The Queen of Spades (PG)

Thorold Dickinson (91 mins), starring Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans, Yvonne Mitchell, Ronald Howard
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The Independent Culture

This marvellously creepy Gothic romance, based on a short story by Pushkin, was first released in 1949, the work of the British director Thorold Dickinson.

It stars Anton Walbrook as an arrogantly remote Tsarist captain who becomes obsessed with making his fortune. Overhearing a legend about an ancient countess (Edith Evans) who sold her soul in exchange for the secret of winning at cards, the officer insinuates himself with the crone's young companion (Yvonne Mitchell) in an attempt to extract the secret for his own ends. Set in enshrouding gloom and wobbling candlelight, the story develops a morbidly exciting grip thanks to the maniacally superstitious Walbrook and Evans's otherworldly chill – the funeral scene alone will make you jump.

'The Queen of Spades' is released 26 December