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The Strange Secrets of the Count de Saint Germain. The Queen of Spades is directed by Thorold Dickinson and adapted to screenplay by Rodney Ackland and Arthur Boys from the story written by Alexander Pushkin. It stars Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans, Yvonne Mitchell and Ronald Howard. Music is scored by Georges Auric and cinematography by Otto Heller. A Tale of Old St. Petersbvrg. "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 QVEEN OF SPADES." The dead shall give up their secrets. Haunting, poetic, lyrical, romantic and visually arresting, Thorold Dickinson's take on the Pushkin story is a magnificent picture of many wonders. It's a film that (thankfully) is hard to pigeon hole, it's very unique, a uniqueness that marks it out as an oddity of sorts, ensuring it has stayed as a cult classic rather than a mainstream one. However, now widely available on DVD (the Optimum Region 2 issue is a spankingly fine transfer), and with Martin Scorsese lending his weight to the film's greatness, it's hoped that more people will get to see and embrace this masterpiece. Dickinson (Gaslight) was only brought in at the last minute, literally days before the picture went into production. Armed with only a tiny budget and confined to the stages of Welwyn Studios, the director gave a lesson in classic film making. The story is a more than solid source to work from, Walbrook's Tsarist Captain Suvorin aspires to gain wealth by learning Countess Ranevskaya's (Evans) secret to wining at the card game Faro. Working from a book he located about people making deals with the Devil, Suvorin worms his way into the affections of the Countess' ward, Lizaveta Ivanova (Mitchell), so as to get close to the aged and fragile Countess and put the squeeze on the old dear. He is obsessed and oblivious to the feelings of others and ignorant to the age old adage about being careful about what you wish for... Filmed in subtle black and white by Otto Heller (They Made Me A Fugitive), film is big on shadows, odd camera angles, clinical sound work and haunting imagery. Atmosphere is everything in a film like this, and this has it in abundance, even during the more exuberant passages, such as the gaiety of a dance, there's a disquiet hanging in the air, William Kellner's brilliantly baroque sets observers of impending doom. A number of images burn into the soul, a spider climbing its web, a doused candle and the eerie sight of distorted figurines in glass jars, these are just some of the shots worthy of inspection. Mirrors, too, play a prominent part in proceedings, hauntingly so, while many of the characters have an other worldly sheen to them. 3, 7 & Ace. Mostly the film is highly thought of by those that have seen it, what negative reviews I have come across appear to be written by horror fans unhappy with not getting the horror film suggested by tag words such as ghost and the Devil. For the first hour it's pretty much about characterisations, psychological make ups and back story, it's not until the hour mark when things start moving towards the spooky. But this film is not horror, as mentioned earlier, it's hard to pigeon hole it for it covers a number of bases. It's more in line with Rebecca and either of the Gaslight movies, an opulent period piece with supernatural overtones, while the visual style of it is very much like The Spiral Staircase. If you like those movies? Then it's pretty nailed on that this is the movie for you. Cast are terrific, Walbrook (Gaslight/The Red Shoes) is intense and maniacal, Evans (The Importance of Being Earnest ) is oddly scary but pitiful, Mitchell is beautiful but perfectly staid and Howard (son of Leslie) is straight backed and gentleman like. From the opening credits that are off kilter written on scratchy looking paper, accompanied by Auric's blunderbuss music score, to the "devilment" of the denouement, this is a classic Ealing film for true classic film fans. 10/10
This certainly has the feel of a short story to it. It takes it's time getting there, but the denouement is surprisingly effective. It all centres on the increasingly obsessive captain of engineers "Herman" (Anton Walbrook) who spends most of his cold and snowy St. Petersburg evenings with his aristocratic friends as they play faro. He never joins in, but that is because he has learned that the grandmother of one of his friends supposedly sold her soul to the devil in return for a secret that made her invincible at the card table. Determined to discover this secret, he befriends her confident "Lizaveta" (a competent Yvonne Mitchell) in the hope that he can gain an interview with the Countess (Dame Edith Evans) - a cantankerous woman who has lived to a ripe old age. A chance encounter ends in tragedy - but for whom? Walbrook is on good form, and is supported by a cast of familiar faces amongst his ennobled friends - Ronald Howard and Anthony Dawson probably being the most recognisable. Thorold Dickinson does, perhaps, string this out for fifteen minutes or so more that it can comfortably sustain, but this story of greed, love and fear is well told with Dame Edith and her squeaking frock and huge wigs delivering a wonderful sense of a woman who is thriving yet struggling with despair. The last twenty minutes are well edited with some clever use of visual and audio effects and the ending - well that's not quite what I was expecting. Well worth a watch, this.
Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style.
Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are 'The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta'.
Alex Corvis returns to the world of the living to avenge the murder of his girlfriend, who he was wrongly accused of killing. But first he must uncover the truth about who really killed her.
Billy is released after five years in prison. In the next moment, he kidnaps teenage student Layla and visits his parents with her, pretending she is his girlfriend and they will soon marry.
Exactly one year after young rock guitarist Eric Draven and his fiancée are brutally killed by a ruthless gang of criminals, Draven—watched over by a hypnotic crow—returns from the grave to exact revenge.
Carol Anne has been sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle in an effort to hide her from the clutches of the ghostly Reverend Kane, but he tracks her down and terrorises her in her relatives' appartment in a tall glass building. Will he finally achieve his target and capture Carol Anne again, or will Tangina be able, yet again, to thwart him?
In Los Angeles, siblings Ellie and Jimmy come across an accident on Mulholland Drive. As they try to help the woman caught in the wreckage, a ferocious creature attacks them, devouring the woman and scratching the terrified siblings. They slowly discover that the creature was a werewolf and that they have fallen victim to a deadly curse.
Jesse Walsh moves with his family into the home of the lone survivor from a series of attacks by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger. There, Jesse is bedeviled by nightmares and inexplicably violent impulses. It turns out Freddy is out to possess him in order to continue his reign of terror in the real world.
It's been many years since Freddy Krueger's first victim, Nancy, came face-to-face with Freddy and his sadistic, evil ways. Now, Nancy's all grown up; she's put her frightening nightmares behind her and is helping teens cope with their dreams. Too bad Freddy's decided to herald his return by invading the kids' dreams and scaring them into committing suicide.
An FBI undercover agent infilitrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life at the expense of his regular one.
To find Ilona and unlock the secrets of her disappearance, Karas must plunge deep into the parallel worlds of corporate espionage, organized crime and genetic research - where the truth imprisons whoever finds it first and miracles can be bought but at a great price.