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The Dawn Patrol (1930)

Not Rated | | War, Drama, Action | 20 August 1930 (USA)
World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths.

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Writers:

(story "The Flight Commander"), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dick Courtney
...
Douglas Scott
...
Major Brand
...
Flaherty
...
Bott
...
Field Sergeant
...
Ralph Hollister
...
Gordon Scott
...
Lieut. Phipps
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Storyline

During the First World War, British combat pilot Dick Courtney mocks his commanding officer Major Brand for being too cautious, unaware that Brand is tormented by the requirement of his command that he send young men to their likely deaths in substandard aircraft and with insufficient training. When Brand is transferred, Courtney becomes the commanding officer and quickly realizes the burden Brand labored under. When Courtney's best friend, Douglas Scott, asks him to spare his newly arrived and inexperienced brother Gordon Scott from combat duty, Courtney cannot justify doing so. A rift grows between the friends as Courtney realizes the tragic demands of his job. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Young Eagles-boy aces of Flanders' days-riding the heavens at dawn- See more »

Genres:

War | Drama | Action

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 August 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flight Commander  »

Box Office

Budget:

$611,722 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the WB library was sold to Associated Artists in 1956 for television broadcast, the title was changed to 'Flight Commander' , which is the name of the book from which it was adapted, in order to avoid confusion with the similarly titled 1938 re-make The Dawn Patrol (1938). Perhaps for that same purpose, it still retains its new title in the Turner Classic Films Library, and in most cable and other off screen guides and information sources. See more »

Goofs

William Janney's character name is credited as "Gordon" on screen, but he is called "Donny" throughout. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand to Your Glasses! (Hurrah for the Next Man to Die)
(uncredited)
Music traditional
Lyrics adapted from poem "The Revel" by Bartholomew Dowling
Played on guitar by an unidentified airman and sung by an unidentified airman and others
Reprised a cappella by the airmen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not quite the greatest air epic ever, still a good one though
12 March 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having a fondness for a lot of Howard Hawks' films, there was an interest in seeing one of his earliest efforts (his ninth film in fact and his first talkie). 'The Dawn Patrol' is not one of Hawks' best and there is a preference for the 1938 film with Errol Flynn, despite there being the argument of it being pointless it did feel more polished, more natural and every bit as emotional.

1930's 'The Dawn Patrol' does suffer a little from limitations caused in the transition from silent to talkie. The sound quality is primitive and very static, a music score would have helped hugely with providing even more impact and most likely masking this issue. The script can come over as creaky and artificial, and the pacing also has its creaky moments and lacks tautness.

On the other hand, Hawks directs adroitly, and the photography and scenery have a grittiness and luminous quality at all. The flying sequences still come over as remarkably powerful and rousing today, and most of the script is thoughtful and gripping, heavy-handedness wasn't too big an issue here.

'The Dawn Patrol' has a compelling story, perfectly conveying the futility and passion of war, the comrades' horrors and conflicts and showing grace even under pressure.

Characters are not stereotypes in any way, instead compellingly real characters with human and relatable conflicts. The acting is remarkably good for such an early talkie, of course there is some theatricality which to me wasn't that grave a problem. Can find nothing to fault Richard Barthelmess, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr or Neil Hamilton, who all perform with authority and poignancy.

Overall, a good film if not the greatest air epic. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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