Golden Dawn (film)
|Directed by||Ray Enright|
|Written by||Walter Anthony|
|Based on||the operetta by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto A. Harbach.|
|Starring||Walter Woolf King
Noah Beery, Sr.
|Music by||Herbert Stothart
|Cinematography||Frank B. Good
Devereaux Jennings (Technicolor)
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Golden Dawn is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical operetta film released by Warner Bros., photographed entirely in Technicolor, and starring Walter Woolf King and Noah Beery. The film is based on the semi-hit stage musical of the same name by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach. Beery's extraordinarily deep bass voice registers particularly well in the songs.
The story takes place in colonial Africa, where Vivienne Segal (as Dawn), plays the part of a white girl who was kidnapped in infancy and is being brought up by a black native, played by Alice Gentle, as her own. Alice Gentle runs a canteen in the now German colonial settlement. Segal falls in love with Walter Woolf King, a British rubber planter who is now a prisoner of war. Noah Beery, who is the native black leader of the tribes in that region, is also in love with Segal and becomes extremely jealous when he heard of Segal's love for King. King, however, is sent back to Britain by the Germans for attempting to steal Segal, whom they believe is half black. Eventually, the British regain control of the territory and drive out the Germans. King returns to the colony. When the settlement experiences a drought, Beery attempts to incite the natives against Segal, claiming that their native God is angry because Segal has dared to love a white man. King is unable to save Segal because the colonial authorities refuse to act unless they have proof that Segal is one hundred percent white. Eventually Gentle confesses that she is not Segal's real mother and that her real (white) father confirms what she confessed is true and that her mother was white. King quickly brings the British troops just as the natives are about to sacrifice Segal. During the ceremony however, one of the virgin priestesses of the native God, revels that Beery has been lying about Segal. The God is not interested in Segal since she is pure white. Furthermore she reveals that Beery had violated her chastity and claims that their native God was angry because of this sacrilegious act. Beery is sacrificed to the anger of the natives and the drought quickly ends as rain pours down. In the end, Segal and King, happily reunited, sail back to England together.
- Walter Woolf King as Tom Allen
- Vivienne Segal as Dawn
- Noah Beery as Shep Keyes
- Alice Gentle as Mooda
- Dick Henderson as Duke
- Lupino Lane as Mr Pigeon
- Marion Byron as Joanna
- Edward Martindel as Colonel Judson
- Nina Quartero as Dawn's Maid-In-Waiting
- Sōjin Kamiyama as Piper
- Otto Matieson as Captain Eric
- Julanne Johnston as Sister Hedwig
- "Africa Smiles No More" (Sung by Alice Gentle)
- "The Whip" (Sung by Noah Beery twice)
- "My Bwanna" (Sung by Vivienne Segal and chorus; Reprised by Vivienne Segal)
- "We Two" (Sung by Marion Byron and Dick Henderson)
- "Dawn" (Sung by Walter Woolf King; Reprised by a chorus during finale)
- "Mooda's Song" (Sung by Alice Gentle)
- "My Heart's Love Call" (Sung by Walter Woolf King)
- "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" (Sung by the British exchange prisoners)
- "In a Jungle Bungalow" (Sung by Lupino Lane and chorus; Danced to by Lupino Lane)
- "A Tiger" (Sung and danced to by Marion Byron and Lee Moran; Reprised by Marion Byron)
- "Mulungu Thabu" (Sung by chorus with spoken interjections by Nigel de Brulier)
- "Dawn" (Reprised by chorus)
Beery was the accomplished older brother of actor Wallace Beery and comedian Lupino Lane was the uncle of actress/director Ida Lupino. Noah Beery was widely praised for his deep bass voice after he first sang in Song of the Flame. He recorded the song "The Whip" for Brunswick Records and the recording was issued in their popular ten inch series on record number 4824.
The film survives in a black-and-white copy made in the 1950s by Associated Artists Productions. It is available on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection. One short fragment of an original color print was identified in the British Film Institute archives in 2014.
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- Barrios, Richard, A Song in the Dark (Oxford University Press, 1995)