Vintage: Classic Polish Films (1940s and 50s)

Vintage: Classic Polish Films (1940s and 50s)


After the horrors of the Nazi occupation and repressive postwar Soviet domination, Polish cinema suddenly took off in the mid-50s to become a major international force. Initially, it was Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy (1954-58) on wartime resistance that attracted attention. That was followed by a wave of films approaching contemporary society with skilful circumspection before there was a further clampdown in the late 1960s. The four films in this well-documented box set are all first-rate. Only Andrzej Munk’s Eroica (1957), a black comedy in two parts (one about spiv caught up with the resistance, the other set in a concentration camp) takes place during the war. Both Wajda’s acutely observed Innocent Sorcerers (1960), about a newly qualified, jazz-loving doctor and his problems with emotional commitment, and Janusz Morgenstern’s little-known, loosely knit Goodbye, See You Tomorrow (1960), about a young stage director falling for a visiting French beauty, centre on disaffected youth. The fourth, Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Night Train (1959), is an accomplished psychological thriller set entirely on a train carrying a cross-section of Poles from Warsaw to the Baltic coast. The last three feature the charismatic Zbigniew Cybulski, star of Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds. Dubbed Poland’s James Dean, he was killed in a 1967 railway accident.

Pożegnania (1958) dir: Wojciech Has

Pożegnania (1958) dir: Wojciech Has

The Saragossa Manuscript (Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie) - 1964, dir: Wojciech Has

The Saragossa Manuscript (Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie) – 1964, dir: Wojciech Has

Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament) - 1958, dir: Andrzej Wajda

Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament) – 1958, dir: Andrzej Wajda

Awantura o Basie (1959) dir: Maria Kaniewska

Awantura o Basie (1959) dir: Maria Kaniewska

Czy Lucyna to dziewczyna (1934)

Is Lucyna a Girl? (Czy Lucyna to dziewczyna?) – 1934, dir: Juliusz Gardan

Eve Wants to Sleep (Ewa chce spać) - 1957, dir: Tadeusz Chmielewski

Eve Wants to Sleep (Ewa chce spać) – 1957, dir: Tadeusz Chmielewski

Mother Joan of the Angels (Matka Joanna od Aniołów) - 1961, dir: Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Mother Joan of the Angels (Matka Joanna od Aniołów) – 1961, dir: Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Paweł i Gaweł (1938) dir: Mieczysław Krawicz

Paweł i Gaweł (1938) dir: Mieczysław Krawicz

The Treasure (Skarb) - 1948, dir: Leonard Buczkowski

The Treasure (Skarb) – 1948, dir: Leonard Buczkowski

Forbidden Songs (Zakazane piosenki) - 1946, dir: Leonard Buczkowski

Forbidden Songs (Zakazane piosenki) – 1946, dir: Leonard Buczkowski

Bad Luck (Zezowate szczęście) - 1960, dir: Andrzej Munk

Bad Luck (Zezowate szczęście) – 1960, dir: Andrzej Munk


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