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Cloak and Dagger (1946);
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943)

Cloak and Dagger (1946)
July 23, 2006 - 7:00 pm

Preservation funded by The Film Foundation

Cloak and Dagger (1946)

Directed by Fritz Lang

German emigre Fritz Lang directed this terse WWII espionage thriller about the inner workings of the top-secret US Office of Strategic Services. Scripted by future Hollywood Ten martyrs Albert Maltz and Ring Lardner. Jr., Cloak and Dagger was adapted from a nonfictional expose of the famed wartime spy outfit. A potent amalgam of popular genres, the film combines adventure, suspense and romantic melodrama with a topical message regarding the dangers of atomic power.

Gary Cooper stars as a laconic American college professor recruited by the O.S.S. for undercover action in western Europe during the waning days of the war. A nuclear physicist by training, he travels to Switzerland then Italy on a mission to infiltrate Nazi scientific circles and foil the enemy's efforts at developing an atorn bornb. British screen actress Lilli Palmer makes her Hollywood debut playing the steely Italian partisan who becomes Cooper's love interest.

Not nearly as dark or pessimistic as Lang's prewar conspiracy tales or his contemporaneous films noir, Cloak and Dagger operates largely within the stable moral context provided by WWII while presciently (if obliquely) anticipating some of the ambiguities and ironies of the Cold War arrns race to come. Widely considered an exciting potboiler ("fast entertainment on the screen,'' according to the New York Times), the film was also praised for its evocation of a clandestine milieu and apparent authenticity: "a spy story that has the air of being almost documentary," claimed the Los Angeles Times before hailing it as "one of the best of the postwar productions about the war."

Jesse Zigelstein

United States Pictures. Inc./Warner Bros. Producer: Milton Sperling. Screenwriters: Albert Maltz. Ring Lardner, Jr. Based on the book "Cloak and Dagger: The Secret Story of the O.S.S." by Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain Cinematographer: Sol Polito Editor: Christian Nyby Music: Max Steiner Cast: Gary Cooper. Robert Aida. Lilli Palmer, Vladimir Sokoloff

35mm. 104 min.

Preserved in cooperation with Paramount Pictures from the 35mm nitrate original picture and soundtrack negatives. a 35mm nitrate composite dupe negative and a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc. Special thanks to: Barry Allen. Warner Bros.

Preceded by:

Preservation funded by The Film Foundation

Cloak and Dagger—Trailer, 1946

35mm, 2 min.

Preserved from a 35mm composite fine grain master positive. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc.

Preservation funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

News of the Day, Vol. 17, No. 288: Atom Bomb Special—July 8, 1945

A special issue devoted to the first post-WWII atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.

Preserved from the 35mm nitrate original picture negative and a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc. Special thanks to: King Features. Ted Troll.

Preservation funded by Hugh Hefner

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943)

Directed by Roy William Neill

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce had already done two Sherlock Holmes films for 20th Century-Fox when Universal picked them up and decided to try something bold by turning the franchise into part of the Hollywood war effort. This meant transplanting the sleuth of Baker Street from his late 19th-century setting to the war-torn London of the '40s. For the studio's second Holmes installment Universal brought to the helm Roy William Neill, a veteran Hollywood director who'd go on to become the main force behind the series.

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon was supposedly based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic story "The Adventure of the Dancing Men," but as so often in the series there appears to be little connection between the finished film and its ostensible literary source. The film's story line involves the kidnapping of an inventor, Nazi spies, and the first appearance in the series of the most infamous of Holmes' adversaries, Professor Moriarty.

One connection that Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon does share with its source material is in the very first scene where Holmes, a master of disguise, enters as an old bookseller in order to smuggle a scientist away from the Nazis. It is a bravura sequence that shows Holmes perfectly capable of handling himself in a modern world of war, desperation and intrigue.

–Mike Brosnan

Universal Screenwriters: Edward T. Lowe, W. Scott Darling, Edmund L. Hartmann Cinematographer: Les White Editor: Otto Ludwig Cast: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Lionel Atwill, Kaaren Verne, William Post Jr.

35mm, 68 min.

Preserved in cooperation with King World Productions from the 35mm nitrate original picture and soundtrack negatives and from 35mm nitrate composite fine grain elements. Laboratory services by YCM Laboratories. Todd-AD/Glen Glenn. Special thanks to: Tony Cook. Anne Fleming, Peter Glassberg, Leo Gutman. Clyde Jeavons. Michael King, Meredith Miller. The National Film and Television Archive (U.K.).