The General Died at Dawn

Synopsis: In revolution-torn China, American mercenary O'Hara is entrusted with a perilous mission, to get arms for the helpless authorities in a province ravaged by warlord General Yang. On the train to Shanghai, he meets Judy Perrie, whose father is in league with Yang. Will Judy regret agreeing to lure O'Hara to his doom, and if so, can she make it up to him? The balance of power seesaws to a perilous conclusion.
Director(s): Lewis Milestone
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
98 min

There they are:

Refugees from Anshan,

or what used to be Anshan

before General Yang rode through it.

And who is

General Yang?

Why, he's the warlord

of this province,

and a swell guy

to do business with.

But why does

he want to destroy

his own towns?

Oh, because they refuse

to pay their taxes.

Well, I should think

those people would learn

how to obey the law,

rather than suffer this.

Ah, these people

have no nerves, no feelings.

They're used

to suffering.

But they can't

get used to paying.

Excuse me, Madam.

You got a match,



I don't smoke.


Refuse me a match,

will you?

But I haven't a match.

And those people

didn't have the pennies

to pay General Yang.

Think it over.

He's cute.

What is his name?


How does he keep cool

in this hot weather?

Room 26.

Stay there, Sam.

I bring you greetings

from Mr. Wu, General Pen.

I'm O'Hara.

Oh, Mr. O'Hara.

You startled me at first.

I didn't expect him

to send a foreigner.

Well, he thought I'd have

a better chance of getting through.

Mr. Wu is very wise.

With his help,

we will rid the province

of Yang and his locusts.

Riding through,

I didn't see much left

for Yang to plunder.

The bark on trees, perhaps.

And that is why he has made

so many short, desperate raids

the past months.

His ordinary soldiers

are deserting by the dozens

for the lack of rice.

His ammunition is so little,

it is distributed chiefly

among his personal guard.

Dear O'Hara, this is the time

we have waited for.

Here is the money.

Mr. Wu gave you instructions?

To the "T."

To which, allow me to add,

I am ashamed to say,

"Be careful."

Not only for the love

we bear you,

but for the sake

of that money,

and the guns it will buy.

I'll get through.

It is of my opinion that

General Yang would sacrifice

half his personal guard

for that belt.

Which is to say,

he would give his arms

and legs for it.

You don't advise the train

from Pengwa?


Wait for the plane in Pengwa.

It will be arranged.


And even there,

General Yang has special agents.

So be careful

and only by plane.

Mr. O'Hara.

From the time

you close that door,

until the time you deliver

that money to Mr. Wu

in Shanghai,

the fate of the people

of this entire province

is in your hands.

I'll get through.

Must be

a very careful job.

I can do it.

Why all the secrecy?

'Cause the man O'Hara

is here in Pengwa.

General Yang says-

I know.

I've done those jobs

for him before,

all kinds.

General Yang knows

he can trust me.

Your shot, Judy.

Your daughter has

beautiful form,

Mr. Perrie.

Don't worry

about her.

I got it all straight, see,

so you don't need to worry.

I'm to get this O'Hara

on a train,

and then leave

the rest to you.

He's got something

General Yang wants, huh?


Money for an opposite side

with which to buy guns.

For this reason,

care must be exercised.

Also for the reason

the General himself

needs guns badly.


O'Hara by any chance

a cock-eyed fellow?

No. American.

Staying at your hotel.

I'll point him out

to you later.

Well, you know,

it won't be easy

to get a man like that

on a train

when he wants

to go by plane.

A beautiful woman

does it very easy.

She's high-spirited,

don't worry.

Wait for me,

I'll be back.

I'll wait.

Now, Judy.


Please, Judy.

No. No. No!

All right.

I'm not luring men

to their death on trains,

a man I never saw.


Open this for me,

will you?

What good

are these pills?

I don't know.

Someone said

they were good.



I can't remember.

I've had

so many doctors.

This is no place for us,


Isn't it, Pete?

A man ought to die at home,

a Christian death.

L- I've waited months

for a chance

to make enough to leave.

Now it's possible.

Oh, please don't

come back to that again.

If you'll help,

it's possible.

Well, maybe it doesn't

mean much to you.

You never saw America.

But if I have

six months to live-

You want

to live it there.

New York. Nyack.

L- I'd get a house on the hill

looking over the river.

