Knight Without Armor (1937)

99 or 105 mins | Romance | 23 July 1937

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HISTORY

According to the initial Var review, this was the first picture set during the Russian Revolution to depict what actually occurred. The NYT review notes that the James Hilton novel had been considerably abridged for the screen. According to a NYT article, Hilton adapted his novel to the screen and enlarged the romantic interest so that Marlene Dietrich would play the female role. Contemporary sources indicate that production was delayed for two months because of the long illness of Robert Donat. According to modern sources, enormous time and expense were spent on authentic sets and costume. The resulting budget of $350,000 prevented the film from making a profit, and Korda was unable to pay Dietrich her full salary. The NYT review commented on the smooth fusion of diverse international talents in the production: Englishmen Robert Donat and James Hilton, German Marlene Dietrich, Belgian Jacques Feyder, American Frances Marion, and Hungarian Alexander Korda. Modern sources include Asst dir Adam Dawson; Asst ed Eric Hodges; and Sd tech M. M. Paggi in the production; and Lisa d'Esterre ( Czarina ) and Paul O'Brien in the ... More Less

According to the initial Var review, this was the first picture set during the Russian Revolution to depict what actually occurred. The NYT review notes that the James Hilton novel had been considerably abridged for the screen. According to a NYT article, Hilton adapted his novel to the screen and enlarged the romantic interest so that Marlene Dietrich would play the female role. Contemporary sources indicate that production was delayed for two months because of the long illness of Robert Donat. According to modern sources, enormous time and expense were spent on authentic sets and costume. The resulting budget of $350,000 prevented the film from making a profit, and Korda was unable to pay Dietrich her full salary. The NYT review commented on the smooth fusion of diverse international talents in the production: Englishmen Robert Donat and James Hilton, German Marlene Dietrich, Belgian Jacques Feyder, American Frances Marion, and Hungarian Alexander Korda. Modern sources include Asst dir Adam Dawson; Asst ed Eric Hodges; and Sd tech M. M. Paggi in the production; and Lisa d'Esterre ( Czarina ) and Paul O'Brien in the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
17 Oct 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Jul 37
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 37
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Jun 37
p. 58
New York Times
7-Feb-37
---
New York Times
9 Jul 37
p. 18.
Variety
16 Jun 37
p. 13.
Variety
14 Jul 37
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Alexander Korda Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Assoc dir for dial
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Dial and scen
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst photog
ART DIRECTORS
Settings des by
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Without Armor by James Hilton (New York, 1934).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 July 1937
Production Date:
at Denham Studios, England
Copyright Claimant:
London Film Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
21 July 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7290
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99 or 105
Length(in reels):
11
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
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 ... +


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. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.