|Directed by||Michael Powell|
|Screenplay by||Emeric Pressburger|
|Story by||Emeric Pressburger|
|Produced by||John Corfield|
|Starring|| Conrad Veidt |
|Edited by||John Seabourne|
|Music by|| Richard Addinsell |
|92 minutes (UK)|
80 minutes (U.S.)
|Box office||1,385,365 admissions (France) |
Contraband (1940) is a wartime spy film by the British director-writer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which reunited stars Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson after their earlier appearance in The Spy in Black the previous year. On this occasion, Veidt plays a hero, something he did not do very often, and there is also an early (uncredited) performance by Leo Genn.
The title of the film in the United States was Blackout. Powell writes in his autobiography, A Life in Movies, as saying that the U.S. renaming was a better title and he wished he had thought of it.
It is November 1939: the Phoney War-stage of the World War II. Denmark is still neutral, but (Danish) Captain Andersen (Conrad Veidt) and his freighter Helvig are stopped in the English Channel by Lt. Commanders Ashton (Joss Ambler) and Ellis (Harold Warrender) for a cargo inspection in a British Contraband Control Port.
He receives two shore passes for himself and his First Officer Axel Skold (Hay Petrie) to dine with Ashton and Ellis, but the passes (and Helvig's motorboat) are stolen by passengers Mrs. Sorensen (Valerie Hobson) and talent scout Mr. Pidgeon (Esmond Knight). From a cut-out newspaper train schedule, Andersen is able to figure out they are taking a train to London and catches up with them; but, when the train arrives in the blacked-out metropolis, he is only able to hold on to Mrs. Sorensen.
He invites her to dine at the restaurant of Skold's brother Erik (also Hay Petrie). Then she takes him to the home of her aunt, where they are captured by a Nazi spy ring led by Van Dyne (Raymond Lovell), a man Mrs. Sorensen has already had unpleasant dealings with in Düsseldorf, Germany. Van Dyne knows Mrs. Sorensen and Pidgeon are British agents. Van Dyne finds a message hidden on one of Mrs. Sorensen's cigarette papers, identifying her as "M47" and listing the names of neutral ships under which two German vessels are traveling. He decides to replace one of the names with that of an American ship to cause trouble, the United States being neutral at this time. Mrs. Sorensen and Andersen are tied up, but the captain manages to escape. He brings back reinforcements in the form of Erik Skold's staff and is able to free Mrs. Sorensen and knock out Van Dyne. With everything cleared up, Capt. Andersen and Mrs. Sorensen resume their sea voyage.
Contraband was intended as a followup to Powell and Pressburger's The Spy in Black , which was filmed at the end of 1938, but was not released by Alexander Korda for almost a year.  The current film was in production from 16 December 1939 through 27 January 1940  at Denham Film Studios, with location shooting in London at Chester Square in Belgravia, and in Ramsgate in Kent.  
The TV Guide online review called it "An odd little comic thriller - who, except perhaps Michael Powell, would cast 47-year-old Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) star Conrad Veidt as a light romantic hero?" 
Time Out wrote that "Less stylish than The Spy in Black, this espionage thriller is more fun, with its tongue-in-cheek plot revelling in Hitchcockian eccentricities". Radio Times describes it as "A neat Second World War espionage thriller that depicts a London crawling with spies".
Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews had mixed feelings, giving it a grade of B-. "The brisk pace and its added touches of quaintness, made the film endearing in spite[ sic ] of the lack of any character study and the one-dimensional tone of the villains." However, he wondered "how much better a more romantically inclined hero would have fared in his [Veidt's] role." 
The Red Shoes is a 1948 British drama film written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It follows Victoria Page, a ballerina who joins the world renowned Ballet Lermontov, owned and operated by Boris Lermontov, who tests her dedication to the ballet by making her choose between her career and a romance with composer Julian Craster.
Babette Louisa Valerie Hobson was a British actress whose film career spanned the 1930s to the early 1950s. Her second husband was John Profumo, a British government minister who became the subject of the Profumo affair in 1963.
Michael Latham Powell was an English filmmaker, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company The Archers, they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.
A Canterbury Tale is a 1944 British film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger starring Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price and Sgt. John Sweet; Esmond Knight provided narration and played two small roles. For the post-war American release, Raymond Massey narrated and Kim Hunter was added to the film. The film was made in black and white, and was the first of two collaborations between Powell and Pressburger and cinematographer Erwin Hillier.
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-British film director, producer and screenwriter, who founded his own film production studios and film distribution company.
