6.9/10
935
21 user 9 critic

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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 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
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 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
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
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
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, Egypt to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Grenadier Guards Captain John Fellowes prepares for the Trooping the Colour ceremony and reminisces about his years at Sandhurst Military Academy as well as his family's dramatic life.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Daniel Massey, Raymond Massey, Robert Stephens
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 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
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 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 movie of both newsreel and ... See full summary »

Directors: Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Conrad Veidt ... Capt. Andersen
Valerie Hobson ... Mrs. Sorensen
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)
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!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Danish

Release Date:

29 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackout See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

GBP47,000 (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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in November 1939. 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 Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Good film, no surprise, considering the talent
16 February 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Contraband" is a Powell/Pressburger collaboration, and a lot of the techniques they use are reminiscent of later films, such as the 49th Parallel and "The Red Shoes."

The story concerns a Dane, Captain Anderson (Conrad Veidt) on a freighter that is stopped for inspection by a British warship. He asks for passes for himself and his first officer, but when he is ready to leave, he finds that the passes have been stolen by two passengers, Mrs. Sorenson (Valerie Hobson) and Mr. Pidgeon (Esmond Knight). He rows to shore and finds Mrs. Sorenson and decides to stick to her like glue. Before long he's involved with a German spy ring.

This is a good film with both Veidt and Hobson giving wonderful performances. They have good chemistry and the script gives them the opportunity for some repartee.

The background of the movie is interesting. One message was to to elicit compassion from the Scandinavians, as they emerge here as the heroes. Obviously it was before Denmark was invaded, and the British hoped to have their help.

The last scenes are quite exciting. This doesn't come up to a 39 Steps but it's still enjoyable.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed