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Blackout (1940)
"Contraband" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 719 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 10 critic

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

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(original story & screenplay), (scenario), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Andersen
...
Mrs.Sorensen
Hay Petrie ...
Axel Skold / Erik Skold
Joss Ambler ...
Lt. Cmdr. Ashton, RNR
Raymond Lovell ...
Van Dyne
...
Mr.Pidgeon
Charles Victor ...
Hendrick
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
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Storyline

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 <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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!

Genres:

Adventure | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blackout  »

Box Office

Budget:

£47,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British destroyer shown several times early in the movie, marked with the hull number "H11", was HMS Basilisk. She was sunk by air attack off Dunkirk on 1 June 1940. See more »

Quotes

Captain Anderson: The bigger the ship, the smaller the adventure. The smaller the ship, the bigger the adventure. But you wouldn't understand that. Because you have childish ideas about life. Because like so many women you live only for little excitements like, er...
Mrs.Sorensen: Like what?
Captain Anderson: Well, like going out every night, somewhere new, somebody new. Right?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Spies (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
An Enjoyable Wartime Cat-and-mouse Intrigue
18 January 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Contraband" has been frequently compared to the works of Hitchcock, which is no surprise. There is an air of suspense and danger as the two main characters, Captain Andersen (Conrad Veidt) and Mrs. Sorensen (Valerie Hobson), traverse a British city in the darkness of a wartime blackout. The viewer is asked to accompany them, never quite knowing what forces are at play or who are the "good guys". The film also feels a little like "Casablanca", with shadowy, nefarious forces at work while the couple is drawn together emotionally.

Also, like Hitchcock, there is a very playful side to the action. The manners of society are observed while threatening subtexts are played out. Andersen and Sorensen, likewise--in the early part of the film--play a cat-and-mouse game that is enjoyable to watch.

The mechanics of the plot don't seem to matter much, like one of Hitchcock's McGuffins, and the photography seems more about style than substance. Filmed in B&W, of course, the story slinks in and out of darkened passageways, foggy ports and backrooms.

This film is a lot of fun to watch, especially if one just enjoys the action without trying to decipher the finer points of the intrigue.


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