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Silent Raiders

Silent Raiders(1954)

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       The film's working titles were Dieppe Raid and Three Miles to Dawn. The film begins with the following written prologue: "1944. Hundreds of Allied Commando groups, under cover of darkness, silently infiltrated southern France-24 hours before the invasion...this motion picture tells of an American suicide patrol, whose assignment was to silence a German communications center. To those heroes who lost their lives testing the effectiveness of modern commando warfare-we dedicate this motion picture." The film concludes with the title: "This was the beginning of...THE END." The print viewed had an onscreen copyright statement for the year 1953, although the film was not registered until October 1954. Richard Bartlett's onscreen credit reads "Directed and Written by Richard Bartlett."
       As noted in a Los Angeles Times news item of December 6, 1953, Earle Lyon and Richard Bartlett, who were both at that time under thirty, had recently completed their first independent production, Dieppe Raid [Silent Raiders]. Bartlett was reported to have based his screenplay on an incident in which he was involved during a pre-Allied invasion raid. The news item also stated that, in their striving for realism, the producers had cast seven ex-GIs, all veterans of the French invasion. A Variety story of December 23, 1953 added that the film was "based on an episode in World War II" and that the film had been shot in sixteen days with a cast of unknowns, on a budget of $65,000. Actual combat footage was used to depict the Dieppe invasion, which was in Northern France, not Southern, as the prologue suggests.
       The producers encountered a roadblock when they submitted their completed film for PCA certification. A Daily Variety news item of February 18, 1954 reported that the Breen Office's Canadian Cooperation Project, designed to maintain a cooperative atmosphere between the United States and Canada, raised strenuous objections to the film. The Canadian representative pointed out that no Americans were involved in the Dieppe Raid, which was a Canadian, New Zealand and Australian operation.
       Mindful of earlier criticism of films depicting American involvement in Allied operations such as Objective, Burma!, the Breen Office suggested that the producers make some changes. No additional shooting was necessary, but dialogue was replaced in several places and the lyrics of a ballad, heard intermittently throughout the film, were changed. Daily Variety reported that the changes had increased the budget by twenty-five percent and that the film was now titled Three Miles to Dawn. By the time the film was acquired for distribution by Lippert Pictures, Inc. in mid-1954, its title had become Silent Raiders. As noted in a February 18, 1954 Daily Variety article, David Kovar, a well-known Hollywood portrait photographer, supervised the film's lighting. The film was shot in Malibu (CA).