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The Amazing Curtiz

15 Apr

Mano Kaminer > Mihaly Kertesz > Michael Curtiz

The Most Underated Director in the History of Hollywood?

“Curtiz was already a well-known director in Europe when Warner Bros. invited him to Hollywood in 1926, when he was 39 years of age. He had already directed 64 films in Europe, and soon helped Warner Bros. become the fastest-growing movie studio. He directed 102 films during his Hollywood career, mostly at Warners, where he directed ten actors to Oscar nominations. James Cagney and Joan Crawford won their only Academy Awards under Curtiz’s direction. He put Doris Day and John Garfield on screen for the first time, and he made stars of Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Bette Davis. He himself was nominated five times and won twice, once for Best Short Subject for Sons of Liberty and once as Best Director for Casablanca.”

“Curtiz introduced to Hollywood a unique visual style using artistic lighting, extensive and fluid camera movement, high crane shots, and unusual camera angles. He was versatile and could handle any kind of picture: melodrama, comedy, love story, film noir, musical, war story, Western, or historical epic. He always paid attention to the human-interest aspect of every story, stating that the “human and fundamental problems of real people” were the basis of all good drama.”

What was his Greatest Film? Who were his Greatest Stars?

greatestmovies.quora.com…?

www.google.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 

Taylor vs. Flynn

25 Jan

PULLING NO PUNCHES: All Time Awesome Aussies

Extracts from: “DVD REVIEW: ACTOR ROD TAYLOR, FORMER BOXER AND LIFESAVER, PULLS NO PUNCHES”

By Simon Caterson January 25, 2018

As an all-purpose Australian leading man of the 1950s through to the ’70s in Hollywood, Rod Taylor was the natural screen successor to Errol Flynn. Flynn has maintained legendary status despite or because of his scandalous private life as well as his sparkling performances on screen, inspiring many biographies and biopics. Meanwhile, the impressive acting career of Taylor, who died in 2015 at the age of 84 after appearing in more than 50 feature films has been neglected.

The DVD/VOD release of Rod Taylor – Pulling No Punches is a welcome corrective as well as being a thoroughly entertaining documentary.

Flynn and Taylor belonged to different generations, though they played a range of not dissimilar big screen roles, from romantic comedy through to Westerns and war films, from pirate epics to contemporary thrillers. Taylor arguably played a wider variety of characters than Flynn, who died at 50.

Flynn’s career was constrained by working within the studio system at Warner Brothers and limited for the most part to working with certain directors and co-stars. By contrast, Taylor’s career, which commenced a few years after Flynn’s death, saw him work with a range of directors including Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and, in his final performance he played Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.

In his prime, Flynn was almost impossibly handsome, while Rod Taylor came across as more of a regular guy. Bright-eyed and with a wide smile held in place by a strong jaw, there is an open faced, slightly rough-hewn look about Taylor – a certain down to earth, can-do quality that he seemed to project. He was a good-looking bloke, on whom, it seems there were no flies.

There are actors who may not win awards or garner critical accolades but they do win the hearts of cinemagoers who just want to enjoy seeing them on the screen. That easy-going, exportable charisma was there in Paul Hogan in his heyday and you can see it in the screen presence of an actor like Hugh Jackman or the Hemsworth brothers, a combination of mildness and athleticism with an apparent absence of pretension, angst or vanity.

In Pulling No Punches, Bryan Brown equates the international acting career of Rod Taylor with a big adventure for an Australian of that era in particular. Like many of the more authentic movie stars, Taylor was not the product of a posh drama school but had done a few different different things and seen a bit of life. So too had Errol Flynn, though Taylor seems to have been more level-headed in handling the pressures of fame.

— Gentleman Tim

 

“Funniest Joke Ever”

10 Oct

The “Funniest Joke Ever” comes from the radio program “Duffy’s Tavern”, as heard on February 16, 1951:

www.quality-schnallity.com…
(Please note that the March 9 show date on this site is incorrect)

free-classic-radio-shows.com…

The set-up:

(Archie, a common man who runs Duffy’s Tavern for the never-heard Duffy, has startled all present by announcing that he is writing an opera).

Miss Duffy:

Archie, whaddya call this opera?

Archie:

I’m glad you reminded me. I ain’t got a title yet. Lemme see… I need something that’s classy, and at the same time has broad appeal…

Miss Duffy:

Why don’t you call it Errol Flynn?

Archie:

Please, Miss Duffy. With me this is serious business.

Miss Duffy:

With me you think it’s a joke?

Archie:

Quiet, please. I’m trying to create.

— Gentleman Tim

 

This Sunday Morning

17 Sep

Posted Sunday, September 16, 2017

A fascinating behind-the-scenes bio of Warner Brothers’ songwriter, Moe Jerome.

From Tin Pan Alley to Tinseltown, from “A Daughter’s Prayer at Twilight” to “Some Sunday Morning”.

www.thedailybeast.com…

“At Warner Bros. from 1929 to 1949, he wrote, not for the masses, but for a film’s producer who wanted a song for a comedy or a western, or a drama or a musical. Take, for example the 1945 film San Antonio, starring Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith. He and his lyricist partner, Ted Koehler, quickly created a lovely ballad called “Some Sunday Morning.”

