Cloak and Dagger

Cloak and Dagger

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Fritz Lang, Gary Cooper, Lilli Palmer, Robert Alda

     
 

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Inspired by actual events, Cloak and Dagger was first major "atomic power" melodrama of the postwar era. Gary Cooper stars as bookish physics professor Alvah Jesper, a character obviously based on A-bomb codeveloper J. Robert Oppenheimer. Pressed into service by the OSS in the last months of WW2, Jasper is sent to Europe in search of Dr. Polda (VladimirSee more details below

Overview

Inspired by actual events, Cloak and Dagger was first major "atomic power" melodrama of the postwar era. Gary Cooper stars as bookish physics professor Alvah Jesper, a character obviously based on A-bomb codeveloper J. Robert Oppenheimer. Pressed into service by the OSS in the last months of WW2, Jasper is sent to Europe in search of Dr. Polda (Vladimir Sokoloff), an atomic scientist held captive by the Nazis. In Switzerland, Jesper quickly runs afoul of enemy spies who murder the only person to know Polda's whereabouts. Moving on to Italy, he links up with the partisans, falling in love with gorgeous resistance fighter Gina (Lilli Palmer). Adopting a disguise, Jesper finally locates Polda and spends the last few reels in a desperate dash to freedom. Screenwriters Albert Maltz and Ring Lardner Jr. had originally intended Cloak and Dagger as a warning to a complacent America. Director Fritz Lang recalled in later years that, as conceived and filmed, the ending was to have occured after Jesper and a group of Allied soldiers stumbled upon the ruins of a secret Nazi A-bomb factory, as well as evidence that the German scientists had fled to parts unknown with their atomic secrets intact. "It's day one of the Atomic Age," Jesper was to have noted ruefully, "And God help us if we think we can keep it a secret much longer." This lengthy coda was removed from the final release print, transforming a thought-provoking drama into a mere romantic thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This superior WWII espionage thriller finds Gary Cooper on a secret mission to find details on the German effort to build an atomic bomb. The story is pretty far-fetched, and there is little real chemistry between Cooper and leading lady Lilli Palmer, but it is all presented in a believable enough fashion. Of the supporting cast, Marc Lawrence has a notable role as a vicious pro-Nazi Italian who has an especially brutal fight scene with Cooper, Helene Thimig appears as a German physicist who has escaped to Switzerland, and Dan Seymour gets a rare break from playing henchmen to actually be one of the good guys. The script touches all the important patriotic buttons that one would expect from a film such as this, but fortunately for the audience, it is more concerned with making a good caper. Much of the script's original political content was reportedly diluted, but there is an effective scene where Cooper forcefully tells spymaster Colonel Walsh that if the government spent as much money and effort on finding a cure for tuberculosis or cancer as it does on making a bomb the world would be better off. Fritz Lang's direction, as always, is filled with atmospherics, a preoccupation with secret dealings and dangerous activities, and wonderful little touches that are more important to the plot than they at first appear to be (such as Cooper covering his face when a photographer tries to take his picture when he arrives in Switzerland, spurring all sorts of suspicions and setting the plot into motion). Cloak and Dagger is worth a look just to see Cooper as an atomic scientist, but beyond that novelty, it is the sort of tale of international intrigue that Lang clearly relished making.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/30/2013
UPC:
0887090062107
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
NR
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
19,992

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Cooper Prof. Alvah Jasper
Lilli Palmer Gina
Robert Alda Pinkie
Vladimir Sokoloff Dr. Polda
J. Edward Bromberg Trenk
Marjorie Hoshelle Ann Dawson
Ludwig Stossel German
Helene Thimig Katerin Loder
Dan Seymour Marsoli
Marc Lawrence Luigi
James Flavin Col. Walsh
Pat O'Moore Englishman
Charles Marsh Erich
Eddie Dunn Radio Operator
Arno Frey German Soldier
Bruce Lister British Officer
Lillian Nicholson Nun
Michael Burke OSS Agent
Robert Coote Cronin
Elvira Curci Woman in Street
Yola D'Avril Nurse
Claire Du Brey Nurse
Ross Ford Paratrooper
Holmes Herbert British Officer
Leon Lenoir Italian Soldier
Rory Mallinson Paul
Peter Michael German Agent
Eddie Parker Gestapo
Gil Perkins Gestapo
Otto Reichow German Soldier
Hans Schumm German Agent
Lotte Stein Nurse
Don Turner Lingg
Douglas Walton British Pilot
Frank Wilcox American Officer
Clifton Young American Commander
Vernon P. Downing British Sergeant

Technical Credits
Fritz Lang Director
Harry Barndollar Special Effects
Michael Burke Consultant/advisor
Edwin DuPar Special Effects
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Boris Ingster Original Story
Ring Lardner Screenwriter
John Francis Larkin Original Story
Albert Maltz Screenwriter
Christian Nyby Editor
Max Parker Art Director
Sol Polito Cinematographer
Leah Rhodes Costumes/Costume Designer
Russell Saunders Asst. Director
Francis J. Scheid Sound/Sound Designer
Milton Sperling Producer
Max Steiner Score Composer
Walter F. Tilford Set Decoration/Design
Perc Westmore Makeup

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cloak and Dagger
1. Chapter I [12:45]
2. Chapter II [23:25]
3. Chapter III [10:30]
4. Chapter IV [10:06]
5. Chapter V [10:30]
6. Chapter VI [14:21]
7. Chapter VII [9:15]
8. Chapter VIII [15:52]

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