In Budapest in 1930 live a father, mother, and a young son. The father had been dismissed from his teaching post some years before because of his outspoken liberal views. In a growing totalitarian state he is blacklisted, and makes a bare living by proofreading trashy writing. He is so poor that he cannot afford a tree for Christmas. The imaginative youngster, who is a fan of Hoot Gibson and Sherlock Holmes and who worships his father, figures he can raise money for a tree by charging dues to join a new secret society that he has invented. The boy gets the tree, but the police hear of the society and come to arrest the father as the brains. Anxious about what little self-respect he has left, the father compromises himself, not realizing he is destroying the idealism of his worshipful son. But in the end he is firm, suffers terrible inquisitions and redeems himself as a hero in the eyes of his boy.
"A drama of strength and intelligence that cannot be easily forgotten." - The New York Post
"Overpoweringly dramatic and touching sequences." - New York Daily Mirror