Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1930 version of the First National picture “Dawn Patrol,” which was renamed “Flight Commander” when Warner Bros. sold the film to TV to prevent confusion with the 1938 remake starring Errol Flynn. according to the intro by TCM host Robert Osborne.

The movie was based on a story by John Monk Saunders (later novelized by Guy Fowler) and directed by Howard Hawks, with adaptation and dialogue by Dan Totheroh, Howard Hawks and Seton Miller. Photography was by Ernest Haller, aerial photography by Elmer Dyer, edited by Ray Curtiss, art director Jack Okey, the aeronautic supervisor was Leo Nomis, general music director was Erno Rapee, special technical effects by Fred Jackman and the Vitaphone Orchestra was directed by Leo F. Forbstein.

The film’s credits list Richard Barthlemess, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Neil Hamilton, Clyde Cook, James Finlayson, Gardner James, William Janney and Edmund Breon.
Here’s a link to Mary Mallory’s post about Dick Grace, Hollywood’s Sky Pilot that discusses many early aviation films.  Mary passes along the names of the pilots in his “Squadron of Death.” Hallock Rouse, Ross Cooke, Clement Phillips, Charles Snoffer, Frank Baker, B. M. Spencer, Lonnie Hay and E. D. Baxter


Mary also passes along this ad for “Dawn Patrol,” which says the film used 40 stunt fliers.

Oct. 5, 2015, Mystery Photo
Monday’s mystery guest is truly a mystery. He has a small speaking part, but alas, he isn’t identified in the credits or in the IMDB listing of the mystery film. Perhaps the illustrious Brain Trust  can shed some light on his identity.

Update: Our young lad remains unidentified. He plays a character named Blythe at roughly the 25-minute mark who says he has 7 1/2 hours experience flying combat.



Oct. 6, 2015, Mystery Photo

Tuesday’s mystery fellow is also unidentified in the credits and in IMDB. He has a much larger role than Monday’s mystery chap.

This mystery chap remains unidentified. He plays a character named Spires in a scene that begins at roughly the 45-minute mark. He has been wounded and is helped from his plane. He delivers the news that Von Richter has “moved in across the line.”
Michael Ryerson suggests John Arledge and “All Quiet on the Western Front” (alas, wrong movie), and Patrick suggests Sidney Blackmer. Again, Monday’s mystery chap isn’t identified anywhere and I’m hoping that the Brain Trust will recognize him.



And for Wednesday, we have a less mysterious chap.

This is, of course, James Finlayson.

Tuesday’s mystery guest is, alas, unidentified anywhere and I’m hoping the Brain Trust can shed some light on his identity. Julie Merholz suggests Victor Jory and Chrisbo suggests “a young Millard Mitchell.”  Jory is an interesting guess – although our mystery guest doesn’t sound like Jory.

Oct. 8, 2015, Mystery Photo


For Thursday, our mystery character is identified, but not the actor, either in the film credits or on IMDB. He would certainly get a credit today. Again, I hoping that the Brain Trust will be able to identify him.

Update: Many people identified this fellow as Howard Hawks in a cameo appearance, and there is a precedent in various sources that state Hawks played a German pilot in the film.

Here’s the problem.

A detail of Howard Hawks and Richard Barthlemess on the set of “Dawn Patrol,” via Getty Images.

And a detail of a second photo.


Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Howard Hawks and Richard Barthlemess on the set of “Dawn Patrol,” via Getty Images.

In both images (which were probably taken in the same session), Hawks is clean-shaven, while the actor playing Von Richter has a mustache. Is this Hawks? I’ll say it isn’t.

Mary Mallory has identified the mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest and has a good idea about Tuesday’s mystery guest as well. More information to come on Saturday after the name of the mystery movie is revealed.

The Brain Trust roll call: David Inman (Wednesday’s mystery guest), McDee (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Michael Ryerson (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Jenny M (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Sarah (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Patrick (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest) and Dennis Gilliam (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest).

Michael Ryerson says: Note to Lee Ann: I’ve always liked John Arledge too, perhaps especially his last turn in Dark Passage where he delivers a touching (if somewhat maudlin) soliloquy in the bus station about disconnectedness and alienation (under the threatening gaze of a suspicious policeman played by Ian MacDonald/Frank Miller/High Noon).

Oct. 9, 2015, Mystery Photo

And for Friday, we have Joe Flynn in “McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force.”

And finally, Richard Barthlemess.

Thursday’s mystery photo was particularly interesting. The actor is not identified, but IMDB credits the mystery director with a cameo as “German Pilot,” but is it this German pilot? Tune in tomorrow for more.

Brain Trust roll call: Gary Martin (mystery movie and director’s cameo), Barbara Klein (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery guest, director’s cameo), Rick (mystery movie), Patrick (director’s cameo), Benito (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery guest) and Dan Nather (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest).

Barbara suggests that Monday’s mystery chap is Dave O’Brien, famed in all the Pete Smith shorts and “Reefer Madness,” who is listed in IMDB in an uncredited bit part. I looked at that possibility before I posted the photo and really, I don’t see a resemblance.

BTW, TCM recently aired the later remake of this mystery film and it’s surprising how much footage was reused. What’s even more interesting is that the shots are much sharper and clearer in the remake than they are in this film. A question to ponder.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. My guess would be John Arledge and perhaps a small part in All Quiet on the Western Front.


