Tag Archives: Robert Lord

Black Legion

Cover of "Black Legion"

Cover of Black Legion

Directed by Archie Mayo & Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Produced by Robert Lord
Written by Story: Robert Lord
Screenplay: Abem Finkel & William Wister Haines
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Dick Foran
Erin O’Brien-Moore
Ann Sheridan
Music by W. Franke Harling, Howard Jackson & Bernhard Kaun (all uncredited)
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing by Owen Marks
Studio Warner Bros.
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) January 17, 1937 (NYC)
January 30, 1937 (US)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Black Legion is a 1937 film that depicts an offshoot of the notorious Ku Klux Klan. Many of the messages contained in the film are just as poignant today as they were 70+ years ago, that is that in times of trouble that it is easy to blame and scapegoat migrants. Having recently read the ramblings of a Melbourne white supremacist who among other things labelled me a ‘race traitor’, shows that despite what some people say, deep racism is still around. Just by browsing the Anti-Bogan website you can see just how warped some people still are about these things.

In Black Legion Humphrey Bogart plays Frank Taylor, a factory worker who gets passed over for a promotion at his job, which goes to Polish American Henry Brandon. Taylor ends up falling for the propaganda of the Black Legion, a clandestine white supremicist organisation. Thanks to the ideas promoted by the Legion, Taylor begins to blame foreigners for his woes. There are consequences for Taylor as he loses his wife and child and then murders his best friend after letting slip his membership of the Legion.

The film is very well acted and the young Bogart is great. This was still a year or so before he became a big star. The film is a little preachy, but it is still totally absorbing.

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The Dawn Patrol

Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Jack Warner (executive producer)
Hal B. Wallis (executive producer)
Robert Lord (associate producer)
Written by John Monk Saunders (story)
Seton I. Miller
Dan Totheroh
Starring Errol Flynn
Basil Rathbone
David Niven
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date December 24, 1938
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Dawn Patrol is an excellent film about the futility of war and the waste of human life that they cause. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone are great in this but it is David Niven as Scotty who steals the film in my opinion. Scotty goes from being a happy-go-lucky pilot who thinks that war is an adventure and not really caring about anything. His persona slightly changes after he is recovered  and he briefly confronts the German who shot him down, but it is not until his own brother has enlisted and is sent up with the squadron to tackle the hated Von Richter and his men in what will be certain doomed for an inexperienced rookie that his character changes completely.

The film is not so much about war, although there are some great aerial scenes (many of which were taken from the 1930 Howard Hawks version), but about the way it changes the men who have to fight it.