It is 1806, Imperial Russia, and St Petersburg is in the grip of gambling fever. No card strikes more fear in to the hearts of the soldiers than the evil Queen of Spades. Captain Herman Suvorin (Anton Walbrook) is a lowly German engineer: an outsider obsessed with making his fortune whose peculiar manner isolates him from the revelries of the other bawdy soldiers. He is intrigued, though, by soldiers’ gossip that tells of the legend of an ancient Countess (Dame Edith Evans), who supposedly sold her soul to the devil years before, in exchange for the secret of success at the card game de jour: Faro.
When he stumbles across a strange and rare book that seems to confirm the story, Suvorin sets about a dastardly plan in order to extract the old lady’s secret for himself. Worming his way into the household by paying false court to the Countess’ lonely ward Lizaveta (Yvonne Mitchell), Suvorin discovers a secret door to the palace that leads directly into the Countess’ chambers. On the night of a ball that the Countess and Lizaveta attend, he enters the palace and waits in the shadows for the Countess, determined to learn her secret before another bitter winter’s day breaks…
The Queen of Spades is a wonderfully evocative and sinister drama, made at Ealing Studios by one of the most underrated of British directors: Thorold Dickinson, who throughout his career refused to compromise his artistic integrity in the face of commercial pressures. Based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, the film boasts memorable performances by Anton Walbrook (The Red Shoes) as the soldier driven insane by his lust for success and fortune and Dame Edith Evans (Tom Jones, Scrooge) as the bitter and twisted old Countess who gave away her soul for a short-lived salvation.
Based on the short story by Alexander Pushkin
New release in 2023!
For the 2023 restoration of The Queen of Spades, STUDIOCANAL accessed the original nitrate camera negative stored at the BFI which was scanned and restored in 4K to produce a brand new HD master and a new 4K DCP.