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Blackout (1940)
"Contraband" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 765 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 10 critic

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



(original story & screenplay), (scenario), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hay Petrie ...
Axel Skold / Erik Skold
Joss Ambler ...
Lt. Cmdr. Ashton, RNR
Raymond Lovell ...
Van Dyne
Charles Victor ...
Phoebe Kershaw ...
Miss Lang
Harold Warrender ...
Lt. Cmdr. Ellis, RN
Passport Officer
Eric Maturin ...
Passport Officer
Paddy Browne ...
Singer in 'Regency'
Henry Wolston ...
First Danish Waiter
Julian Vedey ...
Second Danish Waiter
Sydney Moncton ...
Third Danish Waiter


This is the tale of life in a British port in the first year of World War II. Spies and smugglers abound in the blackout and unreal shore life of the "phoney war" (before the shooting started). Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stop that man and woman! His mission is deadlier than that of the enemy in the sky. Her beauty is a dangerous weapon of war!


Adventure | Romance


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blackout  »

Box Office


£47,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Michael Powell and the crew went on location to Ramsgate (Eastgate in the film), they sent all their luggage and equipment in cases boldly marked "Contraband". Luckily the local wartime Contraband Controllers saw the funny side and when they arrived at the hotel they found their cases had stamps and stencils all over them saying things like "Explosives", "Examined", "Condemned". See more »


Mrs.Sorensen: Did you ever try being married? That can be quite a big adventure.
Captain Anderson: [sighs] Why do women always say that? Marriage ends adventure.
Mrs.Sorensen: [copies sigh] Why do men always say that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"White Negro" caberet designed & executed by Hedley Briggs. See more »


References Spies (1928) See more »


Face in the Crowd
Music by Richard Addinsell
Lyrics by Nicholas Phipps
See more »

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User Reviews

A surprisingly good Hitchcockian style British thriller!
31 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I bought this movie because it was directed by Michael Powell, scripted by Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and starred Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson (a great important British director/producer/writer and two great stars). I knew this hailed from just before Powell & Pressburger hit their stride as THE ARCHERS. Boy, what a pleasant surprise; this is FIRST-RATE suspense/spy thriller which takes place in the early days of wartime Britian but before Pearl Harbor. It's about a Danish sea captain who's forced to follow two missing and suspicious passengers while his ship is being temporarily held by the British. What follows is a spy mystery through London during the days of Blackouts....and is ever bit as clever, amusing and suspenseful as any of Hitchcock's superb British sound films. I URGE you to check out this great and little seen British film classic.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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