“The film was an instant hit. So was “Some Sunday Morning.” It was Flynn and Smith’s romantic theme song. Every time the two appeared on screen, the melody played in the background, courtesy of the film’s composer, Max Steiner. Smith sang it in a large production number set in the local saloon.”

“As early as January 5, 1946, the song made Billboard’s “Honor Roll of Hits,” a list denoting America’s top tunes. It charted at Number 9. Sales of sheet music were also excellent: for 14 weeks, the song was in the top five. And early in 1946, the song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song.”

Some Sunday Morning”

What initially brought Jerome great fame and success, however, was “Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight”, a song he wrote during World War I – once contemporaneously called “the greatest constructed song ever published.”

“Moe had high hopes for a particular melody he wrote, a kind of lullaby he often hummed when he put his young son to sleep. But he wanted this song to be a statement about the cost of the war, what it did to those left behind.”

“Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight (For My Daddy Over There)”

— Gentleman Tim

 

Mail Bag from Manhattan! Errol & Fidel Musical!

16 Jul

Just ending it successful run at the New York Musicic Festival was the musical offering Errol & Fidel from writer producers Boyd Anderson & Guy Anderson; Music by Peter Kaldor, John Kaldor and Doug Oberhamer; Lyrics by Boyd Anderson, directed by Michael Bello … Our own Karl Holmberg, Gentleman Tim, and Donna Juan attended the show and write to us from the theatre stage! I will let them comment on the show itself but here are some wonderful images, and a look at a novelty item soon available to everybody who follows our blog. More about that in another posting …

Some photos:

One adventure, two heroes. Something’s gotta give.

Cuba, 1958: Revolution is in the air! In his final year Errol Flynn has one last adventure. The dashing star of so many Hollywood blockbusters yearns to be a real hero, and Fidel Castro fits the bill. What Fidel craves is fame, and who better than Errol to show him how? At the height of the revolution an explosive encounter beckons – fueled by envy, lust, and vanity – with a mysterious woman calling the tune. Or could the CIA really be pulling the strings? Who knew revolution could be so much fun?

Recommended for ages 13+
Running time: 2 hours
GENRE: Comedy, Drama, History, Politics, Romance

— David DeWitt

 

The Hell Fire Club, Errol, Patrick and Rex

31 Jan

The original Hell Fire Club (Errol was a member of a watered down Hollywood homage, which he doubtless regretted, as he would have vastly preferred the original) has been the subject of books and films. Its first meeting took place in 1747, under the auspices of Sir Francis Dashwood, rake and dilettante, in the cellar of the George & Vulture Inn in London. The George & Vulture, which in the City, is still open as a restaurant. Shakespeare is said to have stayed there, and Dickens wrote parts of the Pickwick Papers while in situ.

The George & Vulture

 

The best screen ‘portrayal’ of the Hell Fire Club – which revives its 18th Century ethos – is in The Avengers episode, ‘A Touch of Brimstone’ (1966), starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg as Steed and Mrs Peel.

The episode caused outrage when it was shown on television, including protests in Parliament, and was banned in America. It concerns a degenerate aristocrat, The Hon. John Cleverly Cartney, who revives the club, its period dress, its orgies and its anarchic spirit. He takes the anarchy a bit far however, when he tries to blow up three visiting heads of state.

Cartney is played by one of the most interesting actors of the period, who also appeared in ‘The Innocents’ (1961), with Deborah Kerr. His name was Peter Wyngarde and despite his on screen roles as a homme fatale, he was gay.

Peter Wyngarde as John Cartney

What made the episode so infamous, however, was the orgy scene, in which Diana Rigg is dressed in a leather S&M outfit, with boots and a dog collar, pictured below.

It is not all orgies. Patrick Macnee does some very fine fencing in order to foil, as it were, the dastardly plotters.

The incomparable Patrick, who would have made the second best James Bond after Errol, was a sort of cousin of mine, his maternal grandmother Frances being the granddaughter of the 12th Earl of Huntingdon. So back we go to Robin Hood!

Patrick worked with Christopher Lee, who was also a friend, and Lee, of course worked with Errol. Patrick never met Errol, but they had certain similarities, apart from being dashing, charming, erudite, gentlemanly and able to carry off period costumes.

They both had very difficult relationships with their mothers. Patrick’s mother, Dorothea, decided to become a lesbian, which, not surprisingly, led to the breakup of her marriage. Patrick was raised by Dorothea and her ‘partner,’ Evelyn, whom he called ‘Uncle Evelyn.’

He was then sent to Eton, but expelled for selling pornographic photographs and acting as a bookie for his classmates.

Macnee appeared in a minor role in Olivier’s film of ‘Hamlet’. His big film break came with a rather mediocre musical comedy called ‘Les Girls’ (1957), in which he played a barrister. The highlights were Macnee and the wonderful Kay Kendall, who was married to Rex Harrison and already ill with the leukemia that was to kill her at the age of only 32.

Kay Kendall in Les Girls

Interestingly, two years before, Kendall had co-starred with Robert Taylor in ‘The Adventures of Quentin Durward’, which was supposed to have been a vehicle for Errol.

