I won't say much about DEAD OF NIGHT, as any one who will be buying this set knows how extraordinary & ahead of it's time that film is. Needless to say, the Michael Redgrave segment is the best of a good bunch, with even the 'lighter' stories offering excellent viewing.
It's the QUEEN OF SPADES that proved the surprise to me - I had never seen this film, relagating it to 'second fiddle' after DEAD OF NIGHT, when it does in fact hold it's own remarkably well.
Slow moving, but to it's benefit, the story see's Anton Walbrook, a German engineer in the Russian army, envious of the wealth & title that are automatically bestowed upon his comrades. After learning that a Russian noblewoman posesses the secret of winning at cards, he manipulates her lady-in-waiting to gain access to this secret. things go slightly awray and although he gains the secret, the aged noblewoman dies of fright.
This part of the story takes up most of the film, with the 'haunting' of the engineer forming the final act.
Although lacking any actual 'horror', this film has a definate atmosphere of unease and of meddling with things that should be left alone. Superb performances again, with the key being the utter conviction of the cast.
A film like this could not be made today, which makes it all the more important that productions like this and DEAD OF NIGHT should be cherished by fans of what the term 'horror film' really means as opposed to what it was eventually twisted into in the '80's & '90's.