Contraband (1940) DVD
SKU ID #325497
Set in England during the early days of WW II, Contraband stars Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) and Valerie Hobson (The Bride of Frankenstein) as a Danish sea captain and his enigmatic passenger who are kidnapped by a cell of Nazi spies operating from a basement in London's Soho. In evocatively Hitchcockian fashion, the plot progresses as a chase that puts the characters in one peculiar set of surroundings after another. What makes Contraband unique is that most of the story takes place under blackout conditions (original U.S. release title was Blackout), in which the great city becomes a mysterious dark labyrinth, a potent metaphor for the English population's general confusion at the start of the war. Moreover, the blackout provides director Powell a constant opportunity to pay subtle homage to Veidt's Germanic, expressionist heritage with chiaroscuro lighting and visual allusions to his classic films.