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Ousted Oscar nominee

26 Feb

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

2017 marks the sixtieth anniversary of “The sun also rises”, the Darryl F. Zanuck movie version of Ernest Hemingway`s breakthrough novel “Fiesta”.

Errol, who received fourth billing, gave a fine performance as a world dreary old chap much like the Flynn of later years. This earned him a nomination as best supporting actor at the Academy Awards one year later. Here is what he had to say in an interview with EF biographer Tony Thomas in early 1958.

“Errol, the last picture in which we saw you, “The Sun Also Rises”, and even the critics who had not liked you before said that you were wonderful.”

“Well, if the critics said that, you know, it’s a kind word in a hard cruel world.”

“The news has just come through from Hollywood that you have been nominated for an Academy Award.”

“Yes, isn’t that something? I never thought it would happen to me.”

When however his nomination was mysteriously withdrawn with no official explanation given, it was anyone`s guess who had put a banana skin under the Ol` Swashbuckler`s shoe on that slippery slope towards Oscar called Red Carpet.

The five actors who were nominated were (the winner) Red Buttons in Sayonara, Sessue Hayakawa in Bridge on the River Kwai, Vittorio de Sica in A Farewell to Arms, Arthur Kennedy in Peyton Place and Russ Tamblyn in Peyton Place. The last one can be considered as the most likely substitute for our Hollywood hero.

While daughter Rory Flynn attributed the snub job to her father’s involvement with Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution (www.cinemaretro.com…), the book “Inside Oscar” blames the blunder on Twentieth Century Fox for the studio had listed him in their Oscar Campaign ads as Lead Actor, thus thwarting Errol’s effort to get one of those golden boys. The same mishap happened to Roddy McDowell for his role in the sand and sandal film “Cleopatra”.

Maybe it was then and there when Errol coined the phrase: “Hollywood has the utmost respect for the dead, but none for the living.” For once it was “Out and not in like Flynn”.

Enjoy,

— shangheinz

 

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  1. David DeWitt

    February 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    My understanding is that he nixed it himself to avoid reporters questions about Beverly Aadland …

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    • shangheinz

      February 27, 2017 at 2:59 pm

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      I doubt that Witty Dave, since he advertised Beverly both as his protegé and his assistant (“…and a very able one at that…”). Another source stated that Errol got sacked because he spend a weekend (!) in jail after a brawl in Chicago at that period of time. Maybe Rushstreet Ralph or Rin Tin Tim can take a closer look in US-newspaper archives at this never before heard assumption.

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      • rswilltell

        February 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        Heinz; This is such an intriguing subject. For my money getting a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Oscar nomination would have given him a better chance at winning the statue. No actor including Errol Flynn would ever ‘voluntarily’ pull out of the Oscar race. I remember seeing Flynn as the mystery guest on the American primetime game show “What’s My Line?” (1957). After the playing of his round top Broadway columnist Dorothy Killgallen says publicly that Errol Flynn deserves an Oscar for his performance in ‘The Sun Also Rises”. Errol Flynn is stunned and look closely on the youtube clip and you find tears in his eyes. Flynn drunk and arrested in Chicago? I have heard many things about many celebrities in Chicago but never that. It may have happened or happened in another mid-western city but I have no knowledge of it. Thanks Ralph Schiller

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        • PW

          February 27, 2017 at 7:07 pm

          I agree with Ralph, (to paraphrase David Cameron). Errol had a much better chance in the Best Supporting Actor category. Consider the similar case of Frank Sinatra, who was on an even more slippery slope than darling Flynny when he managed to handbag the role of Maggio (the handbag being wife Ava Gardner’s) in ‘From Here to Eternity’ (1953).
          Like Errol in ‘The Sun Also Rises’, Sinatra essentially played himself and won an Oscar – which revitalised his career – in the Best Supporting Actor category. Had he been nominated in the Leading Actor category, he might well have lost, as he would have faced stiff competition; Burt Lancaster and Monty Clift (for the same film), as well as Richard Burton, Marlon Brando and Bill Holden – who was the winner for ‘Stalag 17’.
          I have a feeling that Errol’s nomination ‘disappeared’ because of a lack of studio backing, and confusion. Another reason may be that ‘The Sun Also Rises’ was a bad film. In fact, apart from Errol’s brilliant turn, it was an absolute stinker. The cast were far too old to play Hemmingway’s ‘lost generation’, – Ty Power looked like the resident guest of a Brighton boarding house – the script was sanitised, the story was changed and the whole thing was a fiasco of ‘Fiesta.’ (Hemmingway hated the film more than any other adaption of his work- and that is saying a Hell of a lot! He had derisively called 1952’s ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’, ‘The Snows of Daryl F Zanuck.’ )
          One final scenario. If Errol had been backed by Fox as a Leading Actor and received a nomination in that category, like Sinatra he probably wouldn’t have won. His competition would have included Charles Laughton, Marlon Brando and Alec Guinness. The Oscar went to Alec Guinness for ‘The Bridge on The River Kwai.’
          It was a tragedy, though, whatever the reason. An Oscar would have meant so much to Errol. It must have been agony for such a sensitive, introspective and highly intelligent man to go unrecognised as the serious actor he was by his so called ‘peers.’ An Academy Award might even have prevented his death in 1959.

