Dear fellow Flynn fans,
welcome to a new installement of a Flynn film Errol wasn`t in.
The year of 1959 marked the death of Our Man Flynn, which brought the cloak and dagger genre to a full stop. Just when the Old Swashbuckler hung up his boots, the Caucasian Chin, Kirk Douglas, put on his sandals to plough the field of sword and sand movie extravaganzas. Just like Charlton Heston had done successfully in “Ben Hur” prior that year. Not only did Douglas secure the services of one blacklisted author John Trumbo for “Spartacus”, but also of a young director named Stanley Kubrick, whom he had met while filming “Paths of Glory”.
Originally Kube had planned to do “Lolita”, a film version of the Nabokov novel, deemed untransmittable to the screen due to its paedophilic context. Nevertheless the Bronx born filmmaker was dead set to achieve the impossible. While Hollywood Studios readily declined the offer to finance the precocious project, the film was made three years later in England instead.
Errol Flynn had been approached to play Professor Humbert Humbert and enthusiatically accepted the offer under the condition he was to play opposite of his own nymphette, Beverly Aadland. But the package deal fell flat, mainly because Errol`s last love at 16 (!) already was too old to depict a 12-14 year old teenager. Had it gone through, Flynn would have been reunited with another real life love of old of his, since Shelley Winters had been cast for the female lead.
Other leading actors considered for the main role were Laurence Olivier, David Niven and Peter Ustinov. Ultimately it was James Mason`s turn to portrait Prof. Lovesicko.
Vladimir Nabokov did write a script for the screen adaptation of his lust story and came up with a 700 page treatment. We can take a peeping tom`s look here: www.openculture.com… and it also sells here: www.amazon.com…
Before Sue Lyon got to wear those heart shaped sunglasses and sucking lollipops, Jill Hayworth, Joey Heatherton, Tuesday Weld and Hayley Mills were considered for the part of little Lolita. The director later said that French teenie star Catherine “Zazie” Demongeot would have been a good choice also.
Tamar Hodel, the daughter of the number one suspect in the Black Dahlia murder, claimed in a Vanity fair article, that singer Michelle Phillips from “The Mamas and the Papas” originally procured young Lyon with the novel and gave her a rubdown what it was all about: www.vanityfair.com…
Sue, who attended the premiere in New York City at age 15, would have been still to young to buy a ticket for the movie legally: www.youtube.com…
Peter Sellars came up with a stellar performance as Clare Quilty. He remembered his Golden Globe awarded role fondly:
“Quilty was a fantastic nightmarish character, part homosexual, part drug addict, part sadist, part masochist, part anything twisted and unhealthy you can think of. He had to be horrifying and at the same time funny. I had never met anyone at all like this so I just had to guess, to construct an imaginative idea for myself of what such a person must be like. When I saw myself on the screen, I thought ‘This time you’ve done it – no one will ever believe this.’ But then in the U.S. I actually ran into a couple of people who might almost have been role models for the character and I began to think, ‘Oh, well, perhaps you weren’t so far out after all.” It is commonly seen as blueprint for his next character in the Kubrick film “Dr. Strangelove.”
Somehow this unmakeable movie material sparked the careers of all involved. One can only wonder if our Hollywood hero had walked away from an Academy Award in order to do “Cuban Rebel Girls”.