The Queen of Spades (1949 film)

The Queen of Spades is a 1949 fantasy-horror film based on a short story of the same name by Alexander Pushkin. It stars Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans and Yvonne Mitchell. Evans and Mitchell were better known at the time as stage actors, this film was their cinematic debut.[2]

The Queen of Spades
Theatrical re-release poster
Directed byThorold Dickinson
Produced byAnatole de Grunwald
Written byAlexander Pushkin (story)
Rodney Ackland
Arthur Boys
StarringAnton Walbrook
Edith Evans
Yvonne Mitchell
CinematographyOtto Heller
Edited byHazel Wilkinson
De Grunwald Productions for Associated British Picture Corporation
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathe (UK)
Republic Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 16 March 1949 (1949-03-16) (London)
  • 30 June 1949 (1949-06-30) (US)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£107,250 (UK)[1]


Captain Herman Suvorin (Anton Walbrook) is a Russian soldier in St Petersburg in 1806. He comes from a working class background, and is consequently spurned by his wealthier fellow officers. Suvorin begins gambling, playing the card game Faro. He is told of an aged countess (Edith Evans), who allegedly sold her soul to the devil in exchange for success in playing Faro. Suvorin seduces her ward (Yvonne Mitchell) as part of a plan to learn the countess's secret of success.



The screenplay was adapted from a short story of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, with a script written by Arthur Boys and Rodney Ackland.[3] Ackland was also originally the film's director, before disagreements with producer de Grunwald and star Walbrook, caused him to be replaced at a few days notice by Thorold Dickinson, who also rewrote sections of the script.[2]

The film was shot at Welwyn Studios in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, using sets created by William Kellner, from original designs by Oliver Messel.[3][4] It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best British Film and was entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.[5]


The Queen of Spades was once considered lost, but was rediscovered and later re-released in British cinemas on 26 December 2009.[3][6] It was released on Region 2 DVD in January 2010.[3]


Writing in 1949, The New York Times Bosley Crowther noted "a most beautifully accomplished cast, exquisite baroque production and staging of a tense and startling sort. If it's romantic shivers you're wanting, this is undoubtedly your film."[7]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 95% based on 20 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 8.1/10.[8]

Wes Anderson ranked it as the sixth best British film.[9] Martin Scorsese has described Thorold Dickinson as an underrated director, saying of The Queen of Spades that "this stunning film is one of the few true classics of supernatural cinema."[3] Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews rated the film an A-, calling it "A masterfully filmed surreal atmospheric supernatural tale".[10]


  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p489
  2. "The Queen of Spades (1949)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  3. "Tale of luckless director dealt bad hand". The Herald. 24 December 2009.
  4. "BFI Screenonline: Queen of Spades, The (1949) Credits".
  5. "Festival de Cannes: The Queen of Spades". Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  6. Bradshaw, Peter (17 December 2009). "The Queen of Spades | Film review" via
  7. C, B. (1 July 1949). "At the Little Cine Met" via
  8. "The Queen of Spades (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Flixter. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  9. "100 Best British Films: Directors". Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  10. Schwartz, Dennis. "queenofspades". Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 22 August 2018.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.