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          • shangheinz

            February 27, 2017 at 8:13 pm

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            There was yet another time, Hemingway left the movie theatre aghast of what had been made of one of his novels. “A farewell to Arms” with Rock Hudson was too much to bear for mucho macho Ernesto. It had become a showcase for the producer`s pet Jennifer Jones. Vittorio DeSicca appeared in it and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor the same year that Errol was ousted. Some of the cast of the unfinished William Tell film can be found in there also, as well as the composer of the Tell Soundtrack, Mario Nascimbene got finally his music notes across.

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        • shangheinz

          February 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm

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          RR, in the Chicago Tribune archives I came only across an article of the Ballyhoo Ball brawl, when Errol and Miss Maura Fitzgibbons were put behind bars in Lincoln Heights for bagging a policeman`s badge, which happened on Oct. 20th of 1957. Sorry, no Chicago case! Maybe an Oscar discharge for misdemeanor?

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        • shangheinz

          February 28, 2017 at 9:04 am

           
    • Jack Marino

      February 28, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      David,

      This is what Deirdre Flynn told me personally. She told me that she and Beverly were in the hotel room when Errol got the call that he was being ‘considered’ for a nomination. The academy had to ask you if you want the nomination before they put it out there in the print media.

      Errol turned it down on the phone. She told me that he explained to her and Bev, that the only way he can be considered as ‘best supporting actor if the other four nominees played the same role. He didn’t buy into the fact that you can compare different roles in different films as a way to judge. She also mentioned that he was in Los Angeles with Beverly and she feels he didn’t want to attract to much attention in the press with her at the Oscars. That is what Deirdre Flynn told me and I do believe they were all at the hotel on Franklin that Errol was renting and his driver’s license had that address on it. Buster told me that was Errol’s last residence, that was on his driver’s license

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      • Gentleman Tim

        February 28, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        Thank you, Jack (and Dierdre) for that inside info!

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      • PW

        February 28, 2017 at 7:28 pm

        That’s fascinating. I had no idea that an actor/actress had to accept being Oscar nominated. I thought that only happened over here with our ‘Honours System’ – or ‘Dishonours System’ – going by some of those who have been elevated. Those chosen as recipients of peerages, knighthoods, OBEs etc,are informed privately and then accept or decline privately. This was instituted to save the Monarch (as the Fount of all Honour) from public embarrassment.

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  2. PW

    February 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    To digress from Erroliana for one brief, unshining moment, what do you former colonials think of yesterday’s Oscars fiasco, and should ‘La La Land’ have won in actuality?!

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    • shangheinz

      February 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      Definitely Early Ella. The ways of Ga Ga – Land are mysterious. La La for me is the film of the year with that nice Hollywood of Gold touch.

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    • David DeWitt

      February 28, 2017 at 12:30 am

      I watched an Academy screener of the film some time ago and basically hated La La Land. To give a Best Actress award for it blows my mind …

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      • shangheinz

        February 28, 2017 at 8:27 am

        Dear David, I beg to differ strongly. Emma Stone expressed a light(hearted)ness in La La that is hard to achieve in acting. Call it easy going and effortless if you will.
        Her audition scenes (acting within acting!) are a splendid sight to see. In addition to that she keeps poise and timing in the dancing sequences. Almost Errolesque: www.bing.com… A well deserved Oscar if you ask me. I bet you an Indian Dollar that your daughter feels the same.

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        • David DeWitt

          February 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm

          You may send your dollar to me c/o The EFB! Easiest money I ever made. Ha! But this is fine. Lots of people may disagree with me. I felt the film was awkward and the acting stilted. At best a juvenile postcard to a great Era of musicals and dance films. You could not pay me to see it twice. But I don’t like oysters, either. Many people do!

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          • Gentleman Tim

            February 28, 2017 at 4:35 pm

            So funny you say that, David! I was at the Acme Oyster House having oysters when I wrote about my loving LA LA Land! IMO, Gosling too should have gotten an award for learning to play piano like that on such very short notice! I believe Errol would have been mightily impressed.

