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Blackout (1940)
"Contraband" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 637 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 9 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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Edit

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
John Longden ...
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
Edit

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

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 »

Quotes

Lt. Cmdr. Ashton, RNR: We've seized your cargo. It's contraband.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Spies (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

Danish Song
(uncredited)
Written by John Greenwood
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Complete blackout
26 May 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Conrad Veidt (Captain Andersen) is the skipper of a Danish boat that has been intercepted by the British and brought to dock in England while the cargo is processed. An overnight stay is required before he can proceed. He is also carrying passengers and he makes it his business that they do not abscond overnight. His mission is to deliver his cargo and not to lose any passengers. This, above all else. Well, Valerie Hobson (Mrs Sorensen) and Esmond Knight (Mr Pidgeon) have other plans, and duly abscond. Veidt has one night to track them down and ensure that they are back on his ship when it is due to sail in the morning.

This film has an alternate title of "Blackout" and it's very significant seeing that you can't see what's going on during several scenes. It's a shame because it's an engaging spy story. Conrad Veidt is excellent in the lead – he is very much his own man, and manages to draw some humour out of his arrogant portrayal making him likable. He is loyal to his principles and that is to be admired. He gets some funny dialogue as well as throwing in some nice touches such as when he rows ashore to begin his chase, and he keeps repeating the name of Mr Pidgeon. With each pull of the oar we hear "Mr Pidgeon". It's funny and you know that it is really annoying him! However, set against this, the film is marred by silly comedy sections that always seem to include Hay Petrie in a dual role of brothers. The film really did not need him, yet alone two of him. Aaargh. Lose points for that, I'm afraid.

You can tell that this is a fun, spy story with some tense moments. However, the tension is taken away because you can't see the blasted thing and there is way too much comedy.


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