“They Died With Their Boots On”-Some “Then & Now” Outtakes

23 Apr

Here are a couple of samples that won’t be in the book, mostly because they just aren’t good enough, but also because I don’t want it to be Flynn-heavy. The publisher who first expressed interest convinced me to widen the scope of film choices to include more films from recent times, something I reluctantly agreed to even though seriously cutting into the samples from classic classic.

Often, film locations will be discovered, only to pose difficulties in positioning oneself in the precise spot at which the movie’s cameraman filmed the scene (David can attest to this, having joined me on a search I was doing to set up a shot for a scene from “Charge of the Light Brigade”). Also, although only official stills are being used for the book, there are occasions when no stills were taken for a particular scene and I use a screen grab to locate and set up a “Now” shot for my own interest. This is the case in the two samples shown here. I may not be publishing them, but they are fun for me to share with fellow fans here on the blog.

The wide sample is a composite of screen grabs and my location photos. I will often put a composite together to show a wider view of the location that the panning movie camera didn’t capture in one framing (see the duel with Friar Tuck in my “Then & Now” page). The two stitchedscreen grabs show Flynn on horseback in both shots, and required me to shoot from two positions to replicate the panorama. The results are less than satisfactory (there are condominiums and overgrown trees now in the way), but I think we Flynn fans can appreciate it more than would the ordinary film fan.

Also included is a sample from another scene from the same basic location, a better lining- up of my “Now” shot but less interesting because the scene doesn’t highlight Flynn.





tdwtbo3 2

— Robert


Who is it? Who is it?

23 Apr

253.1954Portrait2MaleportraitlegManrayWho is She or He?

1) He or she was born in France.

2) His or her father was a famous Parisian.

3) His or her portrait – painted before meeting Errol – hangs in a leading museum.

4) Many considered him or her to be handsome or beautiful.

5) He or she was a friend of Noel Coward, as was his or her very close companion.

6) George Cukor liked him or her, also.

7) He or she had relations with a number of notable men.

8) He or she once made a movie with Merle Oberon.

9) He or she was almost in a movie with Errol.

10) He or she is mentioned in MWWW, but not his or her wife or husband or partner.

— Tim


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A Curtiz goulash is made of empty horses

20 Apr


My dear fellow Flynn fans,

here is all the Austrian National Library has to offer about director deluxe Michael Curtiz in his pre Hollywood days.

He was born Michaly Mano Kertesz Kaminer in Budapest on the 24th of december in 1888.

He came from an upper middle class jewish family.  His mother Aranka Vatz was an opera singer and his father Ignaz Kaminer an architect. He had two brothers, Gabriel and David. He was educated at the Royal Academy of Theatre and Art and attended the Markoszy University.

He started out as a child singer in 1899 and later became an actor in 1912 in the film “Today and tomorrow”. Then and there he confided to a friend that he intended to switch sides and was more interested in directing than acting.

He allegedly was part of the Hungarian fencing team at the Olympics in Stockholm of the same year.

In 1913 he took part in a monumental film called “Atlantis” made in Denmark, and claimed to be inspired by the very innovative way of film making there ever since.

In 1914/15 he served in the Infantry of the Austro- Hungarian Army along the Russian front and was wounded. He finished the war as newsreel camera man (one of the first of ist kind) making propaganda films.

In 1915 he married Ilona Kovacs Perenyi, a silent film actress also known as Lucy Doraine. Their daughter Katharine was born in 1916. His first marriage lasted until 1923.

In 1917 he became managing director of the newly founded Phoenix film production Company in Hungary.

By 1918 he had finished at least 38 films (some sources say 50), all lost or reduced to fragments.

When Bela Kun established the first communist regime in Hungary in March of the same year, Kertesz was busy filming “Liliom”, originally a play of Ferenc Molnar about a trigger temper carnival barker, who after serving time in purgatory for comitting suicide gets a second chance to do good on his daughter Julie. The 1945 broadway show “Carousel” is based on this story. It is the one and only of his 165 films Kertesz couldn´t finish. He fled the country with his family in turbulent times after Bela Kun was overthrown after a 120 day reign. Other prominent emigrants were Sandor (later: Alexander) Korda and Bela Lugosi.

During that period he is said to have made a film titled “Odette” in Sweden starring a 14 year old Greta Grabo.

From 1919 on Sascha Film Productions owner Count Alexander Kolowrat employed Kertesz in Vienna. Until 1926 timeless classics like “Sodom und Gomorrha” and “Die Sklavenkönigin” were made there with huge budgets and produced standard setting innovations. The  film known in the US as “The Moon of Israel” went head to head with Cecil B. De Mille`s “Ten Commandments” covering the exact topic of the exodus of the Israelits. Not to be outdone Kertesz contrived new ways for the scene of the parting of the Red Sea in order to match the superior Hollywood effects machinery. It was this pioneer spirit and the capability to direct up to 5000 extras that landed him a 28 year long lasting job with Warner Bros.

He made 3 films in Berlin with Count Kolowrat`s diva darling of the day Lili Damita (see EF blog: “The thrill of being Tiger Lil`”), before she became Mrs. Errol Flynn.

