The Spy in Black (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Spy in Black1939

The Spy in Black (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Spy in Black Photos

Movie Info

The Spy In Black is the story of a German World War I submarine captain (Conrad Veidt) who is given a mission to discover British intelligence secrets. Once he arrives in the Orkney Islands, he meets up with a female schoolteacher (Valerie Hobson), who happens to be a German agent. Veidt falls in love with Hobson before discovering she's actually a double agent for the British. In America, Spy in Black was originally released under the title U-Boat 29.


Valerie Hobson
as Frau Tiel / Jill Blacklock
Sebastian Shaw
as Lt. Ashington / Cmdr. David Blacklock
Conrad Veidt
as Captain Hardt
June Duprez
as Anne Burnett
Marius Goring
as Lt. Schuster
Athole Stewart
as Rev. Hector Matthews
Agnes Laughlan
as Mrs. Matthews
Helen Haye
as Mrs. Sedley
Cyril Raymond
as Rev. John Harris
Hay Petrie
as Chief Engineer
Mary Morris
as Chauffeuse
George Summers
as Capt. Ratter
Kenneth Warrington
as Cmdr. Dennis
Torin Thatcher
as Submarine officer
Esma Cannon
as Maggie (uncredited)
Skelton Knaggs
as German Sailor looking for Capt. Hardt (uncredited)
View All

News & Interviews for The Spy in Black

Critic Reviews for The Spy in Black

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4)

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.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Darkness, foreboding and regret, rather than any sense of propaganda, dominate this extraordinarily atmospheric World War I spy story made on the eve of World War II

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

U-Boat 29 is the most exciting spy melodrama since the advent of the Second World War.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

The film is dark and beautifully textured, though not as visually rich as the later, higher-budgeted Powell pictures.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The acting is outstandingly good. Conrad Veidt is brilliant in the lead.

February 16, 2016 | Full Review…

Strong writing combines with striking cinematography and talented direction to make this a satisfying entertainment.

January 18, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Spy in Black

A solid and fun early British film from Michael Powell, "The Spy in Black" shows his early prowess with the camera. Even though It's considered a B film, the interior and exterior shots are captured surprisingly well and the use of angles adds to the intrigue and secrecy in the film. The movie is about a German submarine captain named Conrad Veidt who receives orders to infiltrate and gather intelligence to destroy a British Fleet. The other spies and people involved in the mission may not be who they seem. The only drawbacks, from an otherwise enjoyable film, was the held back movements and actions of both the Germans and English during crucial scenes. For examples of this look at the woman spy who is alone with the German officer, he literally sits his pistol down to change and she does nothing even though only a few feet away. Aside from the scenes not flowing too realistically, I enjoyed the movie as a whole. If you are into B films or just older British films of the action/suspense genre, this is a solid and entertaining one.

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer


Michael Powell's first collaboration with Pressburger. Whilst clearly not as good as their later works, 'The Spy In Black' is still an entertaining War thriller with enough twists in the plot to keep you interested throughout.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

The Spy in Black Quotes

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