Michael Curtiz directs Kay Francis and Leslie Howard in this tale of romance and revolution in Russia. Touted at the time of its release as most expensive picture yet produced by the studio, Curtiz does not allow the sweep and spectacle to overwhelm the very human drama that lies at the heart of the film. It is 1917 and the Russian Revolution is sweeping the country. Elena (Francis) has dedicated her life to the Cause as personified by Lenin. But during a street riot her life is saved by Stephen Locke (Howard), an unofficial diplomatic agent for England. The two, although dedicated to opposing causes, fall for each other. But Elena learns that Locke is wanted by the secret police for his revolutionary activities and she is ordered to obtain evidence of Locke's scheming. She does so--although she knows this will condemn him to death. One of Kay Francis' greatest performances in film, aided by a string of character greats.
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