7.4/10
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25 user 21 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

Ivor Barnard was working on Paper Orchid (1949) at the same time. 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

The opening credits, rather than simply reading "Screenplay By", "Music By", "Director of Photography", etc., as in most films, read "The Screenplay By", "The Music By", "The Director of Photography", "The Art Director", etc. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lettre de Sibérie (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

10/10 - a timeless masterpiece
4 July 2002 | by DunksSee all my reviews

Adapted from a short story by Pushkin, this brilliant film is far too rarely seen or mentioned, which is tragic, because it is without question one of the best British films ever made.

I was fortunate enough to see it on cable, where by coincidence it was shown right after 'The Third Man' and just before another Brtish b/w masterpiece, 'The Haunting' -- what a triple bill! In fact there are several connections between QOS and 'The Haunting', including Jack Clayton, who produced the former and directed the latter, and composer Georges Auric, who scored both. There are also close connections with The Archers (Powell & Pressberger) -- Anton Walbrook featured in three P&P films, and co-writer Rodney Ackland also scripted one of those films, P&P's '49th Parallel'.

Watching 'Queen Of Spades' it's obvious that many of the team who made it learned their craft in the silent era -- lighting, costumes, set design and cinematography are all fantastic, and though on a slightly smaller and more restrained scale, QOS is almost on a par with Von Sternberg's baroque masterpiece 'The Scarlett Empress'.

Brilliantly directed by Torold Dickinson (who also did 'Gaslight', in which Walbrook also features), the incredible, wildly expressionistic b/w cinematography is by legendary Czech-born DOP Otto Heller, who began his career in 1922(!) and who also shot Olivier's 'Richard III', 'The Ladykillers', Powell's 'Peeping Tom' and those three classic Michael Caine films of the 60s, The 'Ipcress File', 'Alfie' and 'Funeral In Berlin.'

The casting is perfect, and it's easy to see why Anton Walbrook was one of Michael Powell's favourite actors. His portrayal of the odious Suvorin is a tour de force, and he is matched by the great Edith Evans as the Countess. The crucial scene in which Suvorin tries unsuccessfully to beg, cajole, and finally force the secret of the cards from the Countess is truly electrifying -- Walbrook is absolutely rivetting, and Evans -- who has no lines and plays the scene only with her eyes -- shows why she was considered one the greatest actors of her generation. The climax of that scene, the look of stark horror on Walbrook's face, is one of the most powerful film moments I've ever seen, perhaps only surpassed by incredible card-game scene at the end of the film.


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