Cloak and Dagger
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Albert Maltz and Ring Lardner Jr.; original story by Boris Ingster and John Larkin
Warner Bros./United States Pictures
First viewing/Netflix rental
This is not one of Lang’s more memorable films but it still looks awfully good.
The Office of Strategic Services (wartime forerunner of the CIA) recruits nuclear physicist Prof. Alvah Jesper (Gary Cooper), known as “Jess”, to contact a scientist friend of his in Switzerland and bring her back to the U.S. The scientist should be up on the latest on German progress toward developing an atom bomb. But the Germans kill the woman before Jess can complete his mission.
Jess decides the next best thing is to go to Italy and look up an old associate, Dr. Poldi (Vladimir Sokoloff) who is also working on bomb development. He is met by a group of Italian resistance fighters, including the world-weary Gina (Lilli Palmer). Naturally, Jess and Gina immediately fall in love despite her professions of toughness. It turns out Poldi is being kept on a short leash by the Nazis who have his beloved daughter in their power. The resistance must rescue the daughter before Poldi will agree to cooperate.
This movie would have been better if there had been more espionage and less doomed romance. It’s OK for what it is anyway and the images are striking.