Scarlet Dawn

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Scarlet Dawn
Poster - Scarlet Dawn 01.jpg
Directed by William Dieterle
Produced by Hal B. Wallis (uncredited)
Written by Mary C. McCall, Jr. (novel)
Niven Busch
Erwin S. Gelsey
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (uncredited contribution to dialogue)
StarringDouglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Nancy Carroll
Release date
  • November 2, 1932 (1932-11-02)
Running time
57-60 minutes
CountryUnited States

Scarlet Dawn is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic drama directed by William Dieterle and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Nancy Carroll as refugees from the Russian Revolution. It is based on the novel Revolt by Mary C. McCall, Jr.. [1]



When Russian revolutionaries overrun his country estate, Baron Nikita Krasnoff (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) barely escapes with his life by killing one of them and switching clothes. His story is suspicious, so the household servant Tanyusha (Nancy Carroll) is found and brought to identify him. To his surprise, she does not betray him, and they are released. He is even allowed to "loot" one of his own possessions, a sword with the fabulous Krasnoff pearl necklace hidden in a secret compartment in the scabbard.

Krasnoff sets off for Turkey; Tanyusha accompanies him, much to his puzzlement. To get past a checkpoint, they hide in a car. When they are discovered, Krasnoff offers to pay, exchanging a single strand of pearls at a time as their journey continues. When the couple falls asleep, the greedy car owner and his driver rob them and force them out of the vehicle. However, when the crooks try to run another checkpoint, they are killed by the guards. Krasnoff and Tanyusha continue on foot. The first night, Krasnoff tries to take advantage of his companion, but when she resists his advances, he desists. Eventually, they reach Constantinople, where Krasnoff gets a job as a dishwasher, while Tanyusha scrubs floors at a hospital. Krasnoff marries Tanyusha.

One day, restaurant patron Vera Zimina (Lilyan Tashman) is astonished to find her ex-lover Krasnoff working as a busboy. She enlists him for a moneymaking scheme. Tired of his wretched existence, Krasnoff goes off with Vera, telling his wife that he will send her money. However, his letters are intercepted by the landlady.

Vera has befriended the wealthy Mr. Murphy (Guy Kibbee). Krasnoff is assigned to romance Murphy's daughter Marjorie (Sheila Terry). Vera then gives Krasnoff an excellent imitation of the Krasnoff pearls to sell to the trusting Murphys. When he proves reluctant, she shows him a Turkish proclamation announcing that all unemployed Russians are to be deported back to the Soviet Union. It does not have the effect she intended though. Krasnoff, afraid that his wife will be sent back, confesses the truth to Marjorie and rushes off to find Tanyusha.

He cannot find her and is picked up by the Turkish police for deportation. He is reunited with Tanyusha, and together, they board the ship taking them to a grim future.



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  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: Scarlet Dawn; accessed July 22, 2015.
  2. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artist Collections at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.159 c.1978 by The American Film Institute