Contraband (1940) - Rotten Tomatoes

Contraband (1940)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Contraband Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The Danish freighter Helvig approaches English waters in early 1940 and, in keeping with the needs of British security, it is boarded by customs and naval officials in search of contraband cargo. Her skipper, Captain Anderson (Conrad Veidt), is compelled to ascede to British demands, but dreads the delay, pointing out that the medical supplies in his cargo are vital. Anderssen is a dedicated seaman, all business, even where Mrs. Sorenson (Valerie Hobson), a headstrong passenger, is concerned. Then, on their first night in port, Mrs. Sorenson and a Mr. Pidgeon (Esmond Knight) disappear from the ship with Anderson's landing papers, the captain is in hot pursuit. Forced to join the woman in what seems a mad chase across London by night, he plunges into an Alice-in-Wonderland world of the blacked out city, following a set of clues through the maze of darkened streets and uncover a Nazi spy ring operating out of a basement in Soho. Each also discovers that there's a lot to admire and even possibly to love in the other -- the challenge is for Hobson, who is something other than the divorcee and mother she pretends to be, to stay alive long enough for Captain Anderson to effect a rescue and prevent the German spies from turning the British counter-intelligence effort against the Allies. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Emeric Pressburger
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 24, 2001
Kino on Video


Conrad Veidt
as Capt. Anderson
Valerie Hobson
as Mrs. Sorenson
Hay Petrie
as Axel Skold/Erik Skol...
Joss Ambler
as Lieutenant Commander...
Esmond Knight
as Mr. Pidgeon
Harold Warrender
as Lieutenant Commander...
Eric Berry
as Mr. Abo
Olga Edwardes
as Mrs. Abo
John Longden
as Passport Officer
Eric Maturin
as Passport Officer
Leo Genn
as 1st Brother Grimm
Stuart Latham
as 2nd Brother Grimm
Peter Bull
as 3rd Brother Grimm
Eric Hales
as Second Karoly
Manning Whiley
as Manager of "Mousetra...
Mark Daly
as Taxi driver
Deborah Kerr
as Bit Part (uncredited...
Bernard Miles
as Man lighting pipe
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Contraband

Critic Reviews for Contraband

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (6)

Full Review… | January 13, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 11, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | December 3, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

May 30, 2001
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Contraband

An entertaining British Spy Thriller from Powell and Pressburger which is clearly influenced by Hitchcock (The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes).
The leads Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson work brilliantly together and there's even a little bit of bondage thrown in (yes, really!)

Emily B.

Super Reviewer

Contraband is one of my favorite obscure treasures. Bolstered by quirky characters, lots of comedy, and an unlikely romance. Conrad Veidt and little known character actor Hay Petrie are given a chance to shine. There is a most unusual moment in this film, with the two tied to a pillar that is unlike anything else I've seen from this period. This movie also has some unusual pacing and you are liable to wonder what on earth is this all about for the first 40 minutes, but let go, enjoy, and stick it out. It will put you in the mood for good Viking food.


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