Before Dawn
Directed byIrving Pichel
Screenplay byGarrett Fort
Based onDeath Watch
1932 story in Chicago Daily Tribune
by Edgar Wallace
Produced byMerian C. Cooper
StarringStuart Erwin
Dorothy Wilson
Warner Oland
Dudley Digges
Gertrude Hoffman
CinematographyLucien N. Andriot
Edited byWilliam Hamilton
Music byMax Steiner
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • August 4, 1933 (1933-08-04)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States

Before Dawn is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Irving Pichel and written by Garrett Fort. The film stars Stuart Erwin, Dorothy Wilson, Warner Oland, Dudley Digges and Gertrude Hoffman. It is one of the few Oland films from this period in which he does not play an Asian character. The film was released on August 4, 1933, by RKO Pictures.[1][2][3]


Dying gangster Joe Valerie reveals the hiding place of a million dollars in loot to his physician Dr. Cornelius. The sinister Austrian doctor has designs on the money, but must first outwit detective Dwight Wilson and clairvoyant Patricia Merrick. The setting is an eerie, possibly haunted house in small-town America where the stash is hidden and the bodies begin to accumulate.



In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Mordaunt Hall wrote: "[T]his particular ruddy specimen is blessed with vigor and imagination. ... There are enough killings and accidental deaths to satisfy the most ardent enthusiasts of such thrillers. And added to this phase of the narrative there is the inevitable romance."[4]


  1. ^ "Before Dawn (1933) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  2. ^ "Movie Review - Before Dawn - Dudley Digges and Warner Oland in a Pictorial Melodrama by the Late Edgar Wallace". Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "Before Dawn Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for Before Dawn". TV Guide. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (October 17, 1933). "The Screen". The New York Times. p. 26.