The Spy in Black

1939

Action / Thriller / War

34
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 73%
IMDb Rating 7 10 1575

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Sebastian Shaw as Ashington
Valerie Hobson as The School Mistress
Conrad Veidt as Captain Hardt
June Duprez as Anne Burnett
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
695.36 MB
1280*720
English
NR
25.000 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.24 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
25.000 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 3 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

The great ironies

One of the great ironies of World War I was that Kaiser Wilhelm who built this great battle fleet to rival the British Navy never got to put it to real good use. Other than the inconclusive Battle Of Jutland the surface fleet sat out the war primarily. It was those U-Boats that in this war and the next were the primary weapon of the German Navy.

Which brings us to this film. A plan calling for a U-Boat or two is drafted by the German Naval Command in which U-Boat Captain Conrad Veidt is to make his way to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands where the British fleet is anchored. Veidt puts ashore where he makes contact with a pair of British traitors, a cashiered captain Sebastian Shaw and a newly assigned schoolteacher in the region Valerie Hobson. When the fleet sails she will give Veidt instructions how to avoid the mine fields come in and do a Pearl Harbor on the fleet.

Veidt is a most honorable sort, he wears a coat over his naval uniform as he does not wish to be shot as a spy. Of course when cornered he does ditch the uniform for another garb, the better to continue his activities as The Spy In Black.

All however is not as it seems and history tells us such an event did not happen in World War I.

Veidt, Hobson, and Shaw really care this film with their performances. Down in the cast one that stands out is Cyril Raymond as a nosy country parson who gets too curious for his own good.

This film is a rarity in that Germans are not shown as intrinsically evil. That would change on both sides of the pond shortly.

Reviewed by barjo-915-203229 8 / 10

Good war thriller

Interesting in that it has a German lead, played by a German actor, who you actually sympathise with. Very much not a jingoistic war film, and not what you would expect. Veidt stands out in this as a an actor, his experience really shines through and he comes across as a more realistic, where some of the British actor comes across as 2D. Nice character study of a professional officer who sticks by his code, despite the circumstances. Atmospheric and well made, solid British war spy flick.

Reviewed by MissSimonetta 8 / 10

A must-see for those who love Michael Powell and/or Conrad Veidt

The Spy in Black (1939) seems like it would be your standard spy thriller with a heaping helping of Allied propaganda, but it is much more than that. It's as much a humanist dramedy as it is an espionage picture. The World War I setting allows Conrad Veidt's German submarine captain to be honorable, charming, and even romantic, despite his status as "the enemy." Valerie Hobson is understated and effective as the English double agent who finds herself falling for Veidt against her better judgement. The sexual tension between them is palpable, bringing an erotic energy to already tense scenes between them. The movie ends on a note of melancholy, with a sense of weariness that humaneness and tenderness mean nothing in the face of war.

This is one of director Michael Powell's earlier efforts and you can see even now his magic. I would not put TSIB in the same category as The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Black Narcissus, or my personal favorite The Red Shoes, but it is an above average movie well worth your time. And of course, fans of Conrad Veidt-- well, you won't want to miss out either.

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