The Dawn Patrol Reviews
Courtney and Major Brand are constantly at odds during World War I. Courtney is worn out from seeing his countrymen brought in, sent up in airplane dog fights, and brutally shot down. It has gotten so bad that most of his soldiers have less than 15 hours of flight experience before flying into war. Courtney sinks deeper and deeper into depression as he watches his troops be murdered and the missions keep coming from Major Brand...
"You don't think I enjoyed losing those boys do you?"
Edmund Goulding, director of Grand Hotel, The Trespasser, The Broadway Melody, Dark Victory, That Certain Woman, Riptide, and The Devil's Holiday, delivers Dawn Patrol. The storyline for this picture was very well done and a nice war time drama. The characters and script were well written and executed. The cast includes Errol Flynn, Basil Rathborn, David Niven, Donald Crisp, and Barry Fitzgerald.
"Those are the orders."
I recently came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and couldn't wait to see this Errol Flynn classic. He is very good in this movie. He's often a fun loving, charming character; but in this, he plays a very dramatic easy to root for character. I loved his performance and recommend catching this.
"He's killed all of our men."
A remake of Howard Hawks' "The Dawn Patrol" (1930) (sometimes known as "Flight Commander"). Not sure why it needed to be remade - it was great as it was.
This version doesn't add anything. Plot is almost to-the-letter identical to the original. Flying sequences and cinematography here are about as good, even though this movie was made 8 years later.
Not that there's anything wrong with this movie. Still a very gritty and accurate look at life, and death, in a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) fighter squadron. Details fairly well the burden of command, of sending pilots to almost certain death.
One area where this version trumps the original is in the performances. The original's performances weren't bad, but weren't great either. Here the performances are superb, especially from Errol Flynn, David Niven and Basil Rathbone.
As said, not sure why this was (re)made, but a great movie nevertheless.
"Man is a savage animal who, periodically, to relieve his nervous tension tries to destroy himself."-Capt. Courtney (Errol Flynn)
It's all rather dialogue-rich stuff, built on the banter of indomitable friends (and rueful commanders) between missions, snatching merriment where they can before going back up again against bad odds, with measures of cheerful determination and the customary "war is hell" platitudes somewhat staidly presented. It nevertheless sails along very well upon the sturdy wheels of a solid script and pro acting by Rathbone, Niven, and especially Flynn, in fine form and perfectly cast to embody the chipper heroics of these aces.
Includes a lot of nifty dogfight footage, and some evocative location cinematography. Well worth your time.