            By the way, for that dollar lalaheinz owes you, you could get at about a half an oyster on a half shell here in NO LA Land.

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      • The Zaca

        February 28, 2017 at 10:13 pm

        David D: you and me both.

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  3. The Zaca

    February 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I boycotted watching this years Oscars aka Razzies (and many previous) because it has slid into a morass of camp, cheap, arrogance, pseudo-acting, or to quote the Dalai Lama: “Much in the window; nothing in the room”. The screw up in presenting the best picture award was the icing on the cake; the politicizing of the whole deal was a total turnoff; many Americans are sick of the self-entitled pap coming from many of the millennial aged nominees…..yawn….got old years ago….no class no substance anymore, its all about being politically correct, race and – well, I’ll just quit there. Hope that clarifies things! :D

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    • shangheinz

      February 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Quite right Nava Zaca. This politically overcorrectness started long ago and may have cost Errol dearly. But what he lacks in recognition amongst movie critics is made up by devotion from us fellow Flynn fans. Leo DiCaprio had to wrestle a bear to get an Oscar, which he should have gotten for either “Aviator”, “Gangs of New York” or “Hoover”, www.bing.com…

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    • PW

      February 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      It was for those reasons that I ‘boycotted’ our piffling BAFTAs, though they did give best film award to ‘La La Land’ which I agree, is what movies should be about – entertainment. [The rest of this comment has been removed by the Admin because it breaks one of the comment guidelines of our blog. I am certain this was unintentional as the commenter is fairly new here. We do not discuss religion or politics unless it is Errol’s or his lack thereof. There are Grey areas, of course, but this was pretty obvious so I deleted that portion. Thanks for understanding, and on we go!]

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      • Gentleman Tim

        February 28, 2017 at 1:41 am

        Fear not Flynnmate Petronella! I, too, have been banished below decks and to the cooler!!

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        • shangheinz

          February 28, 2017 at 8:42 am

          [Sorry, old boy! Another problematic image]

          Haven`t we all been to the davehouse one time or another, Doberman Tim?

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        • PW

          February 28, 2017 at 7:33 pm

          That’s quite all right. I shall not try not to lose my head again. Having said that, I was heckled on TV once. I gave the man in the audience, who was being very rude , my standard response: ‘I am so sorry you aren’t feeling well.’ His reply was splendid and almost Errolian: ‘You wouldn’t be feeling well, either, if you had my wife and my income!’

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  4. rswilltell

    February 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Actually I agree with PW, because in spite of it’s big budget, “The Sun Also Rises” is a very sad, depressing film to watch. It is beautifully produced and photographed but it is a grim story. I never even liked the novel. The Academy Awards is Hollywood’s chance to sell the movie industry to the public, with entertainment and glamour. Last night Hollywood made horse’s asses of themselves to the entire world. Ralph Schiller

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    • rswilltell

      February 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Current Hollywood notwithstanding, I strongly suspect that Errol Flynn’s “Best Supporting Oscar” nomination for “The Sun Also Rises” is myth and urban legend. Yes everyone in the film industry as well as movie audiences were buzzing about Errol’s magnificent work in the film. Hemmingway himself walked out of the theatre in disgust and said Errol Flynn was the only good thing in it. Yes I believe Fox may well have blundered in pushing for Errol to win a “Beast Actor In A Starring Role” Oscar but the only evidence of a formal nomination is Tony Thomas’ interview with Flynn. If certain members of Hollywood were aghast at Flynn getting an Oscar nomination, they would have simply blocked it in the nominating process. Once it is announced it is out there and no has any evidence of the Academy announcing a mistake and adding a new 5th nominee. Perhaps Tony Thomas had insider information that at the last moment was changed before the announcements were made. Heinz and Tim dig deep, and perhaps you can unearth the original press release on the 1957 nominations and clear this up one way or the other. What is important is that in that film plus his follow-up films “Too Much, Too Soon” (1958) and “Roots Of Heaven” (1958) Flynn was brilliant and should have one for any of them. Ralph Schiller

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      • Karl

        February 28, 2017 at 12:45 am

        I’d like to recall a friend of us all in both flesh and spirit and channel him to weigh in with his UNIQUE take:

        …Personally, I have no doubt that Errol wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, but I think he would have agreed with George C. Scott that acting awards are intrinsically ridiculous, that the idea of handing out such things is silly and wrong-headed – especially when handed out by a town he despised and felt was rotten to the core. He deeply cared what the audience thought about his performances, at least in his earlier years, but not what Hollywood thought – that just didn’t factor into his value system, I’m afraid.
        As far as what was eating at him, why he drank and took drugs, it really helps to read his thoughts as he recorded them in his private diaries; you can find these in Tom’s excellent book, Tony Thomas’ THE WRITINGS OF ERROL FLYNN, and the biography INHERITED RISK by Jeffrey Meyers.

