Donald Crisp’s Invisible Dog

(Now with FIXED SOUND)

Fiona immediately felt, on seeing the above scene from THE DAWN PATROL (1938), that I should excerpt it for Shadowplay. And, obviously, I agreed.

When did Donald Crisp go from the scary guy in BROKEN BLOSSOMS (and the scary portrait in THE NAVIGATOR) to the lovely cuddly guy in THE DAWN PATROL and GREYFRIARS BOBBY? Maybe it was when he started pretending to be Scottish. This obscuring Celtic veil got Crisp a few jobs — the above-mentioned pooch film, it’s alternate-universe version CHALLENGE TO LASSIE (what if Greyfriars Bobby was a collie?) and arguably HOW GREEN IS MY VALLEY (since in Hollywood terms, Scottish and Irish = Welsh) and MARY OF SCOTLAND and THE LITTLE MINISTER. But it’s not certain he couldn’t have grabbed those roles anyway just by his facility for doing a not-terrible Scottish accent (he’s one of the few actors trying to sound Welsh in HGIMV).

Anyway, this scene is adorable, as good as James Mason chasing his last pea round the plate in MURDER BY DECREE.

I ought to have more to say about this film soon, because we absolutely loved it. It’s much more Hawksian than the Hawks version.

7 Responses to “Donald Crisp’s Invisible Dog”

  1. In theory I should be offended by your last sentence, but I may actually, or at least partially, agree. It’s a long time since I’ve seen the Goulding though.

  2. Am I the only one for whom the sound disappears twenty seconds in?

  3. Simon, Fixed it!

    Dan, I think Hawks was still finding and formalizing his thing in 1930, so it’s not surprising a later version of TDP gets closer to that form. For instance, I don’t think The Crowd Roars would have allowed its hero to sink into self-pity so far if Hawks had made it later. There is the counter-example of Rio Bravo, but Dino is balanced by Wayne in that one.

  4. Damn, still faulty. It’s Vimeo’s doing, the original recording is fine. Working on it…

  5. Fixed! Perfect.

  6. I’m happy with THE CROWD ROARS, and don’t mind that Hawks hadn’t codified his subject matter completely though most of the 30s. But THE DAWN PATROL is a little unpracticed with dialogue, and dialogue delivery is one of the ways that Hawks best expresses himself. I still like it…but what’s surprising to me is that the Goulding takes on some of that Hawksian immediacy and urgency. I should really see it again.

  7. Goulding channels the Warner house style really effectively, which one wouldn’t really expect from his other work, except that he was always versatile. It may be that which helps him get Hawksian (as well as all the recycled footage from the actual Hawks film).

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