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The Late Movie: Contraband (1940) – Conrad Veidt,Valerie Hobson,Hay Petrie,

23/07/2019

 

London Films’ Contraband (1940) was produced in the last months of 1939 and is considered to be the first British fiction film to deal directly with World War II.

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.

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 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)

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