By Dawn's Early Light

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Through the Looking Glass: By Dawn's Early Light

Jul 13, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:Washington DC is vaporized

Cons:It's only a movie

The Bottom Line: An interesting "what-if" scenario showing all out nuclear war prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Worth watching


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

By Dawn's Early Light (1990)

"The best defense: Cut off the head of the Soviet chicken." Col. Fargo

By Dawn's Early Light is an HBO Drama starring Powers Boothe (Tombstone) and Rebecca De Mornay. As part of the strategic defense umbrella, they play a pair of pilots on a nuclear equipped B-52 Stratofortress tasked to bomb targets within the Soviet Union.

A very good take off on a similar idea to Dr Strangelove, By Dawn's Early Light contemplates a nuclear exchange between the superpowers triggered by a terrorist nuclear attack on the Soviet Union that seems to originate from Turkey, a NATO ally.

The attack is actually by some rogue Soviet officers but the Soviet automatic response directed at the USA has already left by the time the teletype comes in to the President of the US (POTUS) indicating that the Soviets will accept a limited nuclear counterstrike resulting in 6 – 9,000,000 deaths without retaliation. !!

Meanwhile, everyone scrambles to implement the emergency plans and the President (Martin Landau) is blinded by the nuclear flash as Washington is vaporized. All land based communications have been knocked out and the POTUS is (wrongly) presumed dead. The highest ranking cabinet official remaining alive, the Secretary of the Interior (Darren McGavin), assumes command and goes aloft in Air Force One, the main command post for Armageddon.

The airborne controllers are also aloft and managing counterstrikes via land based ICBMs, submarine launched missiles, and long range bombers - the B-52s like the one piloted by Powers Boothe. The tension is generated showing attempts to get the system to acknowledge the POTUS's commands and shut down rather than following the Secretary of Interior's hawkish prosecution of the retaliatory strike. The bomber drivers like Powers Boothe are left hovering on station wondering when they will get orders to hit strategic targets or stand down.

The part I enjoyed most about By Dawn's Early Light was the story. It focused on the system and gave a good idea of what exactly is waiting for the alarm to go off; or, "the balloon to go up," as we used to say in the Army. According to the story, there is a massive machine just waiting to trigger itself into action if the proper codes are given. You just have to wonder at what sort of minds were employed building this network, planning for every contingency, and living in this twilight world of being ever ready and yet hoping you are never triggered. I know myself that I just blocked the possibility of nuclear war out of my mind, ever since I was a boy old enough to understand the concept in the late 1950s.

The actors were good, but the production values were typical HBO, meaning less than deluxe. Direction by Jack Shoulder was good given the low bucks resources.

The story, adapted by Bruce Gilbert from the book "Trinity's Child," by William Prochinau was quite good, but I thought the love affair between the two pilots subplot was unnecessary and I guess it gave a reason for De Mornay to be there. Her role otherwise was only as a freak out when Boothe decided to follow the plan as ordered. James Earl Jones as Alice the officer in charge of the nuclear response and Martin Landau as the POTUS and Darren McGavin as the alternate POTUS were exceptionally good.

The DVD is from HBO and the movie is full screen (4x3 aspect), in color, and runs 100 minutes.

More people should see this movie.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day

Read all comments (2)

Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Dawn's Light (Restoration)

Dawn's Light (Restoration)

Dawn's Light (Restoration)
Sears
Commercial Dusk To Dawn Light Control With Weatherproof Faceplate Included

Commercial Dusk To Dawn Light Control With Weatherproof Faceplate Included

AMERTAC COMMERCIAL DUSK TO DAWN LIGHT CONTROL WITH WEATHERPROOF FACEPLATE *Fits 2 x 4 J boxes *Max load Tungsten: 15A, 1800W *Max load Ballasted: 1100...
eBay

$7.99

+$5.49 shipping
Light In Art Dawn 1 Light Wall Sconce SML--1058/HON

Light In Art Dawn 1 Light Wall Sconce SML--1058/HON

Light In Art SML--1058/HON Features: -UL listed.-Dawn collection.-Product Type: Flush Mount.-Collection: Dawn.-Style: Modern.-Finish: Honey.-Hardware...
Wayfair Supply

$307.20

FREE Shipping
Ge Indoor/outdoor Dusk To Dawn Light Sensing Timer 2 Outlets Nip

Ge Indoor/outdoor Dusk To Dawn Light Sensing Timer 2 Outlets Nip

DESCRIPTION: GE Outdoor Dusk to Dawn Light Sensing Timer 2 Outlets Turns two lights or devices on at dusk and off at dawn or off at desired time daily...
eBay

$19.99

+$5.95 shipping
Dusk to Dawn Light Sensors, Pack of 2

Dusk to Dawn Light Sensors, Pack of 2

Dusk to Dawn Light Sensors, Pack of 2
Sears
Howard Lighting Dusk To Dawn Commercial Light

Howard Lighting Dusk To Dawn Commercial Light

Category: Area Lighting. Product Type: Flood/Security Lights
Quill.com

$90.13

FREE Shipping
Brinks Dusk To Dawn Activated Flood Security Light, White

Brinks Dusk To Dawn Activated Flood Security Light, White

The Brinks Floodlight with Photocell has a double head fixture and is ideal for use from dusk to dawn.
Walmart.com

$12.87

+$4.97 shipping
06320 - Cyan lighting -  Dawn - One Light Table Lamp

06320 - Cyan lighting - Dawn - One Light Table Lamp

Collection: Dawn, Width/Diameter: 17.00, Height: 31.25, Lamp: 1-100w bulb(s), - Desc: Shade Included: TRUE.
Luna Warehouse.com

$420.00

FREE Shipping
Dusk To Dawn Photocell Light Control Auto Sensor Light Socket Black

Dusk To Dawn Photocell Light Control Auto Sensor Light Socket Black

New Black Dusk To Dawn Photocell Light Control Auto Sensor Light socket ------------------------------------------------------------------------------...
eBay

$6.98

FREE Shipping
Dusk To Dawn Light Control Model Spt-15 32219

Dusk To Dawn Light Control Model Spt-15 32219

Area Lighting Research Model SPT-15 Photocell control to turn lights on at dusk/ off at dawn
eBay

$6.56

+$3.50 shipping