Academy Awards 1931 -
Best Original Screenplay: John Monk Saunders
Basil Rathbone is the major who sends his brave boys to face certain death each morning in this dark, yet jubilant World War I drama. Errol Flynn and David Niven are the hard-drinking aces in the squad who wish they had a few more days to teach the new pilots a few basic moves before they're sent up to face the dreaded Baron Richter. It's tragedy and camaraderie as the boys bond in the face of their own mortality and sing sentiments like "Hurrah for the next who dies" while getting drunk at the local inn. A peculiar respect and admiration develops between the German fliers and these brave Brits, which lends this war film unusual poignancy. If this all sounds an awful lot like a Howard Hawks film, that's because it's essentially a remake of his 1930 version. Perhaps in making this film director Edmund Goulding wanted to get away from his reputation as a director of soapy women's melodramas. If so, he succeeded admirably: there's breathtaking aerial combat scenes, strong performances, clever dialogue, and not a single woman in the cast.
THE DAWN PATROL is the harrowing tale of World War I British fighter pilots whose jobs are to keep the German planes behind enemy lines. The film is an engaging drama about the stresses and friendships of wartime, with fine performances by an all-star cast.
Theatrical Release |
World War I
Howard Hughes sued Warners Brothers claiming that the idea for the story of THE DAWN PATROL came from his 1930 film, HELL'S ANGELS. He ultimately lost the suit when it was proven that John Monk Saunders had scripted THE DAWN PATROL for Edmund Goulding with Ronald Colman in mind.
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