7.3/10
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26 user 23 critic

The Queen of Spades (1949)

An elderly countess strikes a bargain with the devil and exchanges her soul for the ability to always win at cards. An army officer, who is also a fanatic about cards, murders her for the ... See full summary »

Director:

Thorold Dickinson

Writers:

Rodney Ackland (the screenplay by), Arthur Boys (the screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anton Walbrook ... Capt. Herman Suvorin
Edith Evans ... The Old Countess Ranevskaya
Yvonne Mitchell ... Lizaveta Ivanova
Ronald Howard Ronald Howard ... Andrei
Mary Jerrold Mary Jerrold ... Old Varvarushka
Anthony Dawson ... Fyodor
Miles Malleson ... Tchybukin
Michael Medwin ... Hovaisky
Athene Seyler ... Princess Ivashin
Ivor Barnard ... Bookseller
Maroussia Dimitrevitch Maroussia Dimitrevitch ... Gypsy singer
Violetta Elvin Violetta Elvin ... Gypsy dancer
Pauline Tennant ... Young countess
Jacqueline Clarke ... Milliner's assistant
Josef Ramart Josef Ramart ... Countess' lover (as Yusef Ramart)
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Storyline

An elderly countess strikes a bargain with the devil and exchanges her soul for the ability to always win at cards. An army officer, who is also a fanatic about cards, murders her for the secret, then finds himself haunted by the woman's spirit. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 June 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dama de Espadas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio was right beside a train line and very badly soundproofed. They had to post a man on the studio roof to watch out for trains so filming could be suspended while the trains went past. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Herman Suvorin: [he surprises the Old Countess] Don't cry out! Don't be alarmed, please, don't be alarmed. I don't mean you any harm. I've come to ask a favour of you. That's all. A favour. It'll cost you nothing. But to me, it will bring happiness for the rest of my life. I want the secret of the cards. That's all. Come, what is it? The three cards. The names of the three cards. Please! Oh, it's no use pretending you don't know anything about it. I know you were given the secret. And I know who gave it to you....
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

[prologue] A Tale of Old St. Petersburg. In 1806 the craze for gambling had spread throughout Russia. Faro - a simple card game similar to our Snap - was all the fashion, and fortunes were won and lost on the turn of a card. As a result there arose many superstitions concerning the cards - one of these was the evil influence of The Queen of Spades. See more »

Connections

Version of The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre: Queen of Spades (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Great atmosphere in a fine British chiller
5 November 2006 | by Camera-ObscuraSee all my reviews

This macabre little fantasy has so far largely remained under the radar, which is a shame, because it's one of the better British productions of the '40s and '50s. It's the kind of highly stylized costume mystery/horror, that will undoubtedly appeal to lovers of old British cinema.

The story is based on Alexander Puschkin's novella, "The Queen of Spades (1834), about a young captain in the Russian army (Anton Walbrook), an outsider (because he's German) who secretly covets the wealth and position of his fellow officers. When he discovers that an aged countess has sold her soul to the devil in exchange for eternal fortune at the card table, he attempts to gain entry to the household by seducing the countess' naive ward, but his envy envy leads to the dowager's death, a loveless marriage, and Herman's descent into madness.

The production initially ran into some trouble with director Thorold Dickinson entering the project when a great deal of the pre-production was already done. With his limited resources and the inadequate sets and sound stage facilities of the Welwyn Studios, he incorporated as many camera, lighting and special effects as he could devise, and with good effect. The film looks great. Atmosphere in these kind of films is half the work, and they surely did a great job. The acting is somewhat stagy and highly stylized, but this was probably a common characteristic in British acting in those days, and I don't think of Anton Walbrook as a great actor, but the rest of the cast is fine, with Edith Evans in great form as the countess. All in all, not an undiscovered masterpiece, but a fine British chiller with a great period atmosphere.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10


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