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Dawn Patrol
     

The Dawn Patrol

Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Richard Barthelmess, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., James Finlayson

 
Set during World War I, The Dawn Patrol is a study of the pressures and pitfalls of authority. A British Royal Flying Corp squadron commander (Neil Hamilton) is compelled by the higher-ups to send his boys out in dangerous, rickety aircraft. He is tormented by the responsibility, but does his duty as prescribed, and is branded a "butcher" by his top pilot

Overview

Set during World War I, The Dawn Patrol is a study of the pressures and pitfalls of authority. A British Royal Flying Corp squadron commander (Neil Hamilton) is compelled by the higher-ups to send his boys out in dangerous, rickety aircraft. He is tormented by the responsibility, but does his duty as prescribed, and is branded a "butcher" by his top pilot (Richard Barthelmess). Hamilton is transferred, and with grim glee hands his command over to Barthelmess. Suddenly Barthelmess finds himself as much an unwilling "butcher" as a predecessor, and in exercising his authority he is alienated from his pilot buddies. Things come to a head when Barthelmess sends the brother of his best friend (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) on a suicide mission. The lad is killed, and the friendship is shattered. To make amends, Barthelmess gets Fairbanks drunk and flies the next mission himself--and is shot down while in battle with the fearsome German ace Von Richter. Now more understanding of his fallen companion, Fairbanks takes over command of the squadron. Because of the 1938 remake of the same title, the 1930 Dawn Patrol has been retitled Flight Commander for television.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Howard Hawks' 1930 film The Dawn Patrol (retitled Flight Commnander because of the 1938 remake) plays remarkably well in the twenty-first century, considering its age. As with most movies made at the dawn of the sound era, the camera work is a bit static at times, and some theatrical artificiality creeps into the performances -- there are moments where the viewer rightfully feels as though they're watching a silent movie, with just a bit too much visual emoting. But despite a few creaky joints, the film never loses its forward momentum, and Hawks makes good use of the available camera movement as well as music -- specifically as source music, to excellent dramatic effect, and this would have been a new feature in movies of the era that holds up well eight decades later. There are still inter-titles to explain scene changes, and a few other artifacts of the period, but otherwise this version of The Dawn Patrol stands fairly well next to its remake -- Neil Hamilton is fine as the harried commander of a Royal Flying Corp squadron during the middle of World War I, and Richard Barthelmess gives a good performance as his friend-turned-nemesis, the top pilot in the squadron but also his harshest critic. On them, with some help from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Barthlemess's best friend, rests most of this drama, and that drama, despite its age, is still compelling. Where this film does differ somewhat from the remake is its relative brevity -- 82 minutes versus 103 -- and also a tighter focus on the grimness of the story. Owing to differences in the script and their approaches to acting, Barthlemess's Courtney shows little of the devil-may-care spirit with which Errol Flynn (being Errol Flynn) couldn't help but imbue his character with in the remake. There are some moments of comedy, and out-and-out joy, but as a product of 1930 as opposed to 1938, eight years closer to what most adults regarded as a shattering event, the overall tone of this picture is, understandably, more thoroughly earnest. Indeed, even James Finlayson -- best remembered across the four subsequent generations for his comedy work in association with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy -- is totally believable to modern audiences as a tough ground crew sergeant, without the picture losing a beat of its message and atmosphere.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/29/2013
UPC:
0883316690840
Original Release:
1930
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:48:00
Sales rank:
28,564

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Barthelmess Dick Courtney
Douglas Fairbanks Douglas Scott
James Finlayson Field Sergeant
Neil Hamilton Major Brand
William Janney Gordon Scott
Edmund Breon Lt. Bathurst
Gardner James Ralph Hollister
Clyde Cook Bott
Frank McHugh Flaherty
Jack Ackroyd Mechanic
Howard Hawks Stunt Pilot
Harry Allen Mechanic

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director,Screenwriter
Ray F. Curtiss Editor
Leo F. Forbstein Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Fred Jackman Special Effects
Seton Miller Screenwriter
Robert North Producer
Jack Okey Production Designer
John Monk Saunders Screenwriter
Dan Totheroh Screenwriter
Hal B. Wallis Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Dawn Patrol
1. Chapter 1 [1:24]
2. Chapter 2 [:51]
3. Chapter 3 [5:10]
4. Chapter 4 [3:55]
5. Chapter 5 [2:44]
6. Chapter 6 [3:33]
7. Chapter 7 [2:42]
8. Chapter 8 [3:42]
9. Chapter 9 [1:54]
10. Chapter 10 [3:37]
11. Chapter 11 [2:34]
12. Chapter 12 [2:52]
13. Chapter 13 [2:55]
14. Chapter 14 [1:38]
15. Chapter 15 [4:12]
16. Chapter 16 [3:57]
17. Chapter 17 [3:44]
18. Chapter 18 [1:47]
19. Chapter 19 [3:34]
20. Chapter 20 [2:58]
21. Chapter 21 [3:21]
22. Chapter 22 [2:16]
23. Chapter 23 [3:10]
24. Chapter 24 [2:32]
25. Chapter 25 [2:48]
26. Chapter 26 [2:40]
27. Chapter 27 [4:49]
28. Chapter 28 [2:22]
29. Chapter 29 [2:50]
30. Chapter 30 [3:08]
31. Chapter 31 [4:12]
32. Chapter 32 [2:02]
33. Chapter 33 [2:51]
34. Chapter 34 [3:08]
35. Chapter 35 [3:08]
36. Chapter 36 [2:43]

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