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An effigy for Errol

17 Feb

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

I came across a curious item auctioned off last week bearing Errol`s (first) name.

The seller announced it like this:

Wonderfully expressive, signed vintage carved statue from Rose Hall, Jamaica, depicting a kneeling bearded gentleman with hands clasped around his middle. Solid, one piece carving from a dense, medium brown color wood, possibly mahogany, polished to a nice sheen, slight crack on base behind figure. Signed on underside of base, “Errol,” Rose Hall, Little River Ja(maica.) Coincidentally, the famous hotel in Jamaica, Rose Hall, is where legendary Hollywood actor Errol Flynn spent a great deal of time. Material: wood. Measurement: approximate 26″ (INCHES). Shipping: $100; different rate to Alaska, California, Hawaii & all International.

Now if it served him simply as a good luck charm, as epitome of virility or as a shield against evil spells we may never know, but it is attached to another Flynn film project of later years.

Our Hollywood hero contemplated making a movie out of  Herbert George de Lisser`s 1929 novel “The Witch from Rose Hall”. Mr. Lisser wrote for Jamaica`s The Gleaner and was the editor of the yearly “Rum Punch” publication about the island`s Who`s who and the How much…

In the book main character Robert Rutherford is sent to Jamaica to learn the planter`s business from the bottom. He becomes the overseer at Rose Hall. The owner, young widow Mrs. Palmer, whose three husbands have all died in suspicious circumstances, gets attracted to him. So does the housekeeper Millicent.

Read about fine line between fact and fiction here:

Annie Patterson: the “White Witch” of Rose Hall between Reality and Legend.

In April of 1957 a Gleaner article announced that the filming of “The White Witch of Jamaica” to begin the following year. Flynn would produce it together with director Marquis Warren from a screenplay by James Edward Grant (a John Wayne regular).

At first Vivian Leigh had been considered for the lead. Then it was Ava Gardner who took sole pole position. She had expressed interest in the project, since her long running contract with MGM would conveniently come to an end in 1958. The title of the movie had meanwhile expanded to “The White Witch of the Indies”.

On July 10th of `57 Errol wrote a letter to MGM studio head Benny Thaw to get green light for Ava`s particpation:

” I went with Grant to Madrid a few days ago to see Ava Gardner..Ava appeared extremely interested in this property, and doing it with me…I would like to ask you personally…if it is true that she will be free to make any deals outside of Metro in one year`s time. TWWOTI is perfect for her as a vehicle- so can you tell me if M. is of her opinion…that she will be free to contract for her services in about a year and two months from now. 

I shall certainly appreciate a personnal word from you, Benny. I hope  Life is as pleasant for you as it is for me here. Why don`t you take a look?” Sincerely EF

What sounded like a shoo in for success in terms of resurrecting an ailing career was not to be.

Maybe a rabbit`s foot would have brought more luck.

Enjoy,

 

 

 

— shangheinz

 

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  1. Gentleman Tim

    February 17, 2020 at 9:07 am

    O, what a wicked, wicked white witch she was, hauntedheinz. Ava would have been an awesome Annie. And A Boy Named Cash next door could have sang the theme song:

    Johnny Cash’s White Witch of Montego Bay

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  2. shangheinz

    February 17, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    The man in black and the white witch made a perfect pair, Manorman Tim. Blanche Blackwell, a Flynn and a Fleming favorite kept affirming eerie anecdotes of restless spirits in these old plantage buildings. She assembled a small group around the ojida board at Bellevue, another haunted hotspot on Jamaica. Property of the wife of Ivar Bryce, a spook in his own right, it was built on sacred ground and a young maiden was said to have flung herself from its cliff into the sea.

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