The Dawn Patrol (1938)
The Dawn Patrol is a 1938 American war film, a remake of the pre-Code 1930 film of the same name. Both were based on the short story "The Flight Commander" by John Monk Saunders, an American writer said to have been haunted by his inability to get into combat as a flyer with the U.S. Air Service. The book of short stories, War Patrol by A.S. Long published in the 1930s also bears a striking resemblance in plot and characters to the Flynn/Niven version of the film, although it is never credited as a source. The film, directed by Edmund Goulding, stars Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and David Niven as Royal Flying Corps fighter pilots in World War I. Of the several films that Flynn and Rathbone appeared in together, it is the only one in which their characters are on the same side. Although sparring as in their other roles, their characters are fast friends and comrades in danger. The Dawn Patrol's story romanticizes many aspects of the World War I aviation experience that have since become clichés: white scarves, hard-drinking fatalism by doomed pilots, chivalry in the air between combatants, the short life expectancy of new pilots, and the legend of the "Red Baron."