IMDb > Before Dawn (1933)

Before Dawn (1933) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
6.2/10   149 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 33% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Garrett Fort (screen play)
Edgar Wallace (from the story by)
View company contact information for Before Dawn on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 August 1933 (USA) See more »
Sinister forces compete to find the million dollars in gold hidden by recently deceased gangster Joe Valerie in his family's old dark house 15 years earlier, Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Engagingly stirring and unusual little picture! See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Stuart Erwin ... Dwight Wilson
Dorothy Wilson ... Patricia

Warner Oland ... Dr. Paul Cornelius
Dudley Digges ... Horace Merrick
Gertrude Hoffman ... Mattie (as Gertrude W. Hoffman)
Oscar Apfel ... O'Hara

Frank Reicher ... Joe Valerie

Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Marble
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stanley Blystone ... Police Car Driver (uncredited)
Ed Brady ... Paddywagon Cop (uncredited)
Tom Brower ... Detective Schultz (uncredited)
Pat O'Malley ... Detective Brady (uncredited)
Ted Oliver ... Police Desk Sergeant Hamilton (uncredited)

Irving Pichel ... Police Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Policeman in Car (uncredited)

Directed by
Irving Pichel 
Writing credits
Garrett Fort (screen play)

Edgar Wallace (from the story by)

Ralph Block  screenplay (uncredited)
Marion Dix  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Shirley C. Burden .... associate producer (as Shirley Burden)
Merian C. Cooper .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Lucien N. Andriot (photographed by) (as Lucien Andriot)
Film Editing by
William Hamilton (edited by)
Set Decoration by
Carroll Clark (settings)
Van Nest Polglase (settings)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Walter Mayo .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Philip Faulkner Jr. .... recordist (as Philip J. Faulkner Jr.)
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph F. Biroc .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Charles Bohny .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Music Department
Max Steiner .... musical director
Max Steiner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
60 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #1333-R, 29 August 1935 for re-release) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Hollywood Reporter news items had Gregory Ratoff, Hobart Cavanaugh and Lal Chand Mehra as cast members, but they did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. At one point, several arrested psychics exited a police van, but only the back of their heads were visible. One was wearing a turban, a common costume for Mehra.See more »
Dwight Wilson:[to Patricia] Say, baby, I'm for yuh. My face hasn't been so red since I went to my first burlesque show.See more »
The Wedding MarchSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
27 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
Engagingly stirring and unusual little picture!, 28 March 2002
Author: tashman from Los Angeles

BEFORE DAWN could be a popular little cult picture if it were shown more often. A Medium (effectively played by the dependable Dudley Digges) and his extra-sensorially-gifted daughter are consulted on the frightening occurrences taking place in a, yes, old and mysterious mansion. Here's the catch, though, this is 1933, and, by golly, the daughter is played for real. I've seen dozens and dozens of television detective shows dealing with this exact subject, but those are all from the 70s-thru-current times, and I know the audience was surprised to hear they were actually utilizing ESP in a serious way. Dorothy Wilson was the attractive and intelligent ingenue raised from the ranks of the RKO secretarial pool, as legend has it. Her role might have been played by any number of marvelous actresses - Maureen O'Sullivan, Frances Dee, Jean Parker, Helen Mack - come to mind, but I'm sure glad it wasn't. Wilson is just as attractive, and yet she projects an almost Margaret Lindsay-level intelligence! She's calm and confident about her gifts, and yet she's no stranger to spook house, candle carrying fright. In addition to her old reliable father, she comes to count on detective Stu Erwin, who has learned to accept her gifts and understands the value of her assistance on the case. Veteran Jane Darwell has an effective bit, but Gertrude Hoffman (making her American film debut) impresses, adding much to the proceedings with a bitter, almost inarticulate portrayal. And stealing central focus at all times is the none-other-like-him great Warner Oland. So trustworthy, so sage, so warm as Charlie Chan, we were very fortunate that in this Post-Chan world, Oland had been given so many opportunities to use his "good" for so much marvelous, entertaining "evil." He was allowed to infuse that same trustworthy, sage warmth into a colorful array of motion picture heavies that take us unexpectedly into a darker world, as in SHANGHAI EXPRESS, DANGEROUS PARADISE, the FU MANCHU entries, and in a host of silent films. To the wise viewer, one may distrust him the moment he enters the film, but to those unsuspecting audiences who may only know his Chan films, beware! BEFORE DAWN and Warner Oland certainly keep you wondering. This is an engagingly stirring and unusual little picture!

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (6 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Before Dawn (1933)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Kings & Queen Persepolis The Secret of Treasure Island Spider-Man 2 The Black Widow
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.