In 1929 he married Helen Lucas, a screen writer and actress also known under the stage name of Bess Meredyth.

In 1931 a certain Helen Lucy Doraine Rietmüller (rather: Reitmüller) can be found on the passengers list of the SS Bremen entering the port of NY. She claimed her residence to be in Hollywood 5680 Hilloak Drive. Despite their seperation Kertesz may have seen for his first wife to come to America.

In 1935 at age 19 his only legitimate child Katharina arrived at Los Angeles following her parents on February 23rd, again via the SS Bremen. Kertesz was a no show at the port probably working on the lot. ”Kitty” becomes a scholar at the New York Art College. Four years later she tried to commit suicide and gives a sense of abbandonement as reason to the press.

But she was not the only Kertesz sibling to be left behind on the old continent. A son called Michael had been born to a bank accountant in 1920. Alimony was paid for him by Warners. His second daughter Sonja was born in 1923 to aspiring actress Miss Dalla Bona from the Sodom & Gomorrah set. In 1925 his second son was born to another actress from the S&G set, Miss Vondrak . Michael II. briefly worked for his dad as gaffer at the studios and is now  a painter in Seattle. Last but not least the daughter of actress Jill Gerard was acknowleged by a parental court to be Curtiz`child. She was born in 1956 when Casablanca`s favourite son was a mere 70 years old.

Back to 1935 and the filming of a flick called “The case of the curious bride”. It was there when a scene required of an unknown Australian actor  to mime a beautiful corpse covered with a blanket. When the cameras were rolling the silence suddenly was broken by a hearty sneeze from down under the blanket. Whereupon the temperamental dictator-director Curtiz supposedly snapped: “You-no-good-bum-of-a-sum-of-a-bitch, don´t you know, nose of dead man is dead also !?

The rest is Errol Flynn history.











— shangheinz


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We Welcome New Author, Tom Webb!

20 Apr

I am pleased to welcome new author Tom Web to The Errol Flynn Blog! Tom, welcome aboard, we look forward to your contributions and comments!


— David DeWitt



19 Apr



Here is a suggestion for a Flynn and Son double feature. Now, while one obvious choice is “Captain Blood” and “The Son of Captain Blood”, this pairing is more interesting, I believe, because both lead characters have a major decision of conscience.

In “Uncertain Glory” (which celebrates the 70th anniversary of its premiere this month), Errol plays what might be termed an anti-hero, in that his character is a career criminal and convicted murderer set to be executed at the film’s beginning. The film was the first production of his then, newly formed production company, Thompson Productions and was chosen by Errol as a departure from his usual heroic roles.  The character, Jean Picard (no relation to Jean-Luc Picard of “Star Trek—The Next Generation”, I think), is about to face the quillotine, when during an Allied bombing raid on Occupied France, the prison where the execution is to take place is hit. Picard then makes his escape, but is soon recaptured by Inspector Bonet, the Surete inspector responsible for Picard’s original arrest, played by American Oscar winning actor, Paul Lukas. En route to Paris, they are forced to make a detour due to the bombing of a bridge, committed by a saboteur that took out a Nazi transport train. The Nazis in retaliation have taken 100 hostages from neighboring French villages and will execute them if the saboteur is not turned over to them. Picard implores Bonet to let him surrender himself as the saboteur as he would rather be killed by a firing squad (the means of execution of the Gestapo), then face the quillotine once again. Bonet wanting to help the hostages agrees to Picard’s plan, secure in the knowledge that if Picard uses this as a device to escape he will meet with failure.  (Or so he thinks!) While in a village, as they go over their plan, Bonet announces to his superiors that Jean Picard is dead; shot by him trying to escape. They also come across the real saboteur who provides them with Intel only he would know. At the same time Picard romances an innocent girl of the village played by the beautiful Jean Sullivan.  Now that he is officially dead and has a woman he can begin a new life with, and Bonet has taken ill, will he still trade places with the real saboteur or seize this chance to escape?

Errol gives one of his better performances as a villainous man who thinks only of himself. Unfortunately critics and audiences of the day did not agree. The film did okay at the box office, but did not do the business he hoped for. Flynn biographer, Thomas McNulty says  this, of Errol’s performance “perhaps one of the best of his career”. I agree. The scenes between Errol and Lukas definitely make the film worthwhile. Two of his other co-stars of note in this film are: Sheldon Leonard who plays Flynn’s best friend who ultimately betrays him over a girl, later became a successful American television producer of such shows like “Make Room for Daddy” and “I Spy” and “the girl”, Louise, played by the beautiful Faye Emerson, would have her own show in the 1950s.

Released in the U.S. in 1964, twenty years after “Uncertain Glory” and celebrating its own 50th anniversary release this year is “Stop Train 349”, a West German/French/Italian co-production. The film is called by Flynn biographer, Jeffrey Meyer, Sean’s “best film” and Sean in interviews said he was most proud of doing this film.