The year 1940 in film involved some significant events, including the premieres of the Walt Disney films Pinocchio and Fantasia.
Hans Walter Conrad Veidt was a German film actor who attracted early attention for his roles in the films Different from the Others (1919), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and The Man Who Laughs (1928). After a successful career in German silent films, where he was one of the best-paid stars of UFA, he and his new Jewish wife Ilona Prager were forced to leave Germany in 1933 after the Nazis came to power. The couple settled in Britain, where he took British citizenship in 1939. He appeared in many British films, including The Thief of Bagdad (1940), before emigrating to the United States around 1941, which led to his being cast in what may be his best remembered role as Major Strasser in Casablanca (1942). This was his last film role to be released during Veidt's lifetime.
The Tales of Beatrix Potter is a 1971 ballet film based on the children's stories of English author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. The film was directed by Reginald Mills, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, and featured dancers from The Royal Ballet. The musical score was arranged by John Lanchbery from various sources, such as the operas of Michael Balfe and of Sir Arthur Sullivan, and performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. It was produced by Richard Goodwin with John Brabourne as executive producer. The stories were adapted by Goodwin and his wife designer Christine Edzard.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is a 1943 British romantic drama war film written, produced and directed by the British film making team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It stars Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr and Anton Walbrook. The title derives from the satirical Colonel Blimp comic strip by David Low, but the story itself is original. The film has been acclaimed as the greatest British movie ever made and is renowned for its sophistication and directorial brilliance as well as for its script, the performances of its large cast and for its pioneering Technicolor cinematography. Among its distinguished company of actors, particular praise has been reserved for Livesey, Walbrook, and Kerr.
The British film-making partnership of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988)—together often known as The Archers, the name of their production company—made a series of influential films in the 1940s and 1950s. Their collaborations—24 films between 1939 and 1972—were mainly derived from original stories by Pressburger with the script written by both Pressburger and Powell. Powell did most of the directing while Pressburger did most of the work of the producer and also assisted with the editing, especially the way the music was used. Unusually, the pair shared a writer-director-producer credit for most of their films. The best-known of these are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951).
The Spy in Black is a 1939 British film, and the first collaboration between the British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. They were brought together by Alexander Korda to make the World War I spy thriller novel of the same title by Joseph Storer Clouston into a film. Powell and Pressburger eventually made over 20 films during the course of their partnership.
One of Our Aircraft Is Missing is a 1942 British black-and-white war film, mainly set in the German-occupied Netherlands. It was the fourth collaboration between the British writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the first film they made under the banner of The Archers.
Blackout(s) may refer to:
Esma Ellen Charlotte Littmann, credited as Esme or Esma Cannon, was a diminutive Australian-born character actress and comedian, who moved to Britain in the early 1930s. Although she frequently appeared on television in her latter years, Cannon is best remembered as a film actress, with a lengthy career in British productions from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Esmond Penington Knight was an English actor. He had a successful stage and film career before World War II. For much of his later career Knight was half-blind. He had been badly wounded in 1941 while on active service on board HMS Prince of Wales when she fought the Bismarck at the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and remained totally blind for two years, though he later regained some sight in his right eye.
The Thief of Bagdad is a 1940 British Technicolor historical fantasy film, produced by Alexander Korda and directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger and Tim Whelan, with additional contributions by William Cameron Menzies and Korda brothers Vincent and Zoltán. The film stars teen actor Sabu, Conrad Veidt, John Justin, and June Duprez. It was released in the US and the UK by United Artists.
David Hay Petrie was a Scottish actor noted for playing eccentric characters, among them Quilp in The Old Curiosity Shop (1934), the McLaggen in The Ghost Goes West (1935) and Uncle Pumblechook in Great Expectations (1946).
The Hour Before the Dawn is a 1944 American drama war film directed by Frank Tuttle starring Franchot Tone and Veronica Lake. It was based on the 1942 novel by W. Somerset Maugham.
Hintertreppe is a 1921 silent film. This was the first movie by German director Leopold Jessner, in cooperation with Paul Leni. Carl Mayer specifically wrote this for Leopold Jessner, who would go on to direct Erdgeist (1923). Hintertreppe was a precursor of the 1920s German kammerspielfilm style.
The Spy in Black is a 1917 spy thriller novel by the British writer J. Storer Clouston. It takes place near Scapa Flow in the Orkneys during the First World War. It was one of several thrillers he wrote along with The Man from the Clouds and Beastmark the Spy.