S.: John Monk Saunders. Sc.: H.Hawks, Dan Totheroh, Seton I.Miller. F.: Ernest Haller. M.: Ray Curtiss. Mus.: Leo Forbstein. In.: Richard Barthelmess (Dick Courtney), Douglas Fairbanks Jr (Douglas Scott), Neil Hamilton (Major Brand), William Janney (Gordon Scott), James Finlayson (il sergente), Clyde Cook (Bott), Gardner James, Edmund Breon, Frank McHugh. P.: First National/Warner Bros. 35mm.
The Dawn Patrol was Howard Hawks’s first sound feature, after seven silent films. The film divides into seemingly static interior scenes shot by a camera still confined in a soundproof booth, and exterior flight scenes in which the sound of the plane engines could disguise the camera’s noise and thus enable tracking and other camera movements as in silent action sequences.
Dawn Patrol in tone and tempo is Journey’s End applied to the Royal Flying Corps. Here again the spectator finds well-bred English gentlemen running up against the grim realities of war and always remaining true to the best Oxford traditions. […] Howard Hawks has handeled his material intelligently with only insiders able to estimate the probable difficulties under which much of the picture was made. Camera work is excellent throughout and the effects are vivid […]”. (Variety, 7/16/1930)