Up 35,311 this week

Blackout (1940)
"Contraband" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
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 »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.00 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 23 Oct 2010
a list of 44 titles
created 02 May 2011
a list of 48 titles
created 04 Sep 2011
a list of 29 titles
created 19 Aug 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Blackout" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Blackout (1940)

Blackout (1940) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Blackout.



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw
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
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 1943 England, 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
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
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young factory worker decides to stand up against his work-mates and fellow union members when they want to hold a wildcat strike.

Director: Guy Green
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Pier Angeli, Michael Craig
Night Ambush (1957)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    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 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A beautiful British intelligence agent attempts to reveal the identity and motives of a powerful German spy during World War 1.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Constance Bennett, Erich von Stroheim, Anthony Bushell
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Unemployed car salesman Peter is encouraged by his girlfriend Cynthia to approach the head of a petrol company with his plan for making petrol stations more attractive to customers. When ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Ian Hunter, Nancy O'Neil, Peter Gawthorne


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 »


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 »


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


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Suave Continental leading man?
15 August 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When Contraband came out in November of 1940 Denmark had been invaded and occupied for several months. If there was a pretense of neutrality before, there was none now as the Danes were forced to be allied with the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth. Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson star in the Powell/Pressburger spy thriller done in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock. Lots of resemblance with Hitch's classic The 39 Steps.

Veidt is a Danish sea captain who is not real happy about being neutral and the risks it imposes on people like him trying to earn a living transporting trade goods. After a British inspection of his ship, two passengers fly the coop with his ship's log and landing clearances. One of them is Valerie Hobson and Veidt makes an unauthorized landing of his own to apprehend Hobson and her partner.

Soon enough he's up to his Danish ears in all kinds of intrigue concerning smuggling. He and Hobson pair off well, very much like Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in The 39 Steps. Veidt who was known in America primarily for those smooth villainous roles like The Thief of Bagdad, Escape, and Casablanca could easily have transitioned to an all purpose continental leading man like Charles Boyer had be immigrated to America in time of peace.

It's not a Hitchcock like classic. But Contraband was a film pleasing enough to British audiences back in the day.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
On the Big Screen! MissMcCrocodile
Toast paul_hutschemaekers
Deborah Kerr dan-2288
Canteen Con atlasmb
Illogical? Charlot47
Discuss Blackout (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: