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”.