15 user 23 critic

The Spy in Black (1939)

Approved | | Thriller, War | 7 October 1939 (USA)
A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Blackout (1940)
Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Hay Petrie
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A way of life is dying on an Outer Hebridean island fishing port, but some of the inhabitants resist evacuating to the mainland.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Niall MacGinnis, Belle Chrystall, John Laurie
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood. She meets her father in a fancy restaurant to tell him that she will ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and ... See full summary »

Directors: Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Ian Hunter
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Margaret Leighton, Cyril Cusack
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three men case a small town very carefully, with plans to rob the bank on the upcoming Saturday, which turns violent and deadly.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Stephen McNally


Cast overview, first billed only:
The School Mistress
Marius Goring ...
Anne Burnett
Athole Stewart ...
The Rev. Hector Matthews
Agnes Lauchlan ...
Mrs. Matthews
Mrs. Sedley
Cyril Raymond ...
The Rev. John Harris
George Summers ...
Captain Ratter
Hay Petrie ...
Grant Sutherland ...
Bob Bratt
Robert Rendel ...
Mary Morris ...
Margaret Moffat ...
Kate (as Margaret Moffatt)


When a German U-Boat captain is sent on a spying mission to the North of Scotland during World War One, he finds more than he bargained for in his contact, the local schoolmistress. Written by Ian Harries <ih@doc.ic.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Enemy U-Boat commander sails under orders of death! Lovers trapped in the cruel inferno of war! See more »


Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Spy in Black  »

Box Office


£47,300 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film begins on Saturday March 17th 1917. See more »


There has never been a HMS Connaught in the British Navy. See more »


The Reverand John Harris: That medal ribbon. I don't seem to recognise it. What is it?
Captain Hardt: The Iron Cross... Second Class.
The Reverand John Harris: Second Class... then you must be a prisoner of war?
Captain Hardt: No.
[draws gun]
Captain Hardt: You are.
The Reverand John Harris: Oh dear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The distributor in the film's opening credits is shown as: KEY TO SUCCESS Key Films Distributors Ltd. presents See more »


Referenced in The World at War (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

early Powell and Pressburger classic
8 March 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Here, Conrad Veidt (looking lovely in this) and Valerie Hobson (a little stiff) team for the first time in an unusual war thriller cum romance which uses its locations, script, actors, and pace to great effect. Even if you don't particularly like war films, this has more going on that you'd think, and repays more than one viewing. As an early P&P it does have hints of some of the classics to come - probably a closest link to 49th Parallel. An atmospheric film which dared, on the brink of real-life war, to have a German soldier who you do sympathise with, even if he brings his misfortunes on himself.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Spy in Black (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: