Movie Of The Day: The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Sorry it’s taken so long for a new “Movie Of The Day”. I’ve been quite busy in real life and trying to catch up with the plethora of movie-related news on the site.

Who said remakes were a recent trend? The Dawn Patrol, a World War I movie directed by Edmund Goulding (A Night At The Opera), is based on an eponymous film helmed by Howard Hawks (Scarface) a mere eight years before. Adapted by Seton I. Miller (Pete’s Dragon) and Dan Totheroh (The Devil And Daniel Webster), The Dawn Patrol is set in 1915 and relates the routine of fighter pilots enrolled in the 39th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, focusing primarily on two of its members.

The film stars some of the era’s biggest names, including Errol Flynn (The Adventures Of Robin Hood), David Niven (The Guns Of Navarone) and Basil Rathbone (a dozen Sherlock Holmes movies in the 30s-40s). Trailer and review after the jump.

Mmmh, well there’s not much I can say really. The Dawn Patrol holds up quite well today, mostly thanks to some superb acting. The movie’s plot is pretty good, even though it’s been seen in a hundred other war films (maybe not before, but certainly since). As for action, there isn’t much of it, this being primarily a talk-driven film, but the big action sequence featuring Flynn and Niven’s characters bombarding a German airstrip is overly long and ultimately boring. Sure, they didn’t have the techniques and budget we enjoy today, and this representation is probably more realistic than cool-looking explosions with bombastic music, but it still is pretty boring.

But once again, you don’t watch this film for the action. The Dawn Patrol is a classic war film that has aged very well indeed and features some truly wonderful actors doing a truly wonderful job. So while it isn’t a very impressive movie by today’s standard’s, it remains highly engrossing and a worthwhile viewing experience.

Verdict: A brilliantly acted, efficient film. The Dawn Patrol holds a 7.6/10 on IMDB and isn’t rated on Rotten Tomatoes.

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