Sog.: da The Flight Commander di John Monk Saunders; Scen.: Dan Totheroh, Howard Hawks, Seton I. Miller; F.: Ernest Haller; Mo.: Ray Curtis; Scgf.: Jack Okey; Eff. Spec.: Fred Jackman; Mu.: Rex Dunn (non accred.); Int.: Richard Barthelmess (Capitano Dick Courtney), Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Douglas Scott), Neil Hamilton (maggiore Brand), Frank McHugh (Flaherty), Clyde Cook (Bott, il barista), James Finlayos (Mac, sergente sul campo), Gardner James (Ralph Hollister), William Janney (Gordon Scott, fratello di Douglas), Edmund Breon (luogotenente Phipps), Jack Ackroyd, Harry Allen (meccanici), Dave O’Brien (pilota); Prod.: Robert North, Hal B. Wallis per First National Pictures, The Vitaphone Corporation; Pri. pro.: 10 luglio 1930 (New York); D.: 95′.
35mm. L.: 2853 m. D.: 104′. Bn
Dawn Patrol was very interesting because it was my first experience with sound. I had not worked since the coming of sound because the producers didn’t know if I could work with dialogue. I had never had any theatrical experience. I myself wrote almost the entire scenario, and during the shooting, everyone kept telling me: “It’s not good dialogue, it’s not dramatic. Everything is flat. Everything you’re doing is going to be flat.” No one liked the film because none of the characters cried or screamed. When the editing was finished, the studio had so little confidence in the movie, they dispensed with the premiere.
They preferred to release it discreetly, and then it turned out to be the best film of the year, and then they got into the habit of screening it for other directors and saying: “That’s what good dialogue is like.”
Howard Hawks, from Entretien avec Howard Hawks, edited by Jacques Becker, Jacques Rivette, François Truffaut, “Cahiers du Cinéma”, n. 56, February 1956
As disappointing as it may seem, The Dawn Patrol is for Hawks what Daisy Kenyon was for Otto Preminger – in terms of form, the film contains very successful sequences (like the extraordinary ballet of the old aircraft in full battle). Many other subtle and powerful sequences reveal the bright mind behind them. (…) The Dawn Patrol is certainly an important work for understanding Hawksian themes (groups of men bound by manly friendship and danger), but it is also a film that is uneven in terms of expression.
Jean-Claude Missiaen, Howard Hawks, Editions Universitaires, Paris, 1966