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The Hour Before the Dawn (1944)

A beautiful Austrian refugee in England--who is also a Nazi agent--marries a scholarly English pacifist. He lives near a secret military base she needs to get information about so she can help in Hitler's planned invasion of England.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Jim Hetherton
...
Dora Bruckmann
...
Roger Hetherton
...
May Heatherton
Henry Stephenson ...
Gen. Hetherton
Philip Merivale ...
Sir Leslie Buchanon
...
Kurt van der Breughel
...
Freddy Merritt
David Leland ...
Tommy Hetherton
Aminta Dyne ...
Hertha Parkins
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Storyline

A beautiful Austrian refugee in England--who is also a Nazi agent--marries a scholarly English pacifist. He lives near a secret military base she needs to get information about so she can help in Hitler's planned invasion of England.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

espionage | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

W. Somerset Maugham's most savage portrait of a dangerous woman!

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1944 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Hora Antes do Amanhecer  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

Quotes

Jim Hetherton: Those who want to fight can. I won't.
Gen. Hetherton: You're not serious.
Jim Hetherton: Of course I'm serious. You all know how I feel. It's nothing new. I hate war and I can have no part in it.
Sir Leslie Buchanon: We all hate war, Jim. It's just there are some things we hate even more. Things we can't go on living with.
[Looks at the radio]
Sir Leslie Buchanon: Things like, well, you heard just now.
Jim Hetherton: You all despise me, don't you?
Roger Hetherton: Don't talk rough. We don't despise you. We're just... just trying to understand, that's all.
Jim Hetherton: Of course, I'm sorry. you've always been ...
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Connections

Referenced in Still Life 2 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Beer Barrel Polka
(Roll Out the Barrel)
Music by Jaromir Vejvoda (1927)
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Wladimir A. Timm
Led by Binnie Barnes during an air raid
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User Reviews

 
A Good Idea Gone Wrong
3 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Pacifist Franchot Tone marries émigré (!?) Veronica Lake. Franchot won't go to war. Veronica is fighting a clandestine war for Adolf Hitler. Will Franchot survive the mental trauma of THE HOUR BEFORE THE DAWN of his consciousness that fair Veronica has been up too Nazi accented no good?

Usually, a Somerset Maugham story will adapt well to the screen, and offers its actors to play a character of a little more depth than usual. While Franchot, playing a pacifist of real principles, gets a good role (and does well with it), somebody at Paramount really had it in for Veronica Lake (or, at least, her star image), and she is stuck with a cardboard Nazi to play, and, rather shockingly, some of the most convoluted hair styles ever. I guess Washington was serious, when they decreed that the Lake hairstyle (which, when imitated, allegedly got caught in factory machinery) was a threat to the war effort. Because, there is no peekaboo hair here. Just Pipp Longstocking braids, wound around her head in odd patterns.

The plot here is how a decent guy and pacifist come around to being a bomber pilot, taking the war to the Nazis. It's all rather corny, unfortunately, and some of the plot twists belong in a Repubic serial, rather than a picture that is intended to be serious.


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