Kay made two films with Harrison, the British comedy ‘The Constant Husband,’ and ‘The Reluctant Debutante,’ which also featured American teen queen, Sandra Dee.

Harrison remains a contentious figure. Yes, he could be astoundingly rude and unpleasant, but he could also be heroic in private. Kay Kendall had been his mistress, and though he was in love with her, he remained very attached to his then wife, Lili Palmer.

When Kay’s doctor told Harrison she was dying, he and Lili had a discussion. It was agreed they would divorce so he could marry Kay and look after her during the time she had left. He did this devotedly and never told Kay she was ill, which must have been a great strain on him. When she died, he was genuinely devastated.

Of course he spoiled it slightly by telling people what a marvellous and selfless thing he had done, but he did it just the same. Rex went on to marry a friend of my father, Elizabeth Harris, the former wife of roistering actor Richard Harris. The marriage was not an unqualified success, with Rex reverting to hype. One day Elizabeth came down to breakfast and Rex said: ‘That’s a fine cavalry moustache you have this morning.’

Notwithstanding his lack of tact, Harrison was a joy as an actor, with his astringent rasp of a voice and sheer panache. (He even made cardigans look sexy, though not as sexy as Errol did.) He would have been a major Hollywood star in the 1940s, had it not been for the Carole Landis scandal.

Carole Landis

Yet was his behaviour towards Landis as deplorable as all that? Rex was married to Lili when he met the blonde actress, and Carole was no blushing innocent, having been thrice-married herself and rather generous with her favours, as well as being mentally unstable. Or, as we say over here, a complete basket case.

When she started her affair with Rex, she must have known he was not going to leave Palmer. Almost a year later, in 1948, she took an overdose. Rex found her while she was still alive, but there was a delay in calling an ambulance. Apparently, he had been searching through her address books hoping to find the telephone number of her private doctor in order to avert a scandal.

Shocking as this was, there have been other cases of famous men doing the same – even when the women who had overdosed were their wives! Greek tycoon Stravros Niarchos acted in precisely the same manner when his wife Eugenie overdosed and then died, and John Paul Getty Jr likewise, after spouse Talitha Pol ingested too much heroin.

Rex had signed a contract with Fox, which was dropped ‘by mutual consent.’ Perhaps this made him bitter and thus increasingly choleric. I wonder if he ever met Errol? He certainly knew Errol’s chum David Niven, who was very dyspeptic about Rex in his memoirs, but kept inviting him to dinner, just the same.

— PW

 
 

“My Favorite Year” revisited

27 Jan

Otoole-FlynnRichard Benjamin reminisces about the making of the Flynn-inspired comedy classic “My Favorite Year” with Peter O’Toole as swashbuckler Alan Swann. (Which resulted in an Oscar-nomination for O’Toole.) It includes interesting insight into O’Toole’s training for the sword scenes. Oh, to have watched those rehearsals.

www.accessatlanta.com…

— zacal

 
1 Comment

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The Errol Café Society

16 Nov

image

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

There is a mention of Errol in the new Woody Allen film “Café Society”. It is fine movie overall with a genuine Hollywood of (G)old feel to it.

Best line: “Life is a comedy written by a sadistic comedy writer”.

And woodyn’t you know it, Flynn is in this lovetriangle-homage-farce about real and made up movie stars, panicky producers and go for it gaffers.

Enjoy,

— shangheinz

 

Farewell To Would-Be Errol Flynn Swashbuckler, Gene Wilder

30 Aug

scene from film

film

‘Gene Wilder with sidekick Marty Feldman is ready to take on all opponents!’

Movie comedian Gene Wilder died yesterday at age 83.  He left behind a legacy of 26 films including two swashbucklers.    The first is the forgotten comedy classic ‘Start The Revolution Without Me” (1970) where he delightfully co-starred with Donald Sutherland as two pairs of mixed-up, identical twins in the French Revolution of 1789.  One pair the wealthy, arrogant Aristocrats the Corsican Brothers, and the other,  two cowardly Paris paupers.  This beautifully shot costume, period film even has Orson Welles as an on-camera narrator.  The second is the hilarious “The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother” (1974) with Wilder as the great detective’s jealous and insecure kid brother, Sigerson.  This forgotten Holmes case has climatic duels with one between rapidly traveling coaches in the London fog, and a climatic rooftop swordfight to the death between Sigi Holmes and his brother’s arch-enemy Professor Moriarty played by Leo McKern.   Thanks Mr. Wilder and God bless you.  Ralph Schiller

— rswilltell

 
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Flynn’s Film? Errol’s Oscar?

27 Feb

Was Norman Maine based in part on Errol Flynn?
(and/or perhaps John Barrymore and/or Norman Kerry?)
books.google.com…

Was Errol offered the role, but rejected it?
www.imdb.com…

Would Errol have been a better Norman Maine?
greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com…

Or, did Jack Warner “blackball” him from getting it?
www.tcm.com…
www.geraldclarke.com…

Was this Errol’s best chance to win an Academy Award for Best Actor?

— Gentleman Tim

 
7 Comments

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