Review: ‘The Spy in Black’

The Spy in Black is a praiseworthy film on international espionage during World War I.

The Spy in Black is a praiseworthy film on international espionage during World War I.

The plot [adapted by Roland Pertwee from a novel by J. Storer Clouston], while necessarily melodramatic, is always within the range of possibility. Conrad Veidt, as captain of a German submarine, receives instructions to proceed to the Orkney Islands, where he’s to meet a woman spy, from whom he’s to take orders. She instructs him to sink 15 British ships cruising off the coast of Scotland, and contacts him with a discharged traitorous lieutenant of the British Navy.

Veidt has a strong role for which he’s admirably suited. Sebastian Shaw is excellent as the English naval officer. Valerie Hobson, as the other spy, is creditable.

The Spy in Black

UK

Production

Harefield/Korda. Director Michael Powell; Producer Irving Asher; Screenplay Emeric Pressburger; Camera Bernard Browne; Editor William Hornbeck, Hugh Stewart; Music Miklos Rozsa; Art Director Vincent Korda

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Conrad Veidt Sebastian Shaw Valerie Hobson Marius Goring June Duprez Mary Morris
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