Knight Without Armour


Adventure / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.8


Downloaded 265 times
1/6/2021 9:08:09 PM

100 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7

Knight Without Armour finds Robert Donat as a British agent, fluent in Russian, sent to spy on the revolutionary movement even before World War I started. Such things were done I&#39;m sure as farsighted folks in the Foreign Office probably saw Europe headed for general war and Russia would have been the United Kingdom&#39;s ally in that case.<br/><br/>Donat plays his part all too well, he&#39;s captured as a revolutionary and sent to Siberia and spends most of World War I there. Whatever else it does it certainly helps his cover. The original revolution that brought Kerensky to power frees the political prisoners and Donat now has to try and make his way home.<br/><br/>In a parallel story aristocrat Marlene Dietrich gets the shock of her life when one day she wakes up and her servants have fled because the Russian Revolution has come to town. From hero{ine} to zero overnight, she&#39;s got to get out of a country that&#39;s now shooting her kind on general principles.<br/><br/>They become allies of convenience and of course the shared experience of escape forges a romance as well. Both turn out to be pretty clever at taking advantages of breaks as they are captured a couple of times during the film.<br/><br/>Robert Donat was one of the few of her leading men to not fall under Dietrich&#39;s amorous sway. But they became good friends and according to a recent biography of Marlene, Dietrich helped Donat with a special breathing technique she learned about to help control his asthma. Donat suffered from asthma all his life and it eventually killed him.<br/><br/>The film is based on a lesser known work of British novelist James Hilton who also wrote Random Harvest and Lost Horrizon and of course Goodbye Mr. Chips for which Donat won his Academy Award for. It seems as though Hilton wrote his books with either Robert Donat or Ronald Colman in mind for the screen, they played his heroes so well.<br/><br/>On screen Knight Without Armour suits the images and talents of Robert Donat and Marlene Dietrich well and fans of both will appreciate it.

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Reviewed by ormolu 10

Hardly ever seen on TV or cable, this sweeping spectacle is a rare but welcome opportunity to see Marlene at the height of her powers as a star. Sadly, good prints seem to be rare. We saw it on a slightly scratchy VHS cassette we bought used on the internet but it brought back wonderful memories and its attention to period Russian detail is truly great. After a while the film overcame its physical limitations (in the print). The Russian atmosphere is superior to that in Dr. Zhivago, which seems flat and two dimensional in many ways. <br/><br/>The first appearance of Alexandra at the races in England, her departure by train for Russia, her presentation at court in a procession of girls in white presentation gowns and Russian headdresses--all perfectly detailed--to Nicholas and Alexandra, (&quot;Lucky devil&quot;, a court lady says of her fiancé, &quot;he is the most stupid officer at court and she is the smartest girl&quot;), the attempted assassination of her father in her wedding procession across a bridge in St. Petersburg, her taking tea alone at the gardens of the neoclassical Adraxin country estate, served by a procession of servants and then waking up and finding the servants have deserted, the Revolution having begun, are all extremely beautifully done. True to 1930&#39;s convention, her makeup is never out of place, except in one scene when peasants capture her in her gauzy nightgown and negligee.<br/><br/>Robert Donat is a perfect foil to her elegance, dashing and always the epitome of 1930s savoir faire. His scenes as a prisoner in Siberia are also very well done. <br/><br/>All in all a great 1930&#39;s adventure of the highest style. They will never make another one like this! Jacques Feyder was a great director and his use of Marlene is equal to von Sternberg&#39;s. Bravo Countess Adraxin! Another great and sadly overlooked star vehicle for La Dietrich!

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Reviewed by chrisart7 9

One truly cares about the characters in &quot;Knight Without Armour&quot; (1937) (which at present is only available on Region 4 DVD---officially, that is). John Clements almost steals the film with a role that is little more than a cameo, but superbly acted. One can see how this part led to his being cast as the lead in &quot;The Four Feathers&quot; (1939), the very best motion picture produced by Alexander Korda and released by London Films, and one of the best movies of all time. Other character actors such as Miles Malleson also do memorable bits.<br/><br/>This atypical role for Marlene Dietrich---a truly vulnerable, feminine character, though noble and glamorous---is superbly realised by the German actress, here playing a Russian countess. Robert Donat, excellent as always, is the lead, an Englishman travelling incognito in Russia before, during, and after the Revolution.<br/><br/>There is one scene early in the film which is an interesting reversal of a portion of &quot;Battleship Potemkin&quot;&#39;s Odessa Steps sequence: in &quot;Potemkin&quot; the &quot;White&quot; Cossacks, a faceless, cruelly efficient horde simultaneously gun down a &quot;Red&quot; woman who tries to appeal to them for mercy for her dying child. In &quot;Knight Without Armour&quot; a horde of Reds trudge en masse across the palatial estate of &quot;White&quot; Countess Alexandra, played by Marlene Dietrich. The scene in which she encounters the unsympathetic, destructive mob on her great lawn, and the momentary lull before they act, is unmistakably a comment upon &quot;Potemkin&quot; and its pro-Red propaganda. <br/><br/>American audiences may find the various, regional British accents of the Russian characters a bit jarring. Filmed during the height of the Depression, this is a great lovers-on-the-run film with a world-falling-apart backdrop, irresistible entertainment in any era. Find this one! Used VHS copies are easily had. Miklos Rozsa&#39;s score, one of his first for film, has the same warmth and pathos that embodies most of his splendid catalog of work.

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