Pacific Blackout (1941)

76 mins | Drama | 1941

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HISTORY

The film opens with the following written prologue: "This is not a documentary film. Any resemblance to characters, living or dead, is purely accidental. The scenes depicting activity during a blackout are also imaginary, and do not attempt to be technically correct, nor to reflect accurately the official rules and regulations of the office of civilian defense." The film's working title was Air Raid , and it was reviewed as Midnight Angel before the title was changed to Pacific Blackout following the entrance of the U.S. into World War II. According to various early news items, the original story was purchased in Apr 1938; Olympe Bradna, Patricia Morison, Preston Foster, Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray were considered for starring roles; Walter Ferris and F. Scott Fitzgerald were signed to write the script; Edward H. Griffith was to direct; and Jeff Lazarus was to produce this film. Box notes that footage from the 1941 Paramount film I Wanted Wings was used in this ... More Less

The film opens with the following written prologue: "This is not a documentary film. Any resemblance to characters, living or dead, is purely accidental. The scenes depicting activity during a blackout are also imaginary, and do not attempt to be technically correct, nor to reflect accurately the official rules and regulations of the office of civilian defense." The film's working title was Air Raid , and it was reviewed as Midnight Angel before the title was changed to Pacific Blackout following the entrance of the U.S. into World War II. According to various early news items, the original story was purchased in Apr 1938; Olympe Bradna, Patricia Morison, Preston Foster, Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray were considered for starring roles; Walter Ferris and F. Scott Fitzgerald were signed to write the script; Edward H. Griffith was to direct; and Jeff Lazarus was to produce this film. Box notes that footage from the 1941 Paramount film I Wanted Wings was used in this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Dec 1941.
---
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1941.
---
Film Daily
5 Dec 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 1939.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1939.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 41
p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Express
15 Dec 1941.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Aug 1938.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Dec 41
p. 406.
New York Times
15 Jan 42
p. 25.
Variety
6 Apr 1938.
---
Variety
30 Jul 1941.
---
Variety
10 Dec 41
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Fred A. Kelsey
Martin Faust
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus score
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Met Him in Paris," music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Helen Meinardi.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Midnight Angel
Air Raid
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 January 1942
Production Date:
18 August--mid September 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10957
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76
Length(in feet):
6,921
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7677
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the eve of the United States entry into World War II, civilian defense organizations are set up in Pacific coast cities. As one city prepares for a practice blackout, mechanical engineer Robert Draper is tried for the murder of his partner, with whom he invented an anti-aircraft device. Robert is found guilty and sentenced to execution; however, the blackout occurs just as a police truck is transporting him to prison, and when the truck crashes, Robert escapes. In the park he encounters Mary, a beautiful young woman who sympathizes with his plight and tries to help him get rid of his handcuffs. Mary remains with Robert even when he checks into a hotel and calls his friend, John Ronnel, for help. Ronnel, who acted as a character witness at Robert's trial, actually framed him, and now contacts the police and informs them of Robert's location. He then contacts Marie Duval, a nightclub singer who is in on the frame-up. Although Robert and Mary escape from the police, they are then commandeered by a group of enthusiastic civilian defense volunteers, who are operating a mock-hospital in a shelter as part of the blackout procedure. A pickpocket helps Robert release the handcuffs, and Mary, who is deemed "dead," is separated from Robert when she is carried by stretcher into the street. She sneaks away to the Cascade Club, where she confronts Duval, who reveals nothing. Mary decides to wait in the club, but after she leaves Duval, Ronnel emerges from his hiding place in her dressing room and kills the singer because she can identify him as the murderer. Robert goes to ... +


On the eve of the United States entry into World War II, civilian defense organizations are set up in Pacific coast cities. As one city prepares for a practice blackout, mechanical engineer Robert Draper is tried for the murder of his partner, with whom he invented an anti-aircraft device. Robert is found guilty and sentenced to execution; however, the blackout occurs just as a police truck is transporting him to prison, and when the truck crashes, Robert escapes. In the park he encounters Mary, a beautiful young woman who sympathizes with his plight and tries to help him get rid of his handcuffs. Mary remains with Robert even when he checks into a hotel and calls his friend, John Ronnel, for help. Ronnel, who acted as a character witness at Robert's trial, actually framed him, and now contacts the police and informs them of Robert's location. He then contacts Marie Duval, a nightclub singer who is in on the frame-up. Although Robert and Mary escape from the police, they are then commandeered by a group of enthusiastic civilian defense volunteers, who are operating a mock-hospital in a shelter as part of the blackout procedure. A pickpocket helps Robert release the handcuffs, and Mary, who is deemed "dead," is separated from Robert when she is carried by stretcher into the street. She sneaks away to the Cascade Club, where she confronts Duval, who reveals nothing. Mary decides to wait in the club, but after she leaves Duval, Ronnel emerges from his hiding place in her dressing room and kills the singer because she can identify him as the murderer. Robert goes to the club and then heads to the anti-aircraft division with Mary after discovering the division's phone number with Duval's body. There, Robert forces a confession out of Harold Kermin, who admits that he and Ronnel caused Robert's range finder to fail its test with the army so that they could sell the device to the enemy. Kermin also informs him that the base's munitions plant is going to be bombed that night by its own personnel because he and Ronnel exchanged the fake bombs for real ones. Mary, who is a telephone operator, had her co-worker and boss listen in to the confession by phone, and after they call the police, Kermin is arrested and Robert is taken into custody by the commanding officer of the base. All bombers flying test missions over the blackout area are recalled, but when bomber K-64 does not respond, Robert signals the crew by searchlight just in time so that they do not carry out their mission. With the end of the air raid, Ronnel is arrested for two murders, and Robert, now free, kisses Mary, with whom he has fallen in love. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.