Cloak and Dagger

Overview

Fritz Lang's Cloak And Dagger (1946) comes to DVD in a decent, stripped down edition from Artisan Entertainment and the Republic Pictures library. The source is somewhat uneven, coming from a reasonably well (but not perfectly) preserved 35mm print. The movie was made at Warner Bros. but was produced and owned by Milton Sperling (who, by all reports, did not get along at all with director Fritz Lang despite his best efforts to work with the renowned filmmaker), and opens promisingly, with a crystaline transfer on...
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Overview

Fritz Lang's Cloak And Dagger (1946) comes to DVD in a decent, stripped down edition from Artisan Entertainment and the Republic Pictures library. The source is somewhat uneven, coming from a reasonably well (but not perfectly) preserved 35mm print. The movie was made at Warner Bros. but was produced and owned by Milton Sperling (who, by all reports, did not get along at all with director Fritz Lang despite his best efforts to work with the renowned filmmaker), and opens promisingly, with a crystaline transfer on the first reel -- as early as 23 minutes in, however, there is damage (including, apparently, missing frames) and from there on, there are frustrating fluctuations in the quality of individual shots within the same scenes. Strangely enough, the uneven nature of the disc's production is almost a match for the characteristics of the movie itself; there are moments of great suspense, and beautifully constructed shots, interspersed with uneven performances (especially by Gary Cooper, who isn't as bad as he's often made out to be, but isn't in any way suited to the role he's playing either) and a curiously flabby overall pacing. To be sure, it was an unhappy shoot for all concerned, including Lang, who wasn't 100 percent happy with the project at the outset but saw it as the most attractive offer of the moment, but also especially for Lilli Palmer, who was horribly abused by Lang to the point where the technicians walked off the set and shut down production for a day, out of sympathy for her, and a studio executive had to be assigned to stand by during the filming of any of her scenes. Any Fritz Lang movie has its moments of high interest, and this one at least gives the best scenes here appropriate chapter markers, among the 23 that are mapped out. The Dolby sound is clean and crisp, and loud during the climactic attack, but there are no extras of any kind -- the disc opens to a simple menu that is easy to maneuver around.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Full screen version; 2.0 Dolby Stereo Surround; Digitally mastered; Interactive menus; Scene index
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/20/2003
  • UPC: 017153139662
  • Original Release: 1946
  • Rating:

  • Source: Republic Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Format: DVD

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 Jr. 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

Side #1 --
1. Main Title [1:16]
2. Interrupted Transmission [4:59]
3. Cloak-and-Dagger Boys [6:22]
4. Zurich Undercover [3:00]
5. A Great Physicist and Woman [4:32]
6. Smooth Double Operator [7:04]
7. A Clumsy Little Sonnet [4:31]
8. "Well, That's That" [4:17]
9. Boat Ride to Italy [5:45]
10. Trouble at the Road Block [4:43]
11. The Betrayed Fellow Scientist [10:06]
12. Staying Out of Sight [2:40]
13. The Italian and Her Tenor [6:09]
14. A Partisan's Nightmare [1:39]
15. The Mistaken Husband [3:34]
16. A Different Kind of Music [2:55]
17. Pre-War Gina [6:01]
18. "Too Long, Too Much" [3:49]
19. Scuffle at Romoli's [5:36]
20. Safe and Sorry [4:54]
21. Surrounded [4:32]
22. The Way Out [4:44]
23. "Who Knows" Credits [3:08]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Feature
   Scene Index
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