IMDb > Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)
Commandos Strike at Dawn
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Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Irwin Shaw (screen play)
C.S. Forester (story)
View company contact information for Commandos Strike at Dawn on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 January 1943 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Not as good as EDGE OF DARKNESS (1943), but still entertaining... See more (16 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Muni ... Eric Toresen

Anna Lee ... Judith Bowen

Lillian Gish ... Mrs. Bergesen

Cedric Hardwicke ... Admiral Bowen (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)

Ray Collins ... Johan Bergesen
Robert Coote ... Robert Bowen (as Flying Officer Robert Coote RCAF)
Rosemary DeCamp ... Hilma Arnesen

Alexander Knox ... 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

George Macready ... Schoolteacher
Arthur Margetson ... German Colonel
V.S. Godfrey ... Armed Forces (as Captain V.S. Godfrey RCN)

C.M. Cree ... Armed Forces (as Commander C.M. Cree RCN)
R.A. Fraser ... Armed Forces (as Brigadier R.A. Fraser VD CRA)
C.T. Beard ... Armed Forces (as Commander C.T. Beard RCN [R])
Gus Sivertz ... Armed Forces (as Major Gus Sivertz)
L.E. Kemp ... Armed Forces (as Sergeant Major L.E. Kemp)
Mickey Miquelon ... Armed Forces (as Sergeant Major Mickey Miquelon)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Lloyd Bridges ... Young German Soldier (uncredited)
Ann Carter ... Solveig Toresen (uncredited)
John Farrow ... British Naval Officer (uncredited)
Norvald Flaaten ... Soldier pulling down German Flag (uncredited)

Eddie Hall ... German Soldier at the Sound Detector (uncredited)
Gertrude Hoffman ... Elderly Village Woman (uncredited)
Elsa Janssen ... Mrs. Korstad (uncredited)
George Lynn ... German Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Ferdinand Munier ... Mr. Korstad (uncredited)
Erik Rolf ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Walter Sande ... Otto - German Soldier (uncredited)
John Arthur Stockton ... Alfred Korstad (uncredited)
Philip Van Zandt ... Thirsty German Soldier (uncredited)
Crane Whitley ... German Soldier Taking Blankets (uncredited)

Directed by
John Farrow 
Writing credits
Irwin Shaw (screen play)

C.S. Forester (story)

Produced by
Lester Cowan .... producer
Original Music by
Louis Gruenberg 
Cinematography by
William C. Mellor (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Anne Bauchens 
Production Design by
Gordon Wiles (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Edward C. Jewell  (as Edward Jewell)
Costume Design by
Walter Plunkett (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Clarence Bricker .... assistant director (uncredited)
Harve Foster .... assistant director (uncredited)
Daniel McCauley .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Jack A. Goodrich .... sound recordist (as John Goodrich)
Special Effects by
Barney Wolff .... special effects (uncredited)
George DeNormand .... stunts (uncredited)
George Magrill .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Ned Scott .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
John Leipold .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Joseph Nussbaum .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Al Vaughan .... assistant to director (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
98 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Argentina:13 | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #8927)

Did You Know?

This film was one of a handful of movies that were all released around the same time that dealt with the Norwegian Resistance in World War II. The movies include They Raid by Night (1942) aka The Commandos Have Landed; Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942); First Comes Courage (1943) and Edge of Darkness (1943).See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Johan Garme:The herring will run, Germans or no Germans.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Reach for Glory (1962)See more »
Out to Pick the BerriesSee more »


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Not as good as EDGE OF DARKNESS (1943), but still entertaining..., 21 February 2008
Author: Peter Andres from Petersburg, Vasaria

Before William Woods' well-written novel THE EDGE OF DARKNESS was brought to the screen by Warner Bros. in 1943, John Farrow directed this interesting yet routine World War II propaganda film about courageous Norwegians under the heels of the Nazis for Columbia Studios a year earlier. The film lives up to its title—British and Norwegian commandos invade Norwegian soil in order to destroy a secret Nazi airfield—so it's worth watching.

Paul Muni delivers a solid performance as a kind Norwegian fisherman who plots to destroy the Nazi oppressors. The supporting characters, however, are cardboard cutouts compared to the complex characters in EDGE OF DARKNESS. Ray Collins plays a political gentleman who is tortured by the Nazis for his anti-Nazi views, Ann Carter (who later delivered a beautiful performance in 1944's THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE) plays Muni's little daughter, Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays a blustery admiral of the Royal Navy, Robert Coote plays a charming English soldier, and Lillian Gish is wasted in the cardboard role of Collins' wife. Alexander Knox plays the one-dimensional role of the Nazi commandant of the village, although Helmut Dantine would play a similar yet more complex role in EDGE OF DARKNESS. However, the urbane George MacReady, who regularly played villains in films like GILDA (1946) and Farrow's THE BIG CLOCK (1948), plays a good guy here for a change. Anna Lee, despite her fine acting in other films like HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) and HANGMEN ALSO DIE! (1943), is somewhat cloying as Muni's love interest and Hardwicke's daughter. It's too bad that John Farrow, who was married to the lovable Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan at the time, didn't cast his real-life wife in the role instead.

Farrow's direction of actors seems only competent yet his direction of cinematography, editing, and action scenes are superb. William C. Mellor's black-and-white cinematography, while not groundbreaking like Sidney Hickcox's imaginative cinematography in EDGE OF DARKNESS, is beautifully lit and uses tracking shots for maximum effect. The Canadian location shots of Vancouver Island help increase the film's authenticity. The editing is fast-paced and is similar to that of a Warner Bros. film at the time. The climactic battle on the airfield is awesome and is full of nice explosions of grounded Nazi airplanes and trucks. An interesting fact about the film is that Russian classical composer Igor Stravinsky, who composed the notorious ballet THE RITE OF SPRING (1913), originally composed the film's music score but it was rejected. Instead a saccharine yet Oscar-nominated score was composed by Louis Gruenberg and John Leipold. Stravinsky's unused score was later adapted into the stirring tone poem "Four Norwegian Moods."

However, COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN is typical of the propaganda films that Hollywood churned out at the time. For example, all the German vehicles contain crudely painted swastikas that you would only find in such films. Despite the heavy propaganda overtones and shallow characterizations, this film is worth watching today mainly due its exciting action scenes.

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