The Dawn Patrol (Warner Bros.) (1938)

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CURRENT PUBLICITY — "THE DAWN PATROL’ (Opening Day) Dawn Patrol; Starring Errol Flynn, Opens Today “The Dawn Patrol,’ Warners’ new aviation story, has its first local showing today at the Strand Theatre. A full-bodied action drama—it marks the return of Errol Flynn to the adventurous type of role which made him famous. “The Dawn Patrol” is a story of British wartime aviation, a moving and exciting compound of the pitiful, heedless gallantry of youth and the calmer courage of maturity. It relates the typical history of a squadron of the British Royal Flying Corps during a few fateful months of 1915—a period when the average life of combat pilots over the western front was only four-and-one-half flying hours. It was a time when raw and hastily trained recruits were, in a constant, deadly chain, sent forth to almost certain death as soon as they reported for service. It tells particularly the stories of the only two well-trained and comparatively veteran pilots in the outfit, Courtney and Scott, played respectively by Flynn and David Niven. Genuine buddies for a long time, the pair become implacable enemies when Courtney, duty-bound to do so as the commander of the squadron, orders aloft a group of novice flyers among whom is Scott’s beloved younger brother. The boy does not return from his first dawn patrol and Scott is unable to forgive his erstwhile pal. Courtney, however, eventually attempts to make up with his old buddy when the latter has been chosen to undertake a solo bombing mission far behind the German lines, from which it seems impossible that he can return alive. As commander, Courtney cannot himself volunteer for the flight, but he gets Scott drunk and then, against all the rules of the service, takes off himself on the hazardous mission. Some of the greatest aerial warfare scenes ever filmed show Courtney beating a swarm of German pursuers to his objective, blowing up a train, a munitions factory and acres of ammunition dumps, and then trying to wing his way homeward through the encircling net of German planes. In addition to Flynn and Niven, the remarkable all male cast assembled by Warner Bros. includes Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, Melville Cooper, Barry Fitzgerald, Carl Esmond, Peter Willes, Morton Lowry, James Burke and Michael Brooke (the Earl of Warwick). The production was directed by Edmund Goulding from a script prepared by Seton I. Miller and Dan Totheroh, which was based on a story by John Monk Saunders. (Holdover Story) “Dawn Patrol” Held Over “The Dawn Patrol,’ Warner Bros. thrilling Wartime aviation epic which has been playing to capacity audiences since it opened Friday at the Strand Theatre, will be held over for a second week, the management announces. Starring Errol Flynn, with David Niven, Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, and Melville Cooper heading the supporting all-male cast, the picture hits a new high in thrilling film fare. It centers about the 59th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, a small group of daring aviators whose lifetime in the air is about four and a half hours. Each dawn, some of these men go out on patrol duty, and about half of them return. With their nerves under this constant ordeal, their philosophy of life is “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Hailed by the local critics as one of the year’s outstanding film productions, “The Dawn Patrol” was adapted by Seton I. Miller and Dan Totheroh from the original story by John Monk Saunders, and directed by Edmund Goulding. Mat 202—30c ERROL FLYNN AND BASIL RATHBONE—in a tense scene from the Warner Bors.. drama of wartime aviation, ''The Dawn Patrol," at the Strand Theatre. Mat 301—45c HEAD CAST AT STRAND—(left to right) Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, Errol Flynn, and David Niven, who play the leaders of Royal Flying Corps in "The Dawn Patrol," a Warner Bros. production opening today at the Strand Theatre. (Review) Dawn Patrol? Thrills Strand Audiences With Breath-Taking Action In The Sky Right up on top of your “must-be-seen” list goes “Dawn Patrol,” Warner Bros. thrilling document of British wartime aviation, which opened to a jammed Strand audience yesterday afternoon. The great cast headed by Errol Flynn and including David Niven, Basil Rathbone and Donald Crisp, plus some of the most breath-taking aerial combat scenes ever taken, all serve to make “The Dawn Patrol” one of the more important offerings of the season. Flynn, playing the dashing Courtney, who together with Niven, form a pair of hell-forleather flying fools of the British Royal Flying Corps, continue day after day, night after night, to wreak havoc with the enemy while death takes its toll regularly among their less experienced comrades. When finally Flynn is grounded after being promoted to command of the 59th Squadron, and is forced soon after to send Niven’s green kid brother to his death in the air, Nevin turns on his old buddy and renounces him. How Flynn, in a great sequence, takes over Niven’s deathsentence assignment in a great lone foray in enemy territory, creates a climactic moment which for sheer pulse-pounding drama, has yet to be equalled. Scenes which attain greatness are when Flynn flies alone through the night to bomb the enemy munitions works while enemy pursuit planes and anti-aircraft swarm about him, and another is the closing scene when Flynn’s helmet and goggles are dropped into the squadron’s headquarters as tribute by an enemy flyer. Here is the sort of story that strikes home. The right tone has been captured by the producers, and the cast has done its part perfectly. The insecure feeling of here today — gone tomorrow — pervades throughout. The frolicking fliers who night after Mat 104—15c ERROL FLYNN (Current Feature) 100 Words Take 5 Weeks To Film night before they take off on their death-dealing dawn patrols, join in mad fun, are real men whose spirit it is easy to understand. Flynn and Niven as the veteran airmen are outstanding, while Rathbone and Crisp as grounded commandants whose duty it is to send these men to their flying deaths carry off honors in their characterizations. Others in the cast who share in the glory due to go with this film are Melville Cooper, Barry Fitzgerald, Carl Esmond, Peter Willes, Morton Lowry, Michael Brooke, and James Burke, an almost entirely British cast. Edmund Goulding has done a real job with his direction while the script which Seton I. Miller and Dan Totheroh prepared from the original by John Monk Saunders must have been a fine one with which to work. Less than 100 words in a motion picture script may often set the studio producing the picture a task or series of tasks which will require weeks of work and the expenditure of huge sums of money to complete. Laconically set forth, for instance, in the script of “The Dawn Patrol,” the Warner Bros. production opening today at the Strand Theatre, are such directions as these: “Scene 445: Closeup of Courtney (Errol Flynn) in plane. He looks over side at freight train below. Pulls bomb lever. “Scene 446: Insert bomb rack as bomb drops. “Scene 447: Explosion of freight train and bridge.” These and other directions for action shots in the same picture probably didn’t take the scenarists, Dan Totheroh and Seton I. Miller, more than ten minutes all told to put on paper. But those few words meant for the studio five weeks of work and a sizeable dent in its treasury before the action scenes so casually set forth had been put on to celluloid film. For “The Dawn Patrol” is a spectacular story of the exploits of the British Royal Flying Corps during the World War, and a wartime aviation story, naturally, must have its aerial acrobatics, its dog fights, its bombings and shots showing the effects of the bombings. As for the scenes quoted above, shooting the closeup of Flynn in the cockpit of the plane was comparatively simple. Photographing the bomb dropping from its rack was perhaps even simpler. But blasting a freight train [8] and bridge was an entirely different matter. Further on in the script, the screen writers described the bomb Famous Explorer Visits Stars ing of a munitions factory by British fliers. Three lines described the bombing but it wasn’t quite that simple to film it. Mat 206—30c SIR HUBERT AND LADY WILKINS, during a recent Hollywood visit, chatted with Basil Rathbone, Errol Flynn and Director Edmund Goulding on the set of "The Dawn Patrol,'' which is now showing at the Strand Theatre.