7.6/10
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37 user 21 critic

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:

Roaring into each blood-red dawn . . . fighting for women they had never seen . . . for love they might never know ! ! 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

This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Columbus Tuesday 31 July 1956 on WTVN (Channel 6), in Tucson Friday 10 August 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9), in Los Angeles Friday 14 September 1956 on KNXT (Channel 2), in Albuquerque Saturday 15 September 1956 on KOAT (Channel 7), in New York City Sunday 23 September 1956 on WABD (Channel 5), in San Francisco Tuesday 25 September 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Cincinnati Monday 8 October 1956 on WKRC (Channel 12), in Miami Friday 9 November 1956 on WTVJ (Channel 4), in Boston Sunday 11 November 1956 on WBZ (Channel 4), in Portland OR Tuesday 25 December 1956 on KOIN (Channel 6), and in San Francisco Friday 28 December 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5). 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: [drunkenly] Gentlemen, keep the war going please. We're going to roll in a few gutters.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in State Fair (1962) 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

 
Superior clone of the 1930 version
24 January 2012 | by NavyOrionSee all my reviews

This is a stirring and exciting story of the courage shown by pilots who know they or their friends will likely be killed on one of their missions, and the anguish their commanders feel when sending them to their deaths. Set on the battlefields of WWI, the plot duplicates the 1930 version starring Douglass Fairbanks, Jr. In fact, whole sequences (especially flying scenes and the climactic attack) were lifted directly from the earlier film. (Note: although the 1930 version was originally entitled "Flight Command," and is occasionally screened under that title by TCM, IMDb also calls it "Dawn Patrol," probably to distinguish it from the 1940 Robert Taylor "Flight Command" about Navy pilots.)

Although it's a close call, I would recommend this later film over its predecessor, for the superior performances of the lead actors. Errol Flynn (as Dick Courtney) was more involving than 1930's Richard Barthelmess, a veteran actor whose performance retains the somewhat stilted quality of the silent film era. While Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was excellent in the 1930 version as pilot Doug Scott, David Niven in the same role positively sparkles in several more light-hearted, even comedic scenes. And although Neil Hamilton played Major Brand well in the original film, at least early on in the story, the role calls for a less-sympathetic performance, and who could be less sympathetic than Basil Rathbone at his sneery best?

Furthermore, current (as of 2012) releases of 1930's "Flight Command / Dawn Patrol" are not as visually clear in all scenes as the later version, and also have a lot of scratchy sounds and low rumble in the soundtrack, which are especially distracting in quieter scenes. Hopefully, remastered versions of both films will someday be available.

Still, this is only nit-picking, as both the 1930 and 1938 versions of "Dawn Patrol" are excellent. But given the choice, go with Flynn and Niven of 1938.


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