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The General Died at Dawn

The General Died at Dawn
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Charles G. Booth
Clifford Odets
Starring Gary Cooper
Madeleine Carroll
Akim Tamiroff
Music by Werner Janssen
Cinematography Victor Milner
Edited by Eda Warren
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
September 2, 1936 (1936-09-02)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The General Died at Dawn is a 1936 film that tells the story of a mercenary who meets a beautiful girl while trying to keep arms from getting to a vicious warlord in war-torn China. The movie was written by Charles G. Booth and Clifford Odets, and directed by Lewis Milestone.

It stars Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, Akim Tamiroff, and Dudley Digges. Director Milestone has a cameo role.

The movie was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Akim Tamiroff), Best Cinematography and Best Music, Score. There are several scenes in the film that show startling originality at the time. At one point, the camera focuses on a white door knob, and then dissolves to a white billiard ball to connect disparate scenes. In another scene, two characters have a conversation in which they speculate about the fates of other characters in the drama. The answers to their questions appear in screen segments in the corners of the screen, marking an unusual use of split screen to join narrative.

The main character, O'Hara, is based on the real-life Anglo-Canadian Jewish adventurer Morris Abraham "Two-Gun" Cohen. During the early 1930s, Cohen ran guns for various warlords in mainland China.

This is reported to be the first film to use foam latex appliances. Makeup artist Charles Gemora applied sponge rubber eyelids for one of the actors.

John Howard Reid called it one of the fifty finest films Hollywood ever made.[1]



  1. ^ 50 of the Finest Films Hollywood Ever Made (2012)

In 1938 an animated cartoon, called The Major Lied Till Dawn, was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions. In it, a major tells tall tales about his hunting adventures to a boy who resembles Freddie Bartholomew. The character of the major may have been influenced by Colonel Heeza Liar.

A third-season episode of the TV show, Colonel Sherman T. Potter.)

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