Synopsis by Craig Butler
Based upon a much-filmed play by Michael Morton (which may in turn have been based upon a story by Frank Harris, The Yellow Ticket is also an indirect descendant of the opera La Tosca. In pre-Revolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant girl named Marya Kalish (played by Elissa Landi) has reason to believe that her poor father is dying in St. Petersburg. She wishes to visit him, but the only way she can obtain passage is through disguising herself and obtaining a yellow ticket -- a pass that will mark her as a woman of low repute. Once in St. Petersburg, she discovers that her father has died. She also encounters the sinister Baron Andrey (Lionel Barrymore), head of the Czar's secret police, who comes to have designs upon her. She, however, develops an interest in British journalist Julian Rolphe (Laurence Olivier). She tells Rolphe the truth about life for most people in Russia, and his stories begin to change in tone, becoming critical and unflattering. This does not escape the attention of the secret police, who attempt to imprison the journalist. Meanwhile, Baron Andrey tells Marya that he will give her his own card with which she may travel, thereby eliminating the stigma and the difficulties that the yellow ticket presents. This is actually just a ploy to lure her into his clutches, and when he makes a move on her, she shoots him. Rescuing Rolphe, the two lovers flee via an airplane as Austria invades the country. Yellow Ticket features Olivier's second U.S. appearance, as well as Boris Karloff in a small role as a drunken orderly.
against-the-system, Britain, chief, city, Czar, death, escape, expose [revelation], father, government, identification, journalism, Judaism, killing, love, lover, native, newspaper, officer, oppression, peasant, police, prison, prostitute/prostitution, Russia, secret-police, secrets, sinister, ticket, traveling, visit, writing, dye, sting [scam]