5 Fingers (aka Five Fingers) (1952): Mankiewicz’ Espionage Thriller, Starring James Mason and Danielle Darrieux

5 Fingers

Grade: A- (**** out of *****)

In Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s sharply observed, sophisticated espionage melodrama, “Five Fingers,” James Mason gives an excellent performance as the Cicero, a spy who operates within the British embassy in Turkey, stealing secrets about D-Day plans and peddling them to the Germans.

Michael Wilson’s screenplay is based on the book “Operation Cicero,” L.C. Moyzich, who appears as a character in the tale (cast with Oscar Karlweis).

The excellent international cast includes French actress Danielle Darrieux, American Michael Rennie and Walter Hampden.


Oscar Nominations: 2

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Screenplay: Michael Wilson


Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The directing Oscar went to John Ford for “The Quiet Man,” which was also nominated for Best Picture.  Mankiewicz had won two directing Oscars, for “A Letter to Three Wives,’ in 1949, and for “All About Eve” in 1950.  The other three directing nominees were Cecil B. DeMille for “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which won Best Picture, John Huston for “Moulin Rouge,” and Fred Zinnemann for “High Noon.”

Charles Schnee won the Writing Oscar for Minnelli’s Hollywood melodrama, “The Bad and The Beautiful.”


Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Produced by Otto Lang
Screenplay by Michael Wilson; Uncredited: Mankiewicz; based on Der fall Cicero 1949 novel by Ludwig Carl Moyzisch
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Norbert Brodine
Edited by James B. Clark
Distributed by 20th Century Fox

Release date: February 22, 1952

Running time: 108 min.
Box office $1,350,000 (US rentals)