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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.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screen play), Dan Totheroh (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Errol Flynn ... Courtney
Basil Rathbone ... Major Brand
David Niven ... Scott
Donald Crisp ... Phipps
Melville Cooper ... Sgt. Watkins
Barry Fitzgerald ... Bott
Carl Esmond ... Hauptmann Von Mueller
Peter Willes Peter Willes ... Hollister
Morton Lowry ... Donnie Scott
Michael Brooke Michael Brooke ... Capt. Squires
James Burke ... Flaherty
Stuart Hall ... Bentham
Herbert Evans ... Mechanic
Sidney Bracey ... Major Brand's Orderly (as Sidney Bracy)
Leo Nomis 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Patrulha da Alvorada See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Courtney (Errol Flynn) says that his father was a professor of biology at Queen's. In fact, Errol Flynn's father, Theodore Thomson Flynn, was a professor of biology, first at the University of Tasmania and later at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In Tasmania he did pioneering work on the declining population of the thylacine, or "Tasmanian wolf", which went extinct in 1936. See more »

Goofs

When Captain Courtney is rescued, he jumps on the wing and hangs onto the strut. When the actual aircraft takes off, the dummy used is much further forward on the wing than Captain Courtney was. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Courtney: Man is a savage animal, who, periodically to relieve his nervous tension, tries to destroy himself.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fiona on Fire (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Lyrics by George Asaf
Sung by the airmen in the club
Reprised by arriving replacement airmen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flynn shines in serious drama of WWI aviators...
12 April 2005 | by DoylenfSee 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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