Loosely based on real events, the film starred American Oscar winning actor, Jose Ferrer and details the plight of refugees trying to cross “the Berlin wall”, one in particular who tries to use a train run by the U.S. military, as an escape vehicle.

The film starts with a prologue, detailing (for those unfamiliar with U.S. President Kennedy’s “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech) the building of the Berlin Wall, all set to strains of a song titled, “Goodbye, Berlin, Auf weidersehen”! After this introductory scene, the audience is introduced to Jose Ferrer’s character, an “ugly American” type reporter who makes his way onto the train and butts heads with the train’s military commander, a young lieutenant played by Flynn. The train is held at Marienborn station (the border between East and West Berlin) because the Communist officials at the station believe an East Berlin citizen is illegally on board. What follows is a political standoff between the Americans on the train and the Russians and Germans at the station. The film shot in black & white has a stark realism. Sean’s performance as a good “Joe” caught in the middle of a difficult situation is slightly uneven, but basically effective.

The film was initially released in West Germany in 1963 as “Verspatung in Marienborn” and released in the U.S. by Allied Artists as “Stop Train 349” in 1964. It won the best “youth” film award at the 1963 Berlin International Film Festival. In the U.S. while Jose Ferrer was the nominal star, Sean was still listed as “the son of Errol Flynn” in all advertising for the movie. Allied Artists’ brazen exploitation of Sean’s parentage aside, the movie only did fair box office in the U.S.

In their respective films, the Flynns have difficult decisions to make. Both got mixed reviews for their performances. But I feel this makes an interesting double bill. Both are a product of their time. See for yourself. “Uncertain Glory” is part of the TCM Spotlight collection: the Errol Flynn Adventures DVD collection and can be seen occasionally on the TCM cable channel. Stop Train 349” is also available on DVD from different on-line dealers such as and Movies Unlimited, as well as can be seen on the SeanFlynnCambodia YouTube channel.—A. R.



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The Errol Flynn Mailbag! April 2014

19 Apr

As most of you know, The Errol Flynn Blog migrated from another host that called it quits. During the migation we lost most of our author and comment attributions, and many attachments. Jan, one of our authors, wrote to tell me of an older posting no longer had two images showing how Errol signed the guestbook at the Rock Hotel, in Gibraltar, in 1951. He was able to aquire them again, and now shares them with us:



- thanks, Jan!

— David DeWitt


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Errol’s Girlfriend Releases New Exercise DVD!

18 Apr


Incredible! Errol was really something!! You’ve got to read this.

Good for Marianne … I mean Gillian!!!
(My Mom wants a copy! .. Maybe I’ll get it for Mother’s Day!)


— Tim


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Cruising the Ocean Blue with You Know Who

17 Apr

With this tab I hope to intiate and create with fellow EFB authors a compendium of information, records & images documenting Errol’s cruises on commercial passenger ships throughout his life. Here are some initial names of, images, and information concerning these vessels, with timeframes Errol was on board – to be expanded upon here and in subsequent posts:

Various Craft in Australia & New Guinea: To Be Further Researched & Posted

Kokopo (commercial schooner) (April of 1933)

SS D’Artagnan (May of 1933)

SS Compiegne (June of 1933)

Empress of Asia (Spring of 1938)

Fusham (packet boat)

SS Lurline

— Tim


Flynn’s Fellow Travelers, Now Gone…

16 Apr

albert alexander armendariz bacon barrat barrymore basehart bates bellamy blondell blue bogart OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA bruce buchanan burr butler cabot carson cole cooper cording craig OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA curtiz damita dantine davis dieterle douglas dumbrille eddington fields finch fitzgerald florey fowler frawley gardner garson giesler goulding grapewin hale herbert hill hollaendar hopkins howard hull OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA kaper kellaway kennedy, d kennedy kibbee korngold lindsay lockheart louise maclane macmurray massey mauch, w mcdaniel meek milestone moorehead morgan mundin naish niven o'conner o'neill OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA owen polito power rains rathbone reagan reichow robson russell scala scott sheridan skelton steiner stephenson szakall tobias travers wallis walsh warner warwick watson waxman wilcox Wiles williams wooley, s young zanuck

(Faye Emerson is buried at Cementiri de Deia in Mallorca; no headstone photo)

Ashes scattered or with family:
Beverly Aadland
Dame Judith Anderson
Robert Armstrong
Hugh Beaumont
Julie Bishop
Finlay Currie
Robert Douglas
Joanne Dru
Lief Erickson
Victor Francen
Walter Hampden
Van Heflin
Werner Klemperer
Patric Knowles
Janet Leigh
John Loder
Thomas Mitchell
Slim Pickens
Anthony Quinn
Stanley Ridges
Ruth Roman
Michael Romanoff
Alexis Smith
Barbara Stanwyck
Regis Toomey
Richard Webb
Orson Welles

These sites, many of which I’ve visited, will unfortunately continue to be added to.

— Robert


The Membership Card…

15 Apr

…from the inaugural meeting of The Mulholland Drive Boys, September 1, 2008.

MDB Membership Card Digital StillCamera

— Robert


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