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Decision Before Dawn

Decision Before Dawn

By Patrick Samuel • January 30th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
DECISION BEFORE DAWN (DVD)

Release date: January 31st 2011
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 114 minutes
Year of production:1951

Director: Anatole Litvak

Cast: Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, Oskar Werner, Hildegard Knef, Dominique Blanchar

Not everyone in Germany was swayed by the tide of fascism in the wake of First World War and the rise of the Nazi power in the early 1930’s, there were those who tried in various ways to fight against it, either for moral or personal reasons.

Decision Before Dawn is a true story based on the novel Call It Treason by George Howe. It takes place in 1944, toward the end of World War 2 when the US was using prisoners of war to spy on the German army.

Among them is Happy (Oskar Werner), a young German idealist who no longer believes in the war they’ve been fighting and whose friend was killed by fellow German prisoners for expressing those very sentiments. There’s also Tiger (Hans Christian Blech), a thief who doesn’t mind swapping sides as long as he’s on the winning one.

Decision Before Dawn

They are recruited by Colonel Devlin (Gary Merrill) and trained by Monique (Dominique Blanchar) in espionage tactics to use against their former comrades. Devlin receives information about a new mission and sends in his two new recruits together with an American, Lieutenant Rennick (Richard Basehart) who has a strong distrust of Germans, but especially so with these two who have swapped sides.

Decision Before Dawn is a bit different to the many (propaganda) war films which came out of America during this time. Shot on location in places such as Munich, you can see the effects war has had on Germany. Many of the extras used were real life soldiers and prisoners of war and a lot of the equipment seen in the film are real rather than props. It contains more drama and suspense due to its espionage plot rather than shoot-‘em-up sequences and very good performances from Richard Basehart and Dominique Blanchar, but significantly so from Austrian actor, Oskar Werner, who in real life was drafted into the Wehrmacht.

decision

Thought provoking for its sympathetic view of Germans at a time when anti-German sentiments were rampant, Decision Before Dawn, though Oscar nominated for Best Picture in 1951 is mostly forgotten despite its unforgettable performances.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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