Cloak and Dagger (1946 film)

Cloak and Dagger is a 1946 film noir directed by Fritz Lang, starring Gary Cooper. Like 13 Rue Madeleine, it is a tribute to Office of Strategic Services (OSS) operations in occupied Europe during World War II. The title is based on the 1946 non fiction book Cloak and Dagger: The Secret Story of O.S.S. by Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain. Former OSS agent E. Michael Burke acted as technical advisor.

Not to be confused with the 1984 film Cloak & Dagger.
Cloak and Dagger
Theatrical poster
Directed byFritz Lang
Produced byMilton Sperling
Written byCorey Ford
Alastair MacBain (book)
Boris Ingster
John Larkin (story)
Ring Lardner Jr.
Albert Maltz
StarringGary Cooper
Lilli Palmer
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographySol Polito
Edited byChristian Nyby
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 28, 1946 (1946-09-28) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.5 million (US rentals)[2] or $4,408,000[1]


Missing final reel

As planned by Lang, the film had a different ending. Jesper (Cooper) leads a group of American paratroopers into Germany to discover the remains of an underground factory, the bodies of dead concentration camp workers, and evidence the factory was working on nuclear weapons.

Jesper remarks that the factory may have been relocated to Spain or Argentina and launched a diatribe saying: "This is the Year One of the Atomic Age and God help us if we think we can keep this secret from the World!"[3]

Producer Milton Sperling, who had frequently quarreled with Lang on the set, thought the final scene ridiculous, since the audience knew the Germans had no nuclear capacity. Screenplay writers Lardner and Maltz became two of the Hollywood Ten, accused of adding communist dogma to movie scripts such as this one. Writing a script saying the US could not keep nuclear secrets from the USSR, such as in this film, was just one of many accusations against the Ten.[4]

Radio show

A 1950 NBC radio show of the same title based on Ford and MacBain's book lasted 26 episodes. Cloak and Dagger began with actor Raymond Edward Johnson asking "Are you willing to undertake a dangerous mission for the United States knowing in advance you may never return alive?"[5]


Screenwriters Lardner Jr. and Maltz later were two of The Hollywood Ten, caught up in the power struggle between J. Edgar Hoover and the Central Intelligence Agency. They were brought before HUAC, jailed, and blacklisted during the Red Scare.[6]

Box Office

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $2,580,000 domestically and $1,828,000 foreign.[1]

See also


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 27 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
  3. p. 197 Frayling, Christopher Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema (Reaktion Books, 2005)
  4. p.101 Kalat, David the Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse 2005 McFarland
  5. pp66-67 Britton, Wesley Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film Greenwood Publishing
  6. Mocking Bird, John Simkin, Spartacus Educational
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