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Contraband: The sexiest film of 1940?
By Steve Crook
I've often thought (and said) that Contraband should be nominated as one of the sexiest movies P&P made. Agreed it's quite a lightweight piece of work but it has hidden shallows :)
Everyone first thinks of BN, TRS (or maybe GTE) when they think of P&P's sexiest movie, but consider ...
It starts when Andersen (Conrad Veidt) calls Mrs. Sorensen (Valerie Hobson) to his cabin & asks if she wants to be chained up ("clapped in irons")
When Capt Andersen (Connie) is looking for Mrs Sorenson (Valerie) on board the ship, first he nearly gets ensnared by the young lady doing the exercises on her bed - "You can read the newspaper here."
In fact she's Mrs. Abo (Olga Edwardes), the young, beautiful wife of Prof. Abo (Eric Berry) who's seen in the dining room with her. She's also his ex-student so the Prof isn't as frail and doddery as he looks.
Then Capt Andersen goes into Mrs Sorenson's cabin and while he's looking for clues as to where she might be he's fondling the stockings that she's left on the drawer.
When Andersen tracks Mrs Sorenson to London he nearly follows her into the ladies toilets !!
When they get to London he follows her in the blackout by keeping his torch shining on her long legs & high heels.
There's all the "flirty banter" and touching while they play with his watch and sing the song in the restaurant.Mrs. Sorensen: Did you ever try being married? That can be quite a big adventure.When Mrs S. is being interrogated she's about to be undressed in front of the assembled company but doesn't seem to mind. Maybe she thinks those MASSIVE shoulder pads will hide her?
Andersen: [sighs] Why do women always say that? Marriage ends adventure.
Mrs. Sorensen: [copies sigh] Why do men always say that?
Then when they're captured and tied up she has to "use her long legs" to help get him free his feet.
Andersen then stands up to free his handsAndersen: "I shall have to hurt you"Then he ties her up again - does she enjoy that a bit too much? He goes off gallivanting leaving the damsel tied up - not the act of a gentleman and what about that "stolen" kiss just before he went?
Mrs. S: "Go ahead" <winces>
After the battle, Andersen rescues her (and Mr Pidgeon) and leads them up to the top floor where he can shine the torch on her legs again as she walks across the beam (or whatever it is).
Then there's that final scene back in his cabin where they hold each other close. He tells her to drop the lifejacket and it tumbles to the floor - what happens next?
As I said sexy with a bit of kinkiness thrown in :)
All very risqué for 1940.
BTW The film also has what I consider to be one of the cleverest lines in a film of the period.
Mr Pidgeon (Esmond Knight) is a talent scout looking for new variety acts to bring to Britain. When they are all being interviewed by the Royal Navy inspection party they say to him that that must be hard work.Mr Pidgeon: Oh, Per Ardua Ad Astra."Per Ardua Ad Astra" is of course, the motto of the Royal Air Force and means "Through adversity to the stars".
Well I thought it was clever :)
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