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.
|The Queen of Spades|
Theatrical re-release poster
|Directed by||Thorold Dickinson|
|Produced by||Anatole de Grunwald|
|Written by||Alexander Pushkin (story)|
|Edited by||Hazel Wilkinson|
De Grunwald Productions for Associated British Picture Corporation
|Distributed by||Associated British-Pathe (UK)|
Republic Pictures (US)
|Box office||£107,250 (UK)|
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.
- Anton Walbrook as Captain Herman Suvorin
- Edith Evans as Countess Ranevskaya
- Yvonne Mitchell as Lizavetta Ivanova
- Ronald Howard as Andrei
- Mary Jerrold as Old Varvarushka
- Anthony Dawson as Fyodor
- Miles Malleson as Tchybukin
- Michael Medwin as Hovaisky
- Athene Seyler as Princess Ivashin
- Ivor Barnard as Bookseller
- Aubrey Mallalieu as Fedya
- Maroussia Dimitrevitch as Gypsy singer
- Violetta Elvin as Gypsy dancer
- Pauline Tennant as young Countess Ranevskaya
- Hay Petrie as Herman's servant (final film)
- Aubrey Woods as Dimitri
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. 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.
The film was shot at Welwyn Studios in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, using sets created by William Kellner, from original designs by Oliver Messel. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best British Film and was entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.
The Queen of Spades was once considered lost, but was rediscovered and later re-released in British cinemas on 26 December 2009. It was released on Region 2 DVD in January 2010.
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."
Wes Anderson ranked it as the sixth best British film. 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." Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews rated the film an A-, calling it "A masterfully filmed surreal atmospheric supernatural tale".
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p489
- "The Queen of Spades (1949)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
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- "BFI Screenonline: Queen of Spades, The (1949) Credits". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "Festival de Cannes: The Queen of Spades". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Bradshaw, Peter (17 December 2009). "The Queen of Spades | Film review" – via www.theguardian.com.
- C, B. (1 July 1949). "At the Little Cine Met" – via NYTimes.com.
- "The Queen of Spades (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Flixter. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
- "100 Best British Films: Directors". timeout.com. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Schwartz, Dennis. "queenofspades". Sover.net. Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
- The Queen of Spades on IMDb
- The Queen of Spades at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Queen of Spades at the BFI's Screenonline