None other than Martin Scorsese is championing this 60th anniversary reissue of The Queen Of Spades, one of the neglected treasures of post-war British cinema. Based on an Alexander Pushkin short story and directed by Thorold Dickinson, this expressionistic Faustian drama is set in early 19th-Century St Petersburg, where gambling fever is sweeping the city. An impecunious military captain (Anton Walbrook, fresh from The Red Shoes) learns that an aged countess (Edith Evans) once sold her soul in exchange for success at cards, and he’s determined to discover her diabolical secret.
Although it was actually shot in a small London studio, The Queen Of Spades is a richly atmospheric tale, courtesy of its shadowy black and white cinematography, its flamboyant sets, and its inventive sound effects and eclectic musical choices. And in this supernatural clash between good and evil, Walbrook gives a powerfully baroque performance as the film’s increasingly possessed anti-hero.