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The Adventures of Don Flynn: 1939

27 Feb

February 27, 1939

Louella Parsons
Los Angeles Examiner

How would you like to see the dashing Errol Flynn play the equally dashing Don Juan? Academy Award winning producer Hal Wallis is plotting such a story as a follow-up to Robin Hood. He will not use the Lord Byron material, but will base The Adventures of Don Juan on a story by Bess Meredyth wrote when she was a Warner scenarist. Bess, who retired from active work to enjoy her ranch, will do a rewrite job with Roland Leigh. Of course it will be a Michael Curtiz picture.

….

Though rarely remembered today, Bess Meredyth was a brilliant talent, maybe even a greater talent than Michael Curtiz, her husband from 1929 to his death in 1962. She often helped Curtiz on his projects, particularly with writing and rewriting, explaining, I suspect, why a man so infamously challenged by the English language could turn out such masterfully scripted films. Bess was behind the scenes. She was a very accomplished vaudevillian, film actress, musician, comedienne, business women, and screenwriter. Her many friends and colleagues in the industry included Bundy Drive Boys Gene Fowler and John Barrymore. She was reportedly a big help to Barrymore during his Hollywood years. (Notably, she also wrote the screenplay for Barrymore’s Don Juan, released in 1926 and featuring more kisses than any other film in history, 127 at last count.)

Bess Meredyth

Here’s looking at you, Bess:

— Gentleman Tim

 

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  1. gerry

    February 28, 2020 at 1:24 am

    She also wrote the screenplay for the 1940 Mark of Zorro

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  2. Gentleman Tim

    February 29, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    With Zorro, and over a hundred of films, really left her mark, gerry – as an actress, a screenwriter, a dialogue doctor, and, I suspect, a key figure behind the success of Michael Curtiz. Additionally, she was the very influential mother of prolific telvision director John Meredith Lucas, who, among many other things, co-wrote the screenplay for Captain Pirate (Based on Raphael Sabatini’s Captain Blood Returns.)

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    “John Meredyth Lucas, son of silent screen star and screenwriter Bess Meredyth ( Ben-Hur, The Sea Beast, When a Man Loves, Don Juan) and stepson of renowned Hungarian-born director Michael Curtiz ( Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Life with Father), came of age in Hollywood during the 1930s. Lucas went on to an impressive career of his own as a writer-producer-director. He made films with Hal Wallis, Ross Hunter, Walt Disney, and others, and he wrote, produced, and directed such classic television series as Mannix, The Fugitive and Star Trek. Completed shortly before his death in 2002, Lucas’s memoir is filled with never-before-told recollections of many Hollywood greats and features previously unpublished photographs. With Lucas, we go behind the scenes, onto the studio lots and into the parties with family friends John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn and Jack Warner, to name just a few. It’s a boys-eye-view of Hollywood in a time of glamour, decadence, and the golden years of filmmaking.”

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