Blackout (1940)
"Contraband" (original title)

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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?


Michael Powell's golden cocker spaniels Erik and Spangle make their first appearance on film at the house of the aunt of Mrs. Sorensen. See more »


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 »


References Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) See more »


Canteen Con
Music by Richard Addinsell
Lyrics by Paddy Browne
Sung by Paddy Browne
See more »

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User Reviews

Marvelous light-hearted spy adventure
12 April 2000 | by (Boulder, Colorado, USA) – See all my reviews

The plot is well paced and fun, although a bit convoluted. But, Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson are the hidden pleasures in this film. She's beautiful and witty. He's tall (very), handsome, and debonaire. Together they're very sexy: their relationship here is reminiscent of that of William Powell and Myrna Loy in the Thin Man and Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North-By-Northwest. The scene in which they break the bonds in which the villains have tied them is wonderfully erotic. Above all, Contraband demonstrates how film makers (outside of Powell and Pressberger) missed the boat in not taking advantage of Veidt's sophisticated persona, understated acting skills, and comedic flair.

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