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Scarlet Dawn

(1932 b 58')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel Revolt by Mary McCall Jr., a Russian baron flees the revolution with his devoted servant.

Nikita (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and other officers on the train to Moscow joke about women and toast the Czar, who has recently reviewed his troops and denied revolution. Nikita comes home and is welcomed by the embrace of Vera (Lilyan Tashman). He spends his leave partying at night with women. With Communists demonstrating, soldiers refuse to get on the trains and shoot at their officers. Nikita fights the revolutionaries and then changes clothes to pass himself off as a worker. He makes a claim on his property, but revolutionary soldiers take him to be identified by a servant. Tanyusha (Nancy Carroll) says she knows him but does not reveal who he is. Nikita and Tanyusha flee in the back-seat of a car, as he trades jewelry for the ride. His goods taken, they are thrown out and have to walk. She follows him as a servant but insists on making her own bed of branches.

In Constantinople (Istanbul) Nikita gets a room by loaning his last possessions. He gives Tanyusha a dress and says they are getting married. The priest requires two witnesses. Nikita finds a Muslim, who refuses, and then a man and a woman who hold the crowns over their heads as they are wed. Nikita explains to Tanyusha the clinking of a toast as for the fifth sense of hearing. One morning he wakes up and wants to call Vera, forgetting where he is. Nikita works washing dishes and hopes to become a waiter. Tanyusha says she found a job cleaning in the hospital. Promoted to busboy, Nikita meets Vera, who invites him to Paris to join the monarchists. Nikita tells Tanyusha he is leaving for a new opportunity, and she helps him pack, fainting after he left. Vera gets some imitation pearls for Nikita to sell as the Krasnoff necklace to a wealthy American. He writes to Tanyusha, but the letter is thrown away. At a party Nikita has qualms, but Vera tells him the Turks are deporting unemployed Russians. He offers the necklace to Marjorie, and she says her father will buy it; but Nikita throws it away as a fake, saying good-bye to Vera. He looks for Tanyusha, who is apparently pregnant and has gone away. Nikita throttles an officer, is arrested, and deported. While boarding the ship he sees Tanyusha; she faints again, and in the final scene he carries her toward the boat.

Thus an aristocrat gets to learn another side of life. Yet he finds happiness in love with his former servant. After having given away the real necklace, he rejects Vera's trickery to get money. Although their future appears uncertain, Nikita and Tanyusha are happy to be re-united.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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