7.6/10
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33 user 21 critic

The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Not Rated | | War, Drama | 24 December 1938 (USA)
British flying aces in World War I contend with the harsh realities of war.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Major Brand
...
Scott
...
Phipps
...
Sgt. Watkins
...
Bott
...
Hauptmann Von Mueller
Peter Willes ...
Hollister
Morton Lowry ...
Donnie Scott
Michael Brooke ...
Capt. Squires
...
Flaherty
...
Bentham
...
Mechanic
...
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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maj. Brand, played by Basil Rathbone, is seen wearing the ribbon for the Military Cross. Rathbone himself was awarded this medal for bravery during the First World War as a second lieutenant. Capt. Courtney (Errol Flynn) and later Lt. Scott (David Niven) are also seen with ribbons, but Flynn and Niven were too young to serve in the war. Niven attended Sandhurst Military Academy and then served for two years on Malta. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to England and re-joined the army. Flynn's weak heart got him a 4-F deferment and he never served during the war, a fact he always said he regretted. See more »

Goofs

The amount of oil and dirt on Courtney's face changes several times between scenes. The most obvious is when he goes up stairs to console another pilot who has lost a friend. As he goes up his face is slightly dirty, as he enters the room it is noticeably dirtier and when he comes back down it is much cleaner. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Courtney: Hooh, I did't understand a word, did you?
Lt. 'Scotty' Scott: No, I took German in school but...
Capt. Courtney: So did I, but I can't understand the way these foreigners speak it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in State Fair (1962) 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

 
Flynn shines in serious drama of WWI aviators...
12 April 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

DAWN PATROL was a forerunner of the "men facing war" kind of dramas that became a steady source of entertainment in books and films of the decades that followed, particularly after WWII.

But this takes place during World War I in 1915, when aviation was still young and men in the flying machines were sent into battle against greater odds than anyone could imagine.

Basil Rathbone plays the commander breaking under pressure who has to see young men under his command die in battle against the Germans. He is delighted to be relieved of his command by the young flier who has been chiding him for sending inexperienced men into battle--Errol Flynn.

Flynn soon finds himself hounded by the same sort of pressures facing Rathbone. His best friend (David Niven) is a fun loving pal who has a change of heart when his younger brother (well played by Morton Lowry), turns up for immediate duty despite a scant amount of training. Under Flynn's orders, the boy goes into battle the following day and is killed. This event sets up the dramatic conclusion which has Flynn willing to sacrifice himself and single-handedly take on a most dangerous mission across enemy lines.

Edmund Goulding keeps the story going from one excellent scene to another and all of the performances are first rate. Donald Crisp is less stuffy than usual in a good supporting role.

But it's Errol Flynn who makes the strongest impression in a role that calls for some fine moments of acting. His emotions seem genuine and his performance is crisp and mature. Indeed, one of his best performances in a well written role.

The ultimate message of the film is the anguish and futility of war and it comes across without being preachy. Definitely a Flynn film that is well worth watching.


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