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Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 30 December 1942 (USA)
A gentle widower, enraged at Nazi atrocities against his peaceful Norwegian fishing village, escapes to Britain and returns leading a commando force against the oppressors.

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(screen play), (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Judith Bowen
...
Mrs. Bergesen
...
Admiral Bowen (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
...
Johan Bergesen
Robert Coote ...
Robert Bowen (as Flying Officer Robert Coote RCAF)
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Hilma Arnesen
...
German Captain
Elisabeth Fraser ...
Anna Korstad
Richard Derr ...
Gunnar Korstad
Erville Alderson ...
Johan Garme
Barbara Everest ...
Mrs. Olav
Rod Cameron ...
Pastor
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Karl Arnesen
...
Schoolteacher
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Storyline

Erik Toresen, widower and fishery observer, leads a quiet life in a small Norwegian town; but after the Nazi occupation, German abuses lead Erik to form a Resistance group. After a killing, Erik flees to the wilderness and finds a secret German air base; he resolves to escape to England with its location. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HEROES in the eyes of the world! MEN in the arms of their woman! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Commandos Come at Dawn  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alexander Knox, credited eighth as the German captain, also provides the uncredited voice of the off-screen Chaplain of the British naval vessel, as well as that of the off-screen closing narrator. See more »

Goofs

When Eric Toresen (Paul Muni) left his daughter at Mrs. Olav's house and went into the mountains, he left behind the jacket he arrived with. Later after coming back down from the mountain, and without returning to Mrs. Olav's place, he has his jacket on again. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Bergesen: [about the Nazis] They steal blankets, pots, pans, food, everything! They kidnap your husband! A great nation? Conquerors? THEIVES - that's what they are! They ought to be handled in a police court!
EriK Toresen: Finally, Mrs. Bergesen, a police court will be set up and the traffic will be enormous.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: For long past the kingdom of Norway had been a domain of peace.

Content with their pattern of honesty and industry they were a people who feared nought and envied nobody.

So it was in the summer of 1939.... See more »

Connections

Featured in Reach for Glory (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Out to Pick the Berries
Written by Ann Ronell
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User Reviews

 
Solid but somewhat overlong morale-booster
24 September 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

With a story by Hornblower creator C.S. Forrester and a screenplay by future doorstop novelist Irwin Shaw, 1942's Commandos Strike at Dawn is a solid but overlong wartime propaganda picture that benefits from a good location (Canada standing in for Norway, giving it a similar feel to parts of 49th Parallel), a strong cast (an understated Paul Muni, Ray Collins, Lillian Gish, Cedric Hardwicke and the ever likable Robert Coote among them, while Alexander Knox does double duty as a cold Nazi and the voice of the commandos' padre delivering a pre-raid sermon) but ultimately just takes too long to get where its going. Certainly the commando raid itself is a long time coming and not particularly excitingly mounted despite obvious extensive cooperation from the Canadian armed forces, although the last few minutes are almost staged as a pure western with commandos and Nazis instead of cowboys and Indians. En route it understandably overplays the acts resistance for morale-boosting purposes, but it the first half is elevated by some of the always-undervalued director John Farrow's typically complicated but unostentatious long tracking shots. For classical music buffs, Igor Stravinsky's Four Norwegian Moods was based on his rejected score for the film, replaced here by a more overtly stirring Oscar-nominated effort by Louis Gruenberg and an uncredited John Leipold.


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