        I believe what was slowly destroying him had to do with basic insecurities going back to his childhood (that had nothing to do with acting, which he tended to play at, like playing at a game of tennis), the humiliation of his rape trial, his failure to be taken seriously as a writer, his nagging sense of loss as friends, women and pets kept dying on him or drifting away from him, and – dare I say it? – his utter futility in trying to find a sustaining and lasting faith in God.

        Best,

        Linc (Lincoln Hurst) November 12, 2007

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      • shangheinz

        February 28, 2017 at 9:01 am

        [Getty Images are problematic so get removed where found.]

        I am inclined to follow your lead, Rushstreet Ralph. We have to keep in mind that Errol excelled as a charmer, prankster and trickster. In order to introduce Shelly Winters to the Hollywood community he staged a stunt, that showed his superior marketing skills. In later years he would do everything he could to make headlines again. So maybe Tony Thomas was in on the self promo and Flynn was merely throwing his hat into the three ring circus called The Oscars.

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  5. Gentleman Tim

    February 28, 2017 at 1:26 am

    Amen to that, Karl. Words of wisdom from Lincoln.

    What Flynn deserves is formal recognition of his unparalleled greatness as an/the action/adventure actor. Pettywood will not give that to him, however. They remain too jealous of him and bitter that he would not cower to them. Doesn’t matter, though, as Errol rules supreme with whom it really counts, the public.

    IMHO

    P.S. Denzel was robbed. He was absolutely tremendous, far greater than Affleck.

    P.S. 2 LA LA Land should have won. It was brilliant on every level, cinematic entertainment at its greatest.

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    • shangheinz

      February 28, 2017 at 9:30 am

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      Thanks King Karl for sharing these lines of Linc Hurst. One can catch a glimpse of what would have an intriguing biography on Errol Flynn and his outlook on life in and out of the movies. One great Flynnosopher sadly missed. Just like the rest of his book: brightlightsfilm.com…

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      • rswilltell

        February 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm

        This has been a great string of knowledge on Errol Flynn and thanks to Karl a wonderful tribute to Lincoln Hurst, a great scholar and genuine friend to the swashbuckler’s memory. As one can see for themselves, Flynn’s taste was impeccable even in jail with Miss Maura Fitzgibbons! Ralph Schiller

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      • David DeWitt

        February 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        The title of Lincoln’s book was a compromise. Rogue was not Lincoln’s intention or in any way the focus of his book. Quite the opposite. He was fair but not taking advantage of controversy in any way.

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  6. Karl

    February 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you GENTLEman and ShangHEINZ for your good words on the man.

    Linc was addressing questions on the general subject of Academy recognition and shared some further thoughts. The venue was The Zaca Yahoo Group originated and captained by another MOST DEDICATED Flynnster, Brian Twist.

    (I, too, had the uniquely GREAT PRIVILEGE of also manning its helm for a time.)

    Linc, of course, was a published biblical scholar (Trinity International University, BA; Princeton, Masters; Oxford Doctorate, and a passionate champion of the new Flynnaisance.

    So, when he speaks of Flynn and other things, he has a certain informed perspective; here’s more:

    Nov 13, 2007

    ….I think we all have had parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles who’ve had alcohol problems; I don’t think in Errol’s case the answer is genetic. It certainly wouldn’t explain his prodigous drinking and drug taking, at the height of his success. Much of that was probably for the reasons I mentioned.

    Yes, toward the end he read the Bible, but he didn’t seem to read it the way Chistians do; he read it restlessly, and rather secretively (as in the jungle Huston may have caught him at night with the Coleman lantern while filming “The Roots of Heaven”). I think he was desperately trying to find the answer to his life. I can’t be certain he found it – although he did seem more peaceful at times, in the last year, and a week before his death he called his mother in England, when they “cleared everything up,” as she later wrote to Nora. You may interpret that as you will.

    While Flynn didn’t care much for acting honors, a Pulitzer on his mantle would have been something else. I think he would have sold his soul for a Pulitzer Prize, presented forb a book or article he’d written. Sadly, he might have got one for MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS, had he only lived six months longer; but then the issue of how much of that book was Flynn, and how much Earl Conrad, probably would have posed something of a problem in that regard.

    Best,
    Linc

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  7. Maria

    March 1, 2017 at 1:43 am

    This has been the best read in awhile! How I wish Lincoln Hurst’s book had been published! I guess no news on that?

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  8. Gentleman Tim

    March 6, 2017 at 4:52 am