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Blackout (1940)

Contraband (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 29 November 1940 (USA)
Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director:

Michael Powell

Writers:

Emeric Pressburger (original story & screenplay), Michael Powell (scenario) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Conrad Veidt ... Capt. Andersen
Valerie Hobson ... Mrs. Sorensen
Hay Petrie Hay Petrie ... Axel Skold / Erik Skold
Joss Ambler Joss Ambler ... Lt. Cmdr. Ashton, RNR
Raymond Lovell Raymond Lovell ... Van Dyne
Esmond Knight ... Mr. Pidgeon
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Hendrick
Phoebe Kershaw Phoebe Kershaw ... Miss Lang
Harold Warrender Harold Warrender ... Lt. Cmdr. Ellis, RN
John Longden ... Passport Officer
Eric Maturin Eric Maturin ... Passport Officer
Paddy Browne Paddy Browne ... Singer in 'Regency'
Henry Wolston Henry Wolston ... First Danish Waiter
Julian Vedey Julian Vedey ... Second Danish Waiter
Sidney Monckton Sidney Monckton ... Third Danish Waiter (as Sydney Moncton)
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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!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Danish

Release Date:

29 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackout See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£47,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

British National Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Alternate Versions

Eight minutes were cut from Contraband for its U.S. release; some just snips here and there, others more major. The most regrettable loss is the opening minutes of Veidt's and Hobson's table scene at the Three Vikings Restaurant, which in the U.S. version begins at the point when Veidt and Hobson begin drinking together and look at Veidt's watch. Another cut sequence shows black male dancers and white female dancers in a nightclub production number [The "White Negro" cabaret designed & executed by Hedley Briggs], a racial combination that would have outraged much of white America at the time, especially in the Southern states. See more »

Connections

References Spies (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A Suave Continental leading man?
15 August 2012 | by bkoganbingSee 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.


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