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

Roaring into each blood-red dawn . . . fighting for women they had never seen . . . for love they might never know ! ! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Von Richter is obviously a reference to Manfred von Richtofen, the iconic World War I German ace, who was nicknamed "The Red Baron" by friend and foe. See more »

Goofs

The opening shot identifies the time as 1915. From the first, the song played over and over on the phonograph is "Poor Butterfly." Sources seem to agree that this song was not published until 1916, and not recorded until later still. See more »

Quotes

Lt. 'Scotty' Scott: It's a funny war.
Phipps: [sadly] No, not awfully.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Adventures of Errol Flynn (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand to Your Glasses! (Hurrah for the Next Man to Die)
(ca 1850) (uncredited)
Music by Alfred Domett, adapted from a Beethoven dirge
Lyrics adapted from the poem "The Revel" by Bartholomew Dowling
Sung a cappella by the airmen in the club
See more »

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User Reviews

Errol Flynn's Best Performance
5 July 2004 | by (Bob Morrell, Tonbridge, England) – See all my reviews

The Dawn Patrol - based on a book my John Monk Saunders is the story of a RFC squadron in France during the Great War.

If has three good central performances - Basil Rathbone showing an array of hyper tense emotions - David Niven changing from a happy go lucky drunken fool to a hardened leader of men and the best, by far, Errol Flynn as a guilt ridden hero whose nerves are torn to shreds.

Flynn has had so much bad press over the years and people forget that he was a great actor in the early days. This film demonstrates that superbly. There are no women in this film, no distractions. It's about men up against it, and having to watch their comrades die needlessly against overwhelming odds.

The film has moments of silence, laughter, terror all mixed together with some superb skewed camera angles in the mess to give a feeling of drunken hopelessness.

Flynn's relief at seeing Niven when he thought he was dead is a moving performance. His quiet moments when he talks about England, his control when trying to convince Nivens younger brother to go up for the first time - these scenes show real presence and talent. You feel for him and all around him.

Coming out just before the beginning of WW2 it would have given the home audiences great understanding of what they faced - a hard and bloody task, where young men will die as surely as the older ones will order them to fight.

This film should be reissued on DVD and shown around the world - it's that good. Let's write some more scripts like this and start making some decent films again.


46 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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