Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Strangely amusing scene

I caught an old spy flick on TCM recently - Contraband (1940) – that featured Conrad Veidt as the captain of a Danish freighter whose ship is detained by the British for a routine inspection (it is the early months of the war – the so-called “Phony War” period) . Veidt is a good guy who accidentally gets pulled into an operation pitting Nazi agents against British intelligence (the latter including the beauteous Valerie Hobson), and the dialogue is witty, the scenes well-crafted, and the plotting brisk.

There is one scene in particular that I found highly amusing (unfortunately, I have not been able to find a video clip of it on YouTube). The incident takes place in London. The chief Nazi villain, played by Canadian-born actor Raymond Lovell, is armed with a pistol and is chasing Veidt around a warehouse storeroom filled with plaster busts of Neville Chamberlain. Given the setting of the movie and the time the action is taking place, I don’t know whether there was anything intended in the way of symbolism or satire, but it sure struck me as funny.

Anyhow, it’s a fun movie very much worth seeing.


bruce said...

Powell and Pressburger - all their movies are watchable over and over.

"The title of the film in the United States was Blackout. Powell is quoted in his autobiography, A Life in Movies, that the US renaming was a better title and he wished he had thought of it."

Very grainy online here, the scene you mention around 1:22 -

Colonel Blimp, Red Shoes, 49th Parallel, One of Our Aircraft is Missing, Black Narcissus, Battle of the River Plate and more, but my favourite is Gone to Earth.

JeffS said...

It's available on Amazon as a DVD.