Pacific Blackout

1h 16m 1941

Film Details

Also Known As
Air Raid, Midnight Angel
Release Date
Jan 1941
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Jan 1942
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
United States

Technical Specs

1h 16m
Film Length
6,921ft (8 reels)


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.


Robert Preston

Robert Draper

Martha O'driscoll


Philip Merivale

John Ronnel

Eva Gabor

Marie Duval

Louis Jean Heydt

[Harold] Kermin

Thurston Hall


Mary Treen


J. Edward Bromberg


Spencer Charters

Night watchman

Cy Kendall

Hotel clerk

Russell Hicks

Commanding officer

Paul Stanton


Clem Bevans

Night watchman

Robert Emmett Keane

Defense attorney, Mr. Hendrickson

Edwin Maxwell

District Attorney

Rod Cameron


George Melford

Banker in park

Jessie Perry

Elderly woman in park

Wade Boteler

Cop in park

Archie Twitchell

Waiter in café

Kernan Cripps

Cop in first café

Al Hill

Second cop in first café

Ed Peil Sr.

Air raid warden

Bud Geary

Air raid warden

Charles Hamilton

Air raid warden

Peter Leeds

Air raid warden

Stanley Blystone

Police sergeant

Ted Oliver

Police sergeant

John Sheehan

Police sergeant

Edward Hearn

Police sergeant

Frank Wayne

Military police sergeant

Fred A. Kelsey


Lee Shumway


Lee Phelps


Dick Rush


Ralph Dunn


James Farley


Robert Homans

Desk sergeant

John Hamilton

Police captain

Charles Mcavoy

Tough policeman

George Lloyd

Cop with sergeant

George Eldredge

Police announcer

Robert Winkler

Kid at bomb

Harry Harvey Jr.

Kid at bomb

Sammy Mckim

Kid at bomb

Ralph Peters

First soldier at bombs

George Turner

Second soldier at bombs

Richard Webb


Addison Randall


Keith Richards


Jack Egan


Harry Strang

Anti-gas officer

George Magrill


Rose Plumer

Woman on street

Jack Norton

Drunk in bomb shelter

Nora Lane

Nurse in bomb shelter

Warren Ashe

Officious young doctor

Wallis Clark

Pompous doctor

Paul Mcvey

Civilian defense official

Margaret Armstrong

Telephone supervisor

Art Yeoman

First guard, Black Maria

Fred Stanley

Injured criminal, Black Maria

Frank Moran

Companion of injured criminal, Black Maria

Alaine Brandes

Girl on defense truck

Jack Roberts

Minor executive, defense headquarters

Howard Mitchell


Francis Sayles

Court clerk

Monte Blue

Colonel Henderson

Len Hendry


Eddie Kane

Headwaiter, Cascades Café

Jack Chapin


Edward Earle

Army major

Sam Ash

Official announcer

Martin Faust


Frank O'connor

Fire chief

Jack Luden

Radio operator

William Cabanne

Radio operator

Pat Mcveigh

Bombardier, sergeant

John Kellogg


Arthur Stuart Hull

Official at bomb shelter

Walter Shumway

Official at bomb shelter

Laurie Douglas


Eleanor Stewart


Gladden James


Louise Laplanche


Julia Faye

Gloria Williams

Betty Farrington

Henry Roquemore

Film Details

Also Known As
Air Raid, Midnight Angel
Release Date
Jan 1941
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Jan 1942
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
United States

Technical Specs

1h 16m
Film Length
6,921ft (8 reels)




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 April 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 Office notes that footage from the 1941 Paramount film I Wanted Wings was used in this film.