April 19, 2012
This one is an adaptation of the Alexander Pushkin short story. I've updated the story to take place in modern times, but kept much of the core plot intact (for now).
A reserved soldier who never gambles hears a story while watching his company play cards. The story is of a beautiful woman, who 60 years ago lost a fortune at cards, then won it back with the help of a secret strategy. The next day the soldier is wounded by an IED; while in and out of consciousness, he is haunted by visions of the woman and her cards.
Sent home to NY to recover, the soldier receives an invitation from a friend in the army (the same friend who told the story). The invitation is to a charity gala for fallen soldiers, hosted by the friend’s grandmother—the woman from the story. Each day before the gala, the soldier watches the estate from afar, haunted by the story of the old woman and her secret. The day before the gala he observes a young and beautiful housemaid through the window, and decides to seduce her in order to gain her confidence, and learn the old woman's strategy.
At the gala, the soldier is celebrated for his bravery. He charms the housemaid; they dance, and at the end of the night he slips her a letter. Over the coming weeks they engage in a growing love affair via secret letters. Eventually she arranges for him to sneak inside the estate late at night while she is away with the old woman, and wait in her room until she returns. When night arrives the soldier sneaks in, but instead hides in the old woman’s closet. When she arrives, he emerges intent on extracting her secret, but the sight of him frightens her to death. The housemaid witnesses the betrayal and is heartbroken.
The soldier attends the old woman’s funeral. The housemaid sees him there, and thinking he has come to reconcile, is destroyed when she realizes he has only come to see the old woman’s dead body. The soldier steps to her coffin and looks in; the old woman appears to wink at him. That night he is consumed by fever dreams of immense wealth, and visions of three blank cards. He awakes and is shocked to see the old woman, who tells him her secret on the condition he marries the housemaid.
Ignoring the old woman’s wishes, the soldier withdraws all his money from the bank and takes it to an underground, high stakes casino. There he wagers all his money on the strategy, three successive bets, against a champion gambler. He wins the first two bets, but loses the third. The losing card, the Queen of Spades, appears to wink at him like the old woman did. The loss of all his money, so suddenly and in such strange circumstances, drives the soldier insane.