7.0/10
796
20 user 10 critic

Blackout (1940)

Contraband (original title)
Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director:

Writers:

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

Watch Now

From $2.00 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC

Videos

Photos

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
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
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 Britain in 1943, 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
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Margaret Leighton, Cyril Cusack
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

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 »

Directors: Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez
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
Honeymoon (1959)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Anthony Steel, Ludmilla Tchérina, Antonio
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A re-editing of Gone to Earth (1950) after a disagreement and court case between director Michael Powell and producer David O. Selznick. Selznick's changes are mainly:- (1) Adding a ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
T-Men (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Wallace Ford, Alfred Ryder
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After a career criminal is recaptured and knows he faces the guillotine, he offers to exchange his life for 100 hostages slated for execution by the Nazis.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Paul Lukas, Lucile Watson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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
Sidney Monckton ...
Third Danish Waiter (as Sydney Moncton)
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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film that Deborah Kerr worked on. She played a cigarette girl in one of the nightclubs visited. But although she impressed everyone, her scene ended up on the cutting room floor. 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 Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Feeling their way in the London blackout, and towards each other
8 June 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This film, released both as CONTRABAND and as BLACKOUT, is a highly superior suspense and espionage film of the immediate pre-War period. The stars are Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson, and the chemistry between them is almost as good as that between Bogart and Bacall in CASABLANCA (1942, in which, by the way, Veidt also appeared). Little can anyone have realized when this film was made, but Veidt had very little time left to live. He dropped dead while playing golf in 1943 at the age of only 50. Veidt and his third wife, who was Jewish, fled Germany to escape the Nazis in 1933, and settled in England. Germany's loss was England and America's gain, for Veidt, as a famous German star, had an effortless magnetism and enormous talent on screen. He lent gravitas to many a shaky part. Here he plays a Danish ship's captain, thus excusing his accent, which was of course really a German one. But the English public had little familiarity with the Danes since the Danish Vikings departed several hundred years earlier, so they did not notice the difference. (Lots of very blond people in the north-east of England are what the Danish Vikings left behind.) In the film there is a large Danish restaurant called Viking in the middle of London, where people dress in white tie for dinner and eat lots of herrings and have exotic haute cuisine and excellent wines. I wonder if any such Scandinavian gastronomic outpost ever really existed in London at any time. For a passionate herring-lover like myself, if only! (The best way to cook a herring is Scottish-style. And I bet you don't get many recipes in IMDb reviews, but here goes. Dip it in milk, roll it in organic oatmeal, gently pan-fry it in a modicum of pheasant fat, or if you can't find any then use goose fat. Allow to become brown and crisp. After eating, skin and oats and all, have tranquillizers ready to help you recover from the ecstatic culinary experience. And that is enough food for today.) This film was made before Denmark was invaded by the Nazis, so there is a great deal of Danish patriotism on display, including all the waiters and the proprietor of the Viking joining up to help Veidt and singing a patriotic Danish song. Valerie Hobson plays Mrs. Soerensen, a British divorcée whose ex-husband is Danish. In reality, she is an intrepid British spy. Veidt's Danish ship on its way back to Denmark is diverted into harbour in Britain for contraband inspection, and Valerie Hobson and a spy accomplice steal Veidt's landing permits in order to make a dash for London on their secret business. Veidt is annoyed and chases after them, but has no British money with him, which means he cannot even pay for a taxi when he arrives in London. He and Hobson end up becoming entangled first in complex spy activities, being captured and tied up by Nazi spies in London, and then become romantically entangled as well because they are irresistibly attracted to one another. So the ingredient of romance, tinged with irony, runs through the action. Valerie Hobson really shines in this film. She was amazingly beautiful at that time and what is called 'an absolute charmer'. And she has the most intense bedroom eyes, to which Veidt is far from indifferent. This film featured a number of interesting early appearances and non-appearances. Deborah Kerr got her first job in a film playing a cigarette girl, but her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, which must have added to the attractiveness of the floor, if not to the elevation of the young actress's expectations. Leo Genn and Peter Bull, such sturdy stalwarts of the British film business over decades, appear in supporting roles. Countless of us knew Peter Bull from his astrology shop in Notting Hill Gate, where until his death in 1984, it was always amusing to go in and browse and engage him in conversation about all the old movies he had been in and hear his bombastic and witty exposes of the foibles of his colleagues and racy tales of calamities on the set and on location. He was never a shy person and relished being drolly gay. Bernard Miles fixes a pipe in this film and Milo O'Shea is an air raid warden, his first film appearance, and more fortunate than Deborah Kerr in that he was not cut out. The blackout scenes in London are very informative and interesting, being entirely accurate. One learns, for instance, that the traffic lights at night shone only through small crosses cut in the centres of the shades in front of the lights (this can be seen in a scene where Veidt and Hobson are crossing a street). The film is thus remarkably informative about the conditions of early wartime London, and thus has a considerable historical importance. For those who like shots of old naval ships, there are plenty of those to see steaming around. The snappy editing of this film is by John Seabourne, Senior, skills which were later to be used to heighten the eerie dramatic power of THE ROCKING HORSE WINNER (1949) in particular. He is certainly an under-appreciated talent of the period, who left the industry in 1959 (born in 1890, no date of death is recorded for him on IMDb) after editing 39 films, several of them classics such as I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (1945) and A CANTERBURY TALE (1944). This film was directed by the talented Michael Powell and the original story and screenplay are by his Romanian/Hungarian/Jewish collaborator Emeric Pressburger. They would go on to make together 49th PARALLEL (1941, see my review), several films with the editor John Seabourne, and would become world famous with THE RED SHOES (1948), along with countless other films which are fundamental to British cinema history.


5 of 5 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:
?