  2. stevo3 says:

    could the movie be wings?


  3. beachgal says:

    Looks like he could be a young Lew Ayres but it’s only Monday and you would never be so kind to us with a Lew Ayres this early in the week!


  4. Patrick says:

    Shot in the dark: A very young Sidney Blackmer.


  5. aryedirect says:

    He looks to be the future star of that anti-war masterpiece, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. Lew Ayres.


  6. Sheila says:

    could the film be ‘Captured!’? this one is crazy difficult! ; )


  7. juliemerholz says:

    Looks like Victor Jory’s smirk.


  8. Chrisbo says:

    Tuesday’s fellow looks like a young Millard Mitchell.


  9. juliemerholz says:

    Renegades 1930?


  10. Benito says:

    Service cap Monday, goggle marks from an open cockpit and RAF wings Tuesday equals WW 1 Western front aviation movie. THE LION HAS WINGS (1939)?


  11. Lee Ann says:

    Haven’t figured out the movie yet but this is a shout out to Michael Ryerson for his guess of John Arledge. Mr. Arledge is one of my favorites–he’s especially good in “Twelve Crowded Hours”. He’s effective when playing against type in “Murder on the Bridle Path”. Anyway, thanks for bringing his name to the attention of other movie lovers!


  12. Mary Mallory says:

    James Finlayson today.


  13. Mary Mallory says:

    Is it Lilac Time?


  14. Mary Mallory says:

    It’s actually THE DAWN PATROL, I just saw this recently on TCM. Those aren’t actors, those are actually pilots, because they had to do the flying in the film, those accidents weren’t done by models or special effects. Here’s an ad from Lantern,:

    Neither one is Dick Grace, but let’s go to my article on him for names of pilots.


  15. David Inman says:

    Jimmy Finlayson for Wednesday.


  16. McDee says:

    I believe Weds is James Finlayson and the film is Dawn Patrol with Richard Barthelmess and Doug Fairbanks Jr. No clue about Monday’s chap.


  17. Well, Jimmie Finlayson today puts us in The Dawn Patrol but moves me no closer to coming up with a name for Monday nor Tuesday’s faces. Note to Lee Ann: I’ve always liked John Arledge too, perhaps especially his last turn in Dark Passage where he delivers a touching (if somewhat maudlin) soliloquy in the bus station about disconnectedness and alienation (under the threatening gaze of a suspicious policeman played by Ian MacDonald/Frank Miller/High Noon).


  18. Mary Mallory says:

    I think Tuesday is Gardner James, there is an image of him with Barthelmess in a DAWN PATROL photo on ebay.


  19. Jenny M says:

    Wednesday looks like James Finlayson in Dawn Patrol (1930).


  20. Gary Martin says:

    If you agree that this is Hell’s Angels, a damn good film, I will identify the mystery men of the cast.


  21. Sarah says:

    It’s James Finlayson in “The Dawn Patrol” (1930).


  22. Floyd Thursby says:

    This is James Finlayson in the 1930 version of “Dawn Patrol.”


  23. Patrick says:

    Wednesday is no mystery to Laurel and Hardy fans; that’s the great James Finlayson. Is it The Dawn Patrol from 1930?


  24. A hopefully educated guess: Wednesday: Comic James Finlayson in the 1930 version of Dawn Patrol.


  25. Gary Martin says:

    This is Dawn Patrol and the Thursday gent is director Howard Hawks.


  26. Barbara Klein says:

    “The Dawn Patrol” (1930)

    Monday – could be Dave O’Brien
    Tuesday – not a clue
    Wednesday – James Finlayson
    Thursday – Howard Hawks


  27. Rick says:

    the 1930 version of The Dawn Patrol


  28. Patrick says:

    I think that’s Howard Hawks himself playing Von Richter.


  29. Benito says:

    Wednesday’s doofus is James Finlayson, so it’s THE DAWN PATROL (1930).


  30. Dan Nather says:

    Okay, Wednesday’s mystery guy is James Finlayson, and the film is THE DAWN PATROL (1930). But, for the life of me, I can’t identify any of the other actors. I’ll have to see if I have anything in my personal archive on the film . . .


  31. juliemerholz says:

    Fredric March in The Eagle and the Hawk 1933


  32. Mary Mallory says:

    Richard barthelmess today, and it does look somewhat like Howard Hawks as German pilot.


  33. ed says:

    Friday is Richard Barthelmiss


  34. Barbara Klein says:

    Richard Barthelmess


  35. Patrick says:

    We have Richard Barthelmess on Friday.


  36. Don Danard says:

    Richard Barthelmess is the latest Mystery Person.


  37. beachgal says:

    I am on who has not a clue what film this is but Thurs pilot looks a tad like director Raoul Walsh


  38. Dewey Webb says:

    The Dawn Patrol


  39. Well as I’ve already committed to The Dawn Patrol, I guess I can call an earnest Richard Barthelmess today and, ha! is that Howard Hawks in the German garb?


  40. LC says:

    I’m a little late to the party this week but it looks like The Dawn Patrol (1930) w/Richard Barthelmess, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr & Neil Hamilton.


  41. Dan Nather says:

    Is TCM still showing the TV print of this film? The Warner Archive DVD release of THE DAWN PATROL was a complete remastering of the film, including the sound from the original Vitaphone discs, and the original opening credits.


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