Cloak and Dagger (1946)

At times I thought it was a poor showing for a titular cloak and dagger movie made by Fritz Lang.  I liked the early movie mention of O.S.S. and an attempt to deal with the realities of living in a post-war world of nuclear weapons.  I didn’t really like the preachy “science guy worries about morality” parts but I blame that on the writing.  They’re valid concerns but came across stilted and obnoxious.  I liked that it was a little all over the map (literally).  Gary Cooper was kind of a weird dude onscreen, like an awkward knock-off Cary Grant.  I like him well enough but at times he seems really old, at other times kind of menacing and at others, sort of out of place.  He did pull off the normal guy scientist becomes judo-chopping killer secret agent fairly well even if he was a little traumatized afterwards – who could blame him?  Lilli Palmer was a very unexpectedly good female lead in that she had an acerbic wit and face.  Hers was a part that was slowly polluted by Hollywood melodrama until by the end she is just another wilting female.  I didn’t really like her character but I liked her character within the context of this movie.  Lang certainly knew how to predict the future of cinema and the recurring emphasis on Gina’s sweater kittens is fairly prescient of modern movies featuring convenient boobs (i.e. female leads in supporting roles simply because the audience will find them attractive and not for any significant contribution to the narrative).  My favorite part of the movie is when she blasts the lady in the farmhouse.  I think there is an implication that she-Nazi is reaching for a gun but, seen another way, Gina has had enough of her shit.

In the end it’s not a bad movie, and not a half bad spy movie either.

I still think he should have taken her on the plane…