THE DAWN PATROL (1938) B/W 103m dir: Edmund Goulding

w/Errol Flynn, David Niven, Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, Melville Cooper, Barry Fitzgerald, Carl Esmond, Peter Willes, Morton Lowry, Michael Brooke

From The Movie Guide: "A superbly-cast remake of [director Howard] Hawks's 1930 picture of the same name, THE DAWN PATROL concerns a dashing, conscience-haunted flight commander, Capt. Courtney (Errol Flynn), of the 59th Squadron in France during WWI. He and his men fly the most dangerous aircraft --- a source of Courtney's anger which he attempts to cover with banter and cynical humor --- creating unsafe odds for the fliers and contributing to their untimely deaths. The fatalities mount so drastically that raw recruits with little flying experience are sent into the skies to battle without much chance of survival. Between the daily dawn patrols that decimate the command, the fliers face death with stiff upper lips and scotch and sodas at the club bar, where a battered gramophone continually grinds out the plaintive 'Poor Butterfly.' In another room sits Maj. Brand (Basil Rathbone), the deskbound commander whose job it is to assign fliers to each dawn patrol, mechanically writing their names on a blackboard and methodically erasing those killed each day. Later, when Brand is reassigned, Courtney is called on to replace him; now it is he who must decide which flier will take off to face a certain death. Though the original story of Hawks's film was retained, the dialogue was rewritten and polished to great improvement, chiefly in the relationship between Courtney and his best pal, Lt. Scott (David Niven). As in the original (or in Hawks's AIR FORCE), the remake is very much concerned with fraternity, loyalty, and courage in the face of death."