Oh, it means so much,

it does.

L- I want

to sit there.

There's boats.

They go up

and down the river.

You can't do this

to me, Judy.

You're me, my kid.

It's six months,

then you're free.

You can do what you want then,

but help me now.

Oh, what's the use?

You've been playing me

for a sucker

for as many years

as I'm old.

Will you do it?


Sure, I will.

Why not?

Don't feel like that,


I don't feel

any way at all. I...

Just leave me alone,

will you?

Maybe someday

there will be a law

to abolish the blues.

Something big,

like an amendment

to the Constitution.

For all of us.

O'Hara is now on the train,

from the other side.

Can you beat it?

He's afraid.

Don't blame him.


He's on.

Any cigarettes?

Be careful,


I'll see you


Yang's stopping

the train at 8:

See you

after then.

See you tomorrow.


He remembers me.

Did you expect me?

What are you doing

hiding behind doors?

I live here till tomorrow.

Do you mind?

I don't mind.

Do you like me,


I wish

you hadn't come.

Do you?

Like you?


It's comfortable.

"Cozy," said the spider

to the fly.


Lots of things on the ground

don't like me.

For instance?

Well, uh...

There are certain

busy Lizzies

who scoot around

taking potshots.

At you?


But the train's moving.


the train's moving,

and it's nighttime

and we're alone.

And I like the lady

and she likes me.

Judy, you've got me

by the throat,

and I'm telling you,

whether it's dopey or not.


Don't do that.


You don't

want to do that.

That's what

you say.

What do you think of that,


Come on.

You know, Judy, uh,

I'm not one

of the anxious boys.

You're a good guy.

I can wait.

Wanna hear

something funny?

I'm crazy

for a laugh.

I'm scared. Afraid.

Because of me?


Well, I'm a man

of infinite patience.


You have a whole

lifetime ahead.

It was only the mail.

Why are you so jumpy?

I told you,

lots of things

on the ground don't like me.

Why do they make

those attempts on your life?

A certain honorable

tootsie roll named Yang

thinks he has the right

to control the lives

of tens of thousands

of poor Chinese.


Military dictatorship.


You put, he takes.

You protest, he shoots.

A heartbreaker,

a strike breaker,

a head breaker.

Altogether a four-star rat.

And what do the poor ones say?

Me. That's where I come in.

They're preparing


They need good guns

and ammunition.

You'll sell to them?

And, naturally, your Yang

doesn't care for that?

You uttered

a profound mouthful, lady.

Why do you risk

your life, O'Hara?

What do you get

for it?

Money? Fun?

Here's my life

in a few lines:

Ran away from

an orphan asylum at 14.

Sold newspapers

on the street

and got pretty good

at ducking blows.

A life of opposition,

you'd call it.

Then I boxed for a living,

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Clifford Odets

Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906 – August 14, 1963) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Odets was widely seen as a successor to Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill as O'Neill began to retire from Broadway's commercial pressures and increasing critical backlash in the mid-1930s. From early 1935 on, Odets' socially relevant dramas proved extremely influential, particularly for the remainder of the Great Depression. Odets' works inspired the next several generations of playwrights, including Arthur Miller, Paddy Chayefsky, Neil Simon, David Mamet, and Jon Robin Baitz. After the production of his play Clash by Night in the 1941–1942 season, Odets focused his energies on film projects, remaining in Hollywood for the next seven years. He began to be eclipsed by such playwrights as Miller, Tennessee Williams and, in 1950, William Inge. Except for his adaptation of Konstantin Simonov's play The Russian People in the 1942–1943 season, Odets did not return to Broadway until 1949, with the premiere of The Big Knife, an allegorical play about Hollywood. At the time of his death in 1963, Odets was serving as both script writer and script supervisor on The Richard Boone Show, born of a plan for televised repertory theater. Though many obituaries lamented his work in Hollywood and considered him someone who had not lived up to his promise, director Elia Kazan understood it differently. "The tragedy of our times in the theatre is the tragedy of Clifford Odets," Kazan began, before defending his late friend against the accusations of failure that had appeared in his obituaries. "His plan, he said, was to . . . come back to New York and get [some new] plays on. They’d be, he assured me, the best plays of his life. . . .Cliff wasn't 'shot.' . . . The mind and talent were alive in the man." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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