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The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Approved  |   |  War, Drama  |  24 December 1938 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,847 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 19 critic

British flying aces in World War I contend with the harsh realities of war.

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Major Brand
...
Scott
...
Phipps
Melville Cooper ...
Sgt. Watkins
...
Bott
Carl Esmond ...
Hauptmann Von Mueller
Peter Willes ...
Hollister
Morton Lowry ...
Donnie Scott
Michael Brooke ...
Capt. Squires
James Burke ...
Flaherty
Stuart Hall ...
Bentham
Herbert Evans ...
Mechanic
Sidney Bracey ...
Major Brand's Orderly (as Sidney Bracy)
Leo Nomis ...
Aeronautic Supervisor
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Storyline

In 1915 France, Major Brand commands the 39th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The young airmen go up in bullet-riddled "crates" and the casualty rate is appalling, but Brand can't make the "brass hats" at headquarters see reason. Insubordinate air ace Captain Courtney is another thorn in Brand's side...but finds the smile wiped from his face when he rises to command the squadron himself. Everyone keeps a stiff upper lip. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They roared through the dawn . . . with death on their wings ! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 December 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Patrulha da Alvorada  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the Nieuports used in the movie is now on display at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker Alabama. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning the planes shown landing and the planes that taxi up to the hangers are different. See more »

Quotes

Phipps: [Opens package dropped by enemy plane] It's his helmet and goggles. It means a very gallant gentleman died this afternoon. And for what? What have all these deaths accomplished? So many fine chaps have died in this war and are going to die in future wars.
[pause]
Phipps: That's all, gentlemen.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Salvador (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Lyrics by George Asaf
Sung by the airmen in the club
Reprised by arriving replacement airmen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superior clone of the 1930 version
24 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a stirring and exciting story of the courage shown by pilots who know they or their friends will likely be killed on one of their missions, and the anguish their commanders feel when sending them to their deaths. Set on the battlefields of WWI, the plot duplicates the 1930 version starring Douglass Fairbanks, Jr. In fact, whole sequences (especially flying scenes and the climactic attack) were lifted directly from the earlier film. (Note: although the 1930 version was originally entitled "Flight Command," and is occasionally screened under that title by TCM, IMDb also calls it "Dawn Patrol," probably to distinguish it from the 1940 Robert Taylor "Flight Command" about Navy pilots.)

Although it's a close call, I would recommend this later film over its predecessor, for the superior performances of the lead actors. Errol Flynn (as Dick Courtney) was more involving than 1930's Richard Barthelmess, a veteran actor whose performance retains the somewhat stilted quality of the silent film era. While Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was excellent in the 1930 version as pilot Doug Scott, David Niven in the same role positively sparkles in several more light-hearted, even comedic scenes. And although Neil Hamilton played Major Brand well in the original film, at least early on in the story, the role calls for a less-sympathetic performance, and who could be less sympathetic than Basil Rathbone at his sneery best?

Furthermore, current (as of 2012) releases of 1930's "Flight Command / Dawn Patrol" are not as visually clear in all scenes as the later version, and also have a lot of scratchy sounds and low rumble in the soundtrack, which are especially distracting in quieter scenes. Hopefully, remastered versions of both films will someday be available.

Still, this is only nit-picking, as both the 1930 and 1930 versions of "Dawn Patrol" are excellent. But given the choice, go with Flynn and Niven of 1938.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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