The Spy in Black

  • U
  • Michael Powell (1939)
  • UK
  • 79 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

The first collaboration of celebrated film-makers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, this is a bold and atmospheric spy drama set during the First World War. Conrad Veidt turns in a convincing performance as a German submarine commander on a mission to sink the British fleet. Dispatched to the Orkney Islands, Veidt makes contact with a German agent who turns out to be local schoolteacher Valerie Hobson, and is soon wondering whether she's on his side. Strong writing combines with striking cinematography and talented direction to make this a satisfying entertainment.

Plot Summary

First World War spy drama starring Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson. A U-boat commander, Captain Hardt, is ordered to contact a German spy on the Orkney Islands. But after meeting the agent, an attractive schoolmistress, Hardt begins to doubt her authenticity.

Cast and crew


Captain Hardt
Conrad Veidt
Joan, the schoolmistress
Valerie Hobson
Commander Davis Blacklock
Sebastian Shaw
Lieutenant Schuster
Marius Goring
Anne Burnett
June Duprez
Reverend Hector Matthews
Athole Stewart
Mrs Matthews
Agnes Lauchlan
Mrs Sedley
Helen Haye


Michael Powell

Other Information

Black and White
Available on video and DVD
Certificate U