Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and ... See full summary »
Australian famer Kit Kelly and his new bride Anna are driving through Europe when they help a stranded motorist. They discover he is Antonio, a famous dancer. Upon learning that Anna was a ... See full summary »
"Die Fledermaus" (The Bat) is the pseudonym adopted by Dr Falke. Floating on the buoyant waltzes of Strauss, this Viennese romp is sure to please. Disguises, tricks and every kind of ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
"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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