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::1937 - Knight without Armour (Knight Without Armor) / Tatjana



England 1937
Alexander Korda-London Films
black & white

Synopsis:
In 1913, after a visit to Ascot, Alexandra Vladinoff returns to the Russian court, where she is engaged to marry Colonel Adraxine. A. J. Fothergill, a former English reporter who has been in Russia for six years, is now translating novels, but he is expelled from the country by the police because of a political article he once wrote. His career ruined, Fothergill accepts the invitation of Colonel Forrester to lose British protection and join the Secret Service, as his fluency in the language allows him to pass as a Russian. Fothergill, adopting the identity of Peter Ouranoff, is enlisted in a revolutionary group headed by book dealer Axelstein. One of their members, Maronin, bombs a carriage carrying Alexandra's liberal father, but he survives. Maronin is later shot and dies in the apartment of Fothergill, who is arrested and sent to Siberia. World War I breaks out, and Adraxine is delighted, but soon leaves Alexandra a widow. After more than two years of cold hell in the Eastern snows, Axelstein predicts to Fothergill that the war will prompt a revolution. In 1917, the Siberian exiles are liberated and cheered upon their return; Axelstein is made a Commissar of Khalinsk and asks Fothergill to assist him. One morning, Alexandra is shocked to find that the servants have deserted the estate. The masses then take over the grounds and make her a prisoner. Soldiers, under the leadership of Tonsky, pillage the Vladinoff home, and many are executed. Axelstein arrives and demands discipline, assigning Fothergill to take Alexandra to Petrograd for trial. However, they are unable to leave the station because the trains are no longer running. The peasants flee the region, which has been retaken by the White army, and Fothergill leads Alexandra to the lines. The White general recognizes her, and that night she is given elegant dresses to wear to dinner as executions are conducted not far away. The next day, Reds recapture the town, and Alexandra is once more a prisoner. Fothergill manages to release her and helps her to evade pursuers in the forest; the couple now realize they are in love. They join a mob as it storms an overfilled train by laying across the tracks. Arriving at Kazan, Alexandra is nearly recognized, and Poushkoff escorts them to the next station, Samara. Along the way they become friends, and after outlining an escape plan, Poushkoff commits suicide. Fothergill and Alexandra take a boat down the Volga, where she becomes ill. Going ashore, they are retaken by the Whites. Fothergill is about to be shot when he is caught in crossfire as Reds try to sabotage the rails. Learning that Alexandra is on a Red Cross train for Bucharest, Fothergill eagerly joins her.

Cast:
Marlene Dietrich (Countess Alexandra Vladinoff)
Robert Donat (Ainsley J. Fothergill aka Peter Ouronov)
Irene Vanbrugh (Duchess of Zorin)
Herbert Lomas (General Gregor Vladinoff)
Austin Trevor (Colonel Adraxine)
Basil Gill (Axelstein)
David Tree (Alexis Maronin)
John Clements (Poushkoff)
Frederick Culley (Stanfield)
Laurence Hanray (Forrester)
Dorice Fordred (The Maid)
Franklin Kelsey (Tomsky)
Laurence Baskcomb (Commissar)
Hay Petrie (Station Master)
Miles Malleson (Drunken Red Commissar)
Allan Jeayes (White General)
Lyn Harding (Bargee)
Raymond Huntley (White Officer)
Evelyn Ankers (Minor Role)
Derek Aylward (Extra)
Noel Brophy (Irishman)
Peter Bull (Commissar)
James Carew (Minor Role)
Peter Cozens (Minor Role)
Lisa d'Esterre (Czarina)
Mark Daly (Hospital Orderly)
Stephen Haggard (Minor Role)
Edward Lexy (Minor Role)
Gordon McLeod (Scottish Doctor)
Peter O'Brien (Minor Role)
Noel Purcell (First Train Driver Trying to Clear Track)
Guy Rolfe (Minor Role)
Miklós Rózsa (Pianist)
Harry Terry (Commissar Who Claims That He's Innocent)
Torin Thatcher (British Passport Official)
Peter Evan Thomas (General Andreyevitch)

Crew:
Jacques Feyder (director)
Frances Marion (adaptation)
Lajos Biró (writing credits)
Arthur Wimperis (dialogue & scenario)
Alexander Korda (producer)
Miklós Rózsa (original music)
Harry Stradling Sr. (cinematography)
Francis D. Lyon (film editor)
Georges K. Benda (costume design)
Tom Shenton (makeup artist)
David B. Cunynghame (production manager)
Imlay Watts (assistant director)
Lazare Meerson (settings designer)
Hal Waller (assistant art director)
A.W. Watkins (sound)
John W. Mitchell (boom operator)
Ned Mann (special effects)
W. Percy Day (matte painter)
Bernard Browne (assistant camera)
Jack Cardiff (camera operator)
William Hornbeck (supervising editor)
Adam Dawson (second assistant editor)
Eric Hodges (assistant editor)
Frederick Lewis (music arranger: Tchaikovsky excerpt)
Muir Mathieson (musical director)
Roman Goul (technical advisor)
Maxwell Wray (associate director for dialog)
based on the novel "Without Armour" by James Hilton

Length:
107 Minutes

Production:
Late July - November 1936, Denham Studios, England

Premiere:
2 September 1937, Cinéma Avenue, Paris