RSS
 

Flynn Lines & Flynnish Lines

14 Mar

What are Flynn’s most famous lines and alleged lines? What are your favorites?

Here are six to kick off the post.

— Gentleman Tim

 

“Situation Dynamite”

14 Mar

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol, David Niven, ‘Objective Burma’ and the English.

10 Mar

Per corollary of the ‘Objective Burma’ controversy, it is sometimes alleged that Errol harboured anti-British sentiments and vice versa. In fact, he was an ardent admirer of Churchill, and, as we know, the King and Queen.

This erroneous impression arose from two things, neither of which were Errol’s fault. The first was press speculation as to why he did not join up when Britain declared war on Germany (he was, after all, Tasmanian), and a few years later, why he did not join up when the US entered the war.

I am afraid that ‘anti-Errol’ prejudice was fuelled by his former friend, colleague and housemate, David Niven.

Niven came from a military background and had been educated at Stowe House (England’s first ‘progressive’ boarding school, but not quite progressive enough for the young Niv ,who was as sexually precocious as Errol).

After leaving Stowe he joined a Scottish regiment, before deciding on a career in acting. In Hollywood, however, he remained very ‘British’ and never took out US citizenship.

Deeply patriotic, when Britain declared war on Germany, Niven returned to England at once to take up his commission. He also let it be known, in private, that he believed ‘others in Hollywood’ – it was easy to guess to whom he referred – were guilty of dereliction of duty. Errol was Australian and in those days, when Australia was still part of the Empire, it counted as being British.

 

Lieutenant-Colonel Niven with his first wife, Primula Rollo.

Later, after Errol’s death, the usually affable Niven returned to the subject in his rather brilliant memoir of Hollywood, ‘Bring on The Empty Horses.’ .

This was the sequel to the bestselling ‘The Moon’s A Balloon’ , which vies with Errol’s ‘My Wicked, Wicked Ways’ as the best autobiography by an actor. I will stick my neck out here and say that Niven, stylistically, was a better writer – though less profound. I am judging this not on ‘My Wicked, Wicked Ways’, as we don’t know how much was written by Errol and how much by Earl Conrad, but on ‘Beam Ends.’

Niven devoted a whole chapter to Errol. Most of it is affectionate, yet because of this one incident when Errol seemingly ‘chose not to fight for his country’, there is a sour note and the general reader not versed in Flynnography would have had the impression that the lovable, good-eggish Niven regarded Errol as as a highly amusing 18-carat shit.

Sadly, very few people in the US , and probably no-one in the UK at that time, were aware of how desperate Flynn had been to enlist. Had Niven  known the truth, he would have behaved quite differently.

But it is indubitably true that the controversy surrounding Errol’s ‘war record’, had not been helped by ‘Objective Burma’.

The film, as we have noted, had Winston Churchill and other senior politicians, as well as the British press and public foaming a la bouche.

It matters not one hill of beans if politicians or newspaper editors are upset. It is part of their job. Ordinarily, little upset Churchill – at least not in public. But what got under his skin – and he was a quarter American himself – was the very real anguish felt by British soldiers and the families of British war dead.

It has been asserted again and again, by both British and US military historians, that Burma was a British and Australian theatre of war, not an American one, and that the British incurred heavy losses there. The majority of Allied forces in Burma were British, South African, Australian, Indian and Chinese. The film caused offence not only in Britain, but in Singapore. Nor did it go down well with the Australians.

But the film was not banned in Britain and Singapore, as I originally and mistakenly suggested. Warner Bros pulled it from release in the UK after one week, horrified and dismayed by the offence it caused. The film was re-released in Britain in 1952, but only with a grovelling disclaimer.

Of course the British press was quite wrong to take its ire out on Errol. All blame lay with Warner Bros, but it is always more profitable to be iconoclastic – especially when the icon to be toppled had made his career out of portraying action heroes in the cinema.  Errol was an easy target, already notorious in his personal life, and a ‘shirker’ to boot.

A leading English newspaper printed a cartoon with the line: ‘Excuse me, Mr Flynn, but you are treading on some graves.’ From what I have heard and read, Errol was very distressed by this, and as a result, turned a bit sour on ‘Objective Burma’ (though he did regard it as one of his best dramatic performances), but was, of course, unable to defend himself.

Over ‘ere, Errol was ‘rehabilitated’ a long time ago. He is also taken very seriously as an actor. The Guardian newspaper recently ran a piece praising  Errol as a man, a writer and an actor, and six months ago there was an Errol Flynn season on the BBC with commentary by some very distinguished people.

Christopher Lee, shortly before he died, narrated a very good documentary on Errol, commissioned by British television, which set the record straight and shows Flynn in an almost shining light. In fact, Flynn has never been so ‘In’.

And how can Brits not love him? No other film star personified English ‘chivalry’ the way Errol did, not to mention what is called ‘English Exceptionalism.’

‘Objective Burma’, however, cannot be rehabilitated as a ‘factually based’ film on any level, and was, to put it mildly, a little impolite to America’s Allies.

The Guardian, which is a left-leaning broadsheet, and if anything, tends to mock or denigrate British military achievements, wrote the most balanced, recent article on the subject of the film. Yes, it was a great war movie, but it was horribly insensitive and should not have been released so quickly, when British wives, mothers, and children were mourning the loss of their men.

(An interesting note. Lester Cole, who co-wrote the script, became notorious himself a few years later when HUAC accused him of ‘Un-Americanism’,  and he became one of black-listed ‘Unfriendly Ten.’ Perhaps ‘Objective Burma’ was jinxed?)

Here is a link to the article

www.theguardian.com…

— PW

 
7 Comments

Posted in Main Page

 

Speaking of Burma …

08 Mar

Errol starred in a movie which included an actor in key role who in real life served in America’s Burma campaigns. This actor even had a hand in bombing the equivalent of the fictional but fact-based “Bridge Over the River Kwai”?

Here’s some Jeopardy-like music for you to listen to while you contemplate who this actor was:

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol’s Marauders

08 Mar

Versus

Inspired by the U.S. Army’s “Merrill’s Marauders”, Warner Bothers produced Operation Burma! in 1945. It’s an outstanding film and one of Errol’s personal favorites. Nevertheless, it backfired big time for Flynn, with Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten, enraged members of the British Army and citizenry, hurling personal attacks at Flynn, falsely accusing him of acting as if “he won the War single-handedly”.

See, for example, this article from just last week again mocks and maligns Errol and the movie (along with some other great films):

www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/772318/Based-true-story-historical-action-films-accuracy…

Despite all these bitter complaints and attacks, however, Operation Burma! had a very strong and obvious connection to actual military operations of Merrill’s Marauders in Burma. As evidence, here is a National Archive video including 1944 news reel film which I believe likely inspired production of Operation Burma! Similarly, the second link is a transcription of a New York Times report further hailing the heroics of Merrill’s Marauders. Clearly, this unique operation in Burma was all very well and widely known and praised prior to the making of Operation Burma!.

archive.org…

www.marauder.org…

Here is a better, more informed and informative criticism of the film:

www.historytoday.com…

I recently visited the outstanding World War II Museum in New Orleans and was very significantly impressed by their extensive exhibit on Merrill’s Marauders (Below are a couple of poorly-taken cell phone photos I took which fail to capture the very high quality of the museum and exhibit.) This exhibit serves to further confirm the profound actual and public relations impact Vinegar Joe Stillwell and Frank Merrill’s operations had against the Japanese in Burma, and on the American public.

____________________________________________________________

SO, based on the unquestionably significant and heroic courage and accomplishments of Merrill’s Marauders, my question for all on both sides of the pond and beyond, is:

Was Errol and Operation Burma! wrongly and/or excessively criticized (or at least not properly or sufficiently credited) for this extraordinary war film?

____________________________________________________________

— Gentleman Tim

 

A New Errol Flynn Movie?

07 Mar

Due Out Friday

“Hiddleston displays his inner Errol Flynn”

www.couriermail.com…

Skull Island was “a no-brainer” says Samuel K. Jackson:

“I was trying to grow up and be Errol Flynn at one point. I wanted to jump from ship to ship, with a sword in my teeth.”

www.goerie.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 

As You Wish

06 Mar
    Carl Elwes as Errol Flynn

    On tour discussing The Princess Bride, including this weekend in Florida

    The Princess Bride: An Evening With Cary Elwes

    Merging multiple news sources …

    “Cary Elwes was chosen for the role of Westley in Princess Bride because he reminded Carl Reiner of the swashbuckling heroes of early cinema, specifically Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks As depicted below, he later joined Flynn and Fairbanks in playing Robin Hood, of course.

    Elwes and Mandy Patinkin spent more months perfecting their famous swordfight — right- and left-handed. Reiner hired the best coaches in Hollywood: Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson. Not only did both men train the original swashbuckler, Errol Flynn, they both worked on Star Wars.”

    — Gentleman Tim

     

Missing Linc

05 Mar

Sunday Morning Tribute to Flynn Fan and Scholar Extraordinaire, Lincoln Hurst

ldhursteulogy.blogspot.com…

en.wikipedia.org…

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Big Easy Quiz

03 Mar

Well, maybe not so easy …

Thanks to top Flynnside source(s).

How do the below images relate to Errol? What, where, why, and with whom????

— Gentleman Tim

 

Merci to Bob!

02 Mar

Thanks to Our Man Bob, I was able to learn before leaving New Orleans that, per Buster Wiles, Errol visited Arnaud’s and Antoines, two of the Crescent City’s most legendary restaurants.

Arnaud’s has what is considered one of the world’s greatest bars. It is also often said to be “the most beautiful dining room in New Orleans, Arnaud’s offers the quintessential New Orleans dining experience. Remaining true to its traditions and courtesies, Arnaud’s has served exceptional Creole cuisine for nearly 100 years.”

Errol is very prominently mentioned in the obituary of Germaine Cazenave Wells, the daughter of “Count Arnoud”, an astonishing New Orleans legend in her own right.

archives.chicagotribune.com…

“No New Orleans trip is complete” without a “sumptuous” French-Creole meal at this “classic of all classics” (established 1840) “in the heart of the French Quarter”, where “oysters Rockefeller was invented”; the “elegant” setting is “composed of many rooms” that boast “museum-quality artifacts” (“ask for a guided tour”), so even if prices are thoroughly modern, everything else is a “throwback to a more gracious time.”

Antoine’s, Daddy-O, featuring Candy and Kostner in a film Flynn would have been sensational in. You dig?

— Gentleman Tim