Steve McFlynn

19 Feb

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

I couldn´t help but notice the many parallels between “The King of Cool” and “The Baron of Mull”, while reading the intimate, in-debt biography “Mein McQueen” (“My McQueeen”) written by German journalist Christian Krug. He managed to interview Steve`s last wife, Barbara and came up with some rare footage and little known facts about the superstar actor, who once boldly stated “I live for myself and answer to nobody”. Sounds very much like our Hollywood hero´s “I do as I please.”, doesn`t it?
Now with Errol`s longtime business partner Barry Mahon being an adviser on the set of “The Great Escape”, there is a certain possibility that he and Steve swapped stories about the swashbuckler of old. You see, Mahon was a flying ace from WWII and what yachts did for Flynn, aircrafts did for McQueen. Always on the move, flying his plane from his hangar home to his prefered airport at Indian Dunes just for a cup of coffee, he stated: “When I did “The Great Escape”, I kept thinking, if they did a movie about my life, that`s what they`d call it- the great escape!”
McQueen like Flynn asked for $50.000 for even looking at a film script. Definitely a trend Errol started. Steve McQueen put it that way: “Stardom equals financial success and financial success equals security- I`ve spent too much of my life feeling insecure”. What was meant as a move to scare off imposters worked better for Steve than for Errol. Remember, when phoney producer Fossataro`s cheque bounced, “The Story of William Tell”, which was projected as his career resurrection film, became the botched apple shot of Errol Flynn.
Both movie greats died prematurely at the age of 50. They leave behind a legency for the movies they did, as well as they didn`t get or simply refused to do. Steve for example renounced a role in Ocean`s Eleven (where Mrs. Pat Wymore- Flynn was in!) and George Peppard`s part in “Breakfast at Tiffany`s (regretting only that he didn`t get to bed Audrey Hepburn). He spared himself a heart attack in “Apocalypse Now” (he had taken a year off from filming after the similar straining shooting of “The Sand Pebbles”), could have starred instead of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry (opting for Sam Packinpah`s “The Hunter”) and upon insistence from Paul Newman got replaced with Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, apparently because the Western town wasn`t big enough for the both of blue eyes.
Let me finish this with a quote from McQueen that sounds like vintage Flynn: “I`m not sure that acting is something for a grown man to be doing”.

— shangheinz


Top Secret

19 Feb

How is Errol connected to this military man’s career?

— Gentleman Tim


His Dream of Happiness

17 Feb

Read the rest of this entry »

— Gentleman Tim


Fencing with the Stars >>>Back to the Source

17 Feb

Parrying on from where where PW began and Flynning off of sabreheinz’s Swashbucklin’ Like Flynn

Whether it’s Errol in Robin Hood or Mel in Braveheart, Hollywood has always had a love affair with historical characters who fight with swords ….…

— Gentleman Tim


Swashbucklin’ like Flynn – The Duellist

16 Feb

In an otherwise definitive round up of non-Errol swashbucklers, I  am surprised no-one has mentioned the ‘The Duellists’ (1977), which was winner of The Cannes Festival Best Film Debut. It starred Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel and was the first movie directed by Ridley Scott.

‘The Duellists’ is notable for containing the longest duel in film history. Only Errol wouldn’t have been Flynned alive in this picture.  The story is based on a Joseph Conrad novella, The Duel, which in turn was based on an incident reported in a French newspaper in the 19th century.

It concerns two officers in Napoleon’s Hussars, Lt. Armand D’Hubert (Carradine)and Lt. Gabriel Feraud (Keitel), who first meet in 1800 and fight an inconclusive duel with rapiers. Their rivalry intensifies as they find themselves on opposing political and romantic sides, and whenever they chance to meet they take up their duel where they left off. This continues for fifteen years, until Carradine finally decides to spare Keitel’s life.

Errol would have loved the film poster’s stand first: ‘Fencing is a science…loving is a passion….duelling is an obsession.’

Below, Carradine and Keitel (it’s only just beginning…)

— PW


Flynnian actor?

15 Feb

As we are still sitting on the fence, as it were, I thought I would pose this question? Who is this sword-handy Flynnian-looking actor, and what was his real Christian name? (Clue: He appeared in a film that included a memorable fencing scene.)


— PW


What British Dance Band?

14 Feb

What Famous British Dance Band was featured in a movie with Errol?

— Gentleman Tim


Swashbucklin` like Flynn

14 Feb

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

we were fencing back and forth about the paramountal prowess of our Hollywood hero lately.
There were many contenders for the throne of swashbuckler debonair and some very good cloak and dagger films made without Errol. Yet one can envision him guiding in spirit the blades and tongues of the cavaliers that came after him. Flynniards, I summon you to post your favourite films, where Flynn wasn´t in, down below and am looking forward regally to your rapier recommandations.

En garde,

— shangheinz


The Nevers Attack (Fencing around Flynn 2)

12 Feb

One of the greatest films made about fencing, and a must for all Flynnianados, is the 1990s French film, ‘Le Bossu’. I always give the French credit when it’s due, because it hardly ever is.

Based on the 1858 historical novel, Le Bossu by Paul Feval, set in 18th Century France, there are two adaptations. The first was made in 1959, with Jean Marais, Andre Bourvil, and Sabina Selman.

Le Bossu, 1959

But the film to which I refer is the second, superior adaption of 1997, starring Daniel Auteil, Marie Gillain and Vincent Perez. (See film poster, below.)

Above right, Auteil and Perez (Perez is wearing the splendid red tricorn).

The plot concerns a swordsman, Henri Lagardere (Auteil), who challenges the Duke de Nevers (Vincent Perez) to a friendly duel in the hope of discovering the secret of the lethal ‘Nevers Attack.’ The opening scene is set in France’s premier fencing academy and is one of the most exhilarating and diverting beginnings to a film since Errol unbuckled his swash.

The two men become friends and the Duke teaches Lagardere his fencing manoeuvre. Soon after, Nevers marries his pregnant mistress, Blanche, but, on the day of the wedding is murdered by his evil cousin, the Comte de Gonzague.

(The Comte is a villain to rival Basil Rathbone in sheer malice, and is played to the hilt, as it were, by Fabrice Luchini, who adds his own dash of sexual perversion.)

As the Duke dies in his friend’s arms, he makes Lagardere swear to avenge him and to care for his infant child, who, to the latter’s consternation turns out to be a girl, Aurore.

Perez demonstrates the Nevers Attack. Below, the deliciously evil Comte de Gonzague.

Errol would have loved this film, for it incorporates so many of the elements of his best swashbucklers – a period setting, witty dialogue, good old fashioned villains, beautiful and aristocratic maidens and the perpetual fight for justice in a world ruled by the rich and high-born.

There is also a touching romance – between Aurore, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, and a wary Lagardere. Played by the classically lovely Marie Gillain, here is a heroine in the spirit of Livvie, who can use a sword almost as deftly as the hero.

(Marie Gillain as Aurore, pictures 1 and 3, and Olivia on the set of ‘Captain Blood’, picture 2.)

‘Le Bossu,’ which means ‘the hunchback’, (I won’t spoil the film by explaining how the plot turns) had its name changed to ‘On Guard’, when it was released in America. Don’t ask me why. There may have been a hunchback protest, as Monsieur le Comte has a bit of a thing for them. Perhaps hunchbacks are le vice Francaise? I know they are not le vice Anglais, because the French always claimed that was spanking. Neither are they le vice Allemande, which the French said was buggery.

Nonetheless, The New York Times praised the movie’s ‘unabashed gusto’ and another prominent critic calls it ‘one of the best swashbucklers in movie history.’ Auteil’s performance is ‘simply wonderful’… ‘his compact build and the precision he has always brought to his physical movements make him particularly suited to the elegant brio of the fencing scenes.’

I first saw ‘Le Bossu’ when it was released in the UK and I revisit it again and again, as I do, though not as much, of course, ‘Captain Blood.’ It has a similar joyousness about it, leavened by tragedy, and Auteil, in my view, is one of the most engaging and complex actors of his generation.

It’s a shame he doesn’t look like Errol, but he has a sex appeal that is all his own. And you know what they say about men with large noses.

Here is a taster….enjoy!

— PW


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Case of the Curious Corpse

12 Feb…

— Gentleman Tim