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The Dawn Patrol (1930)

Passed | | Action, Drama, War | 20 August 1930 (USA)
World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

John Monk Saunders (story "The Flight Commander"), Dan Totheroh (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... Dick Courtney
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Douglas Scott
Neil Hamilton ... Major Brand
Frank McHugh ... Flaherty
Clyde Cook ... Bott
James Finlayson ... Field Sergeant
Gardner James ... Ralph Hollister
William Janney ... Gordon Scott
Edmund Breon ... Lieut. Phipps
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Storyline

During the First World War, British combat pilot Dick Courtney mocks his commanding officer Major Brand for being too cautious, unaware that Brand is tormented by the requirement of his command that he send young men to their likely deaths in substandard aircraft and with insufficient training. When Brand is transferred, Courtney becomes the commanding officer and quickly realizes the burden Brand labored under. When Courtney's best friend, Douglas Scott, asks him to spare his newly arrived and inexperienced brother Gordon Scott from combat duty, Courtney cannot justify doing so. A rift grows between the friends as Courtney realizes the tragic demands of his job. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"HERE'S TO THE NEXT MAN TO DIE" Will it be the smiling kid with a sweetie in Blighty, or the baby-faced air "vetran" of a few hours? (Print Ad- Albany Evening Journal, ((Albany, NY)) 1 August 1930) See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

20 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flight Commander See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$611,722 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the WB library was sold to Associated Artists in 1956 for television broadcast, the title was changed to 'Flight Commander' , which is the name of the book from which it was adapted, in order to avoid confusion with the similarly titled 1938 re-make The Dawn Patrol (1938). Perhaps for that same purpose, it still retains its new title in the Turner Classic Films Library, and in most cable and other off screen guides and information sources. See more »

Goofs

William Janney's character name is credited as "Gordon" on screen, but he is called "Donny" throughout. See more »

Quotes

Major Brand: Officious overdressed brass hat! Orders, orders. Thinks the 59th can't do it, eh? Well, the 59th can do anything he can think up! It's a slaughterhouse, that's what it is, and I'm the executioner!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Butterfly
(uncredited)
Written by Raymond Hubbell and John Golden
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Barthelmess and Fairbanks Are Superb
2 December 2007 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Terrific war film starring Richard Barthelmess as a veteran British pilot in France whose job is to make raids behind enemy lines in what are basically suicide runs. He complains to his commander (Neil Hamilton) about the green kids he gets, but of course war is hell and there's nothing anyone can do. It seems like every day they send out 5 or 6 planes and 2 or 3 come back. The guys drink heavily to hide their anguish. Barthelmess and Hamilton fight constantly until Hamilton is promoted and Barthelmess gets his desk job.

Now it's his job to send out the fliers. His best friend (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) becomes the squad leader as the green kids keep showing up for duty. Then Fairbanks' kid brother arrives. What follows breaks up the friendship between Barthelmess and Fairbanks, but the war drones on.

Excellent cinematography of aerial fights and bombing raids. The ending is simply superb, one full of heroism and irony.

Barthelmess and Fairbanks are excellent, and Hamilton is also good. Supporting cast includes Frank McHugh, William Janney, James Finlayson, Clyde Cook, and Gardner James.


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