Film features aerial combat
The Waupaca Area Public Library will present “The Dawn Patrol” at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.
Dr. Jack Rhodes will introduce the movie, which is being shown in honor and in memory of all veterans of the United States Armed Services.
Admission is free, no reservations are required, and complimentary popcorn and theater treats will be served.
According to Rhodes, “The Dawn Patrol” was selected especially for its World War I setting, inasmuch as the country is currently observing the 100th anniversary of U.S. participation in that global conflict.
The film, directed by Edmund Goulding, is based on a short story, “The Flight Commander,” by John Monk Saunders, an American author who himself made several unsuccessful attempts to join the U.S. Air Service and engage in aerial combat. Rhodes notes that this film, considered by most critics to be the better of the two versions, is actually a remake of the 1930 Howard Hawks movie of the same name.
The 1938 movie stars Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, and David Niven, with strong supporting performances by Donald Crisp and Melville Cooper. Although produced in America, Rhodes says, the movie is about a British unit, the 59th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, as its inexperienced young pilots try to attack enemy targets, from an airbase in France, in 1915.
The movie incorporates new footage of staged aerial combat with interpolated scenes from the 1930 feature to produce rather authentic images of dogfights and strafing runs. Ultimately, according to Rhodes, the film is less about the action itself and more about the stress and anguish of military command.
With precision editing by Ralph Dawson and an insistent musical score by Max Steiner, “The Dawn Patrol” remains an effective evocation of the rigors and demands of wartime engagement.
For more information, call the library at 715-258-4414.