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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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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 »
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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

There was a real 59th Squadron (referred to as No. 59 Squadron) in the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War. Formed in 1916, it was deployed to France in 1917, flying R.E.8s (not the Nieuports seen in the film). The R.E.8 was a two-seater bombing reconnaissance aircraft. 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 The Waltons: The Quilting (1976) 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

 
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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