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Silver River