Dawn (1928 film)

Last updated

Dawn
Movie poster for 1928 silent film Dawn.jpg
Movie poster
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced by Herbert Wilcox
Written by Reginald Berkeley (play)
Robert Cullen
Herbert Wilcox
Starring Sybil Thorndike
Ada Bodart
Gordon Craig
Marie Ault
Cinematography Bernard Knowles
Production
company
Distributed by Woolf & Freedman Film Service
Release date
1 March 1928
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Dawn is a 1928 British silent war film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Sybil Thorndike, Gordon Craig and Marie Ault. It was produced by Wilcox for his British & Dominions Film Corporation. The film was made at Cricklewood Studios with sets designed by Clifford Pember.

Contents

Based on a play by Reginald Berkeley, this film tells the story of World War I martyr Edith Cavell. Sybil Thorndike stars as Cavell, a nurse who risked her own life by rescuing British Prisoners of War from the Germans. When Cavell was captured and sentenced to be executed, it sparked international outrage, even from neutral nations.

Production

Herbert Wilcox had just made Mumsie (1927), starring Pauline Frederick. Wilcox wanted to make another film with Frederick and suggested Noël Coward's The Vortex but Frederick disliked the role. Wilcox then saw the statue of Edith Cavell in London and decided to make a film of her life.

Frederick was enthusiastic at first but dropped out. Some claimed it was because there was an outcry at the thought of an American playing Cavell. [1] Wilcox claims Frederick was scared off after the German ambassador said that Germany would boycott her films. [2] She was replaced with Sybil Thorndike. Filming proved difficult.

Censorship

One of the most controversial British films of the 1920s, Dawn was censored because of what objectors considered its brutal depiction of warfare and anti-German sentiment. Pressure was exerted by both the German Ambassador and the British Foreign Secretary Austen Chamberlain to prevent the film being passed for exhibition. [3]

Edith Cavell's sister criticised the film saying it would promote hate. [4] However, George Bernard Shaw praised the film. [5] When eventually released, the film was a big success.

Wilcox returned to the subject in 1939 with Nurse Edith Cavell starring Anna Neagle.

Cast

Related Research Articles

Edith Cavell British nurse (1865-1915)

Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and for helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

Anna Neagle English stage and film actress and singer

Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.

Sybil Thorndike British actress

Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike was an English actress who toured internationally in Shakespearean productions, often appearing with her husband Lewis Casson. Bernard Shaw wrote Saint Joan specially for her, and she starred in it with great success. She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931, and Companion of Honour in 1970.

Lewis Casson

Sir Lewis Thomas Casson MC was an English actor and theatre director, and the husband of actress Dame Sybil Thorndike.

Marie Ault British actress

Marie Ault was a British character actress of stage and film.

Herbert Wilcox Film producer and director from Britain

Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE, was a British film producer and director who was one of the most successful British filmmakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the films he made with his third wife Anna Neagle.

William Devlin (actor)

William Devlin was a Scottish actor who appeared widely in films and television in a screen career that lasted from 1937 until 1967. The son of an architect, he was born in Aberdeen in 1911. An older brother was Lord Devlin.

<i>Sixty Glorious Years</i>

Sixty Glorious Years is a 1938 British colour film directed by Herbert Wilcox. The film is a sequel to the 1937 film Victoria the Great.

<i>Madame Pompadour</i> (1927 film) 1927 film by Herbert Wilcox

Madame Pompadour is a 1927 British silent historical drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Dorothy Gish, Antonio Moreno and Nelson Keys. The film depicts the life of Madame Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV of France. It was the first film to be shot at the newly christened Elstree Studios.

<i>The Lady with a Lamp</i> 1951 film by Herbert Wilcox

The Lady with a Lamp is a 1951 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding and Felix Aylmer. The film depicts the life of Florence Nightingale and her work with wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War.

<i>Nurse Edith Cavell</i> 1939 film by Herbert Wilcox

Nurse Edith Cavell is a 1939 American film directed by British director Herbert Wilcox about Edith Cavell. The film was nominated at the 1939 Oscars for Best Original Score.

<i>Nell Gwyn</i> (1926 film) 1926 film by Herbert Wilcox

Nell Gwyn is a 1926 British romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Dorothy Gish, Randle Ayrton and Juliette Compton. It was based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen and follows the life of Nell Gwynne, the mistress of Charles II. Wilcox later made a second version of the film in 1934, Nell Gwynn which starred Anna Neagle.

<i>The Martyrdom of Nurse Cavell</i>

The Martyrdom of Nurse Cavell is a 1916 Australian silent film about the execution of nurse Edith Cavell during World War I.

<i>The Murder of Captain Fryatt</i> 1917 film by John Gavin

The Murder of Captain Fryatt is a 1917 Australian silent film about the execution of Captain Charles Fryatt during World War I from John and Agnes Gavin. It is considered a lost film.

Nurse Cavell is a 1916 Australian feature-length film directed by W. J. Lincoln about the execution of Edith Cavell during World War I. It was also known as Edith Cavell.

La Revanche, also known as The Vengeance, is a 1916 Australian feature-length film directed by W. J. Lincoln about the revenge sought by Belgian friends of Edith Cavell against the Germans during World War I. It was a sequel to Nurse Cavell (1916), using many of the same cast and crew.

<i>The Woman the Germans Shot</i>

(for the American sound film on Edith Cavell, see Nurse Edith Cavell)

Fame is a 1936 British comedy film directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and starring Sydney Howard, Muriel Aked and Miki Hood. It was made at Elstree Studios.

Cavell Nurses' Trust is a charitable organisation which supports the welfare of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1917 in the memory of British nurse Edith Cavell.

Merrill G. White was an American film editor and screenwriter. He also co-directed the 1957 film Ghost Diver.

References

  1. "Bittiard-Marker Who Became Famous Film Producer". Sunday Times (Perth) (2374). Western Australia. 8 August 1943. p. 7 (THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE). Retrieved 17 August 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  2. Wilcox p 73
  3. Low p.66-68
  4. "EDITH CAVELL FILM". The News . X (1, 430) (HOME ed.). Adelaide. 13 February 1928. p. 7. Retrieved 17 August 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "GEORGE BERNARD SHAW CALLS PRODUCER OF "DAWN" A FILM POET". The Gundagai Independent (3080). New South Wales, Australia. 9 September 1929. p. 2. Retrieved 17 August 2017 via National Library of Australia.

Bibliography