Review: ‘Cloak and Dagger’

This tale of the OSS and its undercover work during the war serves as kickoff production for US Pictures. Despite boxoffice value of Gary Cooper's name, film is the usual cops-and-robbers story [by Boris Ingster and John Larkin, suggested by the book by Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain]. Fritz Lang's direction manages suspense and several top moments of gripping dramatic conflict, but otherwise fails to rise to sock levels.

This tale of the OSS and its undercover work during the war serves as kickoff production for US Pictures. Despite boxoffice value of Gary Cooper’s name, film is the usual cops-and-robbers story [by Boris Ingster and John Larkin, suggested by the book by Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain]. Fritz Lang’s direction manages suspense and several top moments of gripping dramatic conflict, but otherwise fails to rise to sock levels.

Cooper is seen as atomic scientist drafted by OSS to enter first Switzerland and then Italy just prior to close of the war to get a line on Nazi atomic developments. He encounters the usual femme spy in Switzerland, gets out of that episode with whole skin but only after death of Austrian scientist he was contacting and then moves on to Italy and romance with an Italian partisan who is assigned to aid him contact a Nazi-held scientist.

Cooper fits requirements of his role, turning in his usual topnotch job. A high moment of thrill is his hand-to-hand, silent battle with Marc Lawrence, Nazi agent, in an Italian hallway. It’s one of the few top sequences. Film introduces Lilli Palmer, foreign actress, as Cooper’s romance, and her performance promises bright Hollywood future.

Cloak and Dagger

Production

United States/Warner. Director Fritz Lang; Producer Milton Sperling; Screenplay Albert Maltz, Ring Lardner Jr; Camera Sol Polito; Editor Christian Nyby; Music Max Steiner;; Art Director Max Parker

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1946. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Gary Cooper Lilli Palmer Robert Alda Vladimir Sokoloff J. Edward Bromberg Marjorie Hoshelle
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