spots on the David Letterman Show. In between there are almost a hundred TV and film credits, from roles on much-loved shows as Bonanza to Mr. Ed, from The Love Boat to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, all the while getting the American ear accustomed to her sultry Hungarian accent.

Gabor’s life was as dramatic as the roles she played. All in all, she was married nine times.  When a reporter asked hew who many husbands she had, she famously said, “You mean other than mine?”  She was first proposed to at the tender age of 15, and indeed took the Turkish diplomat as her first husband. But by 19 she had been crowned Miss Hungary, and it was obvious she was determined to make a career for herself in entertainment. Divorced before the age of 20, Gabor emigrated with her mother the US. Not long after, she met hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, who became her second husband. In 1952 Gabor got her big break in Hollywood, being offered a part in a Fred Astaire movie. The rest, dah-ling, is history.

Though she became an American citizen, Zsa Zsa never fully lost her trademark Hungarian accent, as you can see in the clip below.

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

When you’re right, you’re right. We have been going on for years now about how Budapest is one of the most under-rated, under-utilized locations on the planet. Now we have official confirmation that the world’s most sophisticated travelers agree. Last week Condé Nast Traveler announced the winners of its 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards. It turns out that Budapest is tied for number two on this list of world-wide favorite travel destinations. Ranked higher than Paris, higher than Rome, New York, or Tokyo. Why Budapest? The reasons are many:

Old World Europe, and much of it ‘undiscovered’ by travelers from abroad. You know what to expect when you go to Paris. But people still feel a sense of discovery when arriving in Budapest and happening upon the Opera House, Gellért Baths, or biting into their first paprika dish.

Bargain prices: though nothing like they were after the wave of Socialism receded, the city is still massively affordable when compared to the capitals of Western Europe.

Diverse and unique sights. We’re talking Turkish baths, Communist statue parks, Art Nouveau, caving, world-class cuisine (with Michelin stars to prove it), and a gorgeous river that runs right through it all.

Year-round festivals. From sausage and brandy, wine and cheese, to micro-brew beers, there seems to be a festival for every aspect of local cuisine, beginning in early spring and lasting until late autumn. In the summer Budapest also hosts the largest music festival in Europe, the Sziget Festival, and the classical-music-minded Spring Festival, and the early autumn Jewish Festival. The Opera, Liszt Ferenc Music Academy, and folk and jazz music venues keep people moving in winter.

And, of course, the city itself. Highly walkable, with a spectacular array of architectural styles – Budapest – the pulsating heart of Central Europe, is its own best advertisement, and finally getting the recognition it deserves.

In this case, we love to say “I told you so.”

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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Párizsi2

Photo via Wikipedia Commons

In last week’s post, we looked at some of the famous locations from the Cold War-era spy flick Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But we left out one major location, because it deserves a post all its own. If you saw the film, you will remember the pivotal opening sequence, where a meeting between operatives goes fatally wrong. Scouts chose the Párizsi Udvar (Parisian Court) for the location, utilizing its ornate but slightly decayed elegance to communicate the feeling of old-world Central Europe under Communist rule.

The one-time shopping arcade takes up the ground and first floors of the historic Brudern House building on Budapest’s Ferenciek Square. The building was designed by Hungarian architect Mihály Pollack and utilizes Venetian Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau, and even a smattering of oriental elements. The result is at once austere and opulent, giving a feel of turn-of-the-century Hungary in its golden café society years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

photo via Wikipedia Commons

The Parisian Court shopping arcade is just as striking at the building’s exterior. The stained glass of the hexagonal glass dome, designed by famed designer Miksa Róth, lends the space a cathedral-like feel (and fills it with natural light). It’s the details that make the court so striking: the walls adorned with cast iron and carved wooden ornaments, and the floors done in tiled mosaic. For all the eclectic architecture outside, the indoors has a distinctly Moorish feeling.

Parisi3

photo via Wikipedia Commons

Though the communists tampered with one of the interior entrances, much – though not all –  of the arcade remains in its original condition, which means, a bit decrepit but visually striking. It is rumored that the space is once again up for sale. Though the arcade is open for in-the-know tourists to wander around, all the stores have been shuttered. Meaning, it’s an ideal and easy-to-arrange location.

parisi4

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a remarkable film for a few reasons. Amongst those is the prominent role Budapest plays in the story and setting. More and more often, Budapest is cast as a stand-in for another city, most often a place like Rome or Moscow. But this time no makeover was needed. The spy film – based on the much-loved book by John le Carre – opens with a shot of the Hungarian Parliament building, as viewed from the Buda-side Fisherman’s Bastion. Let’s have a look at a few of the locations closer up.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

Fisherman’s Bastion offers spectacular views of the Danube and Pest, from its Castle District perch. The terrace was created in a Neo-Gothic style, giving it a look that can either be dark and spooky or romantic, depending. Though it was destroyed during World War II, it was fully restored to its original 1900’s look.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

The Parliament is the second largest government building in the world after the Pentagon in the USA. Built in Gothic Revival, and completed in 1904, it uses more than 30,000,000 bricks in its structure. It comprises over 600 rooms, has 10 separate courtyards, and 30 staircases. Other famous aspects of the building are the 16-sided central hall, and the Miksa Róth stained glass windows and mosaics. The Parliament is so huge and there are so many details to the fixtures and architecture that it is in a perpetual state of renovation.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

The film itself – set during the Cold War era – also makes great use of Budapest side-streets to create a murky, colorless Soviet feel. It is also one of the few films that features Hungarian language in a prominent enough role that subtitles in English are occasionally needed. In short: it’s really one of the few English-language films to fully utilize Budapest for its own original atmosphere.

Smiley-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-30239293-1280-800PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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