Contraband (1940)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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In this espionage drama, a Danish merchant sea captain takes on a mysterious passenger and finds himself involved with a ring of London spies. Mayhem ensues.
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Kino on Video

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Conrad Veidt
as Capt. Andersen
Hay Petrie
as Axel Skold / Erik Skold
Valerie Hobson
as Mrs.Sorensen
Joss Ambler
as Lieutenant Commander Ashton RNR
Esmond Knight
as Mr.Pidgeon
Raymond Lovell
as Van Dyne
Harold Warrender
as Lt/Cdr Ellis
Charles Victor
as Hendrick
Manning Whiley
as Manager
Peter Bull
as Grimm
Leo Genn
as Grimm
Dennis Arundell
as Leinmann
Eric Berry
as Mr. Abo
Julien Vedey
as Waiter
Olga Edwardes
as Mrs. Abo
Paddy Browne
as Singer
John Longden
as Passport Officer
Eric Maturin
as Passport Officer
Eric Hales
as Second Karoly
Mark Daly
as Taxi driver
Deborah Kerr
as Bit Part (uncredited)
Bernard Miles
as Man lighting pipe
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Critic Reviews for Contraband

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

The story traces the gradual erosion of the Dane's neutrality in the face of menace, but Powell's freewheeling camera can't be stilled by patriotic piety

Full Review… | November 17, 2009

A first-rate, cleverly photographed WWII thriller from the great pair of Powell and Pressburger.

November 5, 2003
Nitrate Online

It was strange to see Veidt in a romantic hero role.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

Full Review… | January 12, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Quote not available.

July 5, 2005

Audience Reviews for Contraband

Rather disingenuous of Kino to slip this title (also known as Blackout) into a "Film Noir" box set. It was made a couple years before what most people consider the beginning of the "noir cycle", it's British, and it's only the slightest bit noir. But it is Powell & Pressburger, and it looked fun, so I didn't mind putting it in the player. And it was fun. P&P reunite Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson from The Spy in Black for another wartime espionage thriller. This one has more of a comic edge to it, though, and feels quite a lot like 39 Steps era Hitchcock. Veidt and Hobson play off each other very well, with a lively antagonistic chemistry. Some fine character actors as well, like Hay Petrie (a dead ringer for Claude Rains) in an amusing dual role. The finale has a marvelous touch... a storeroom of plaster busts makes a terrific place for a shootout. Very enjoyable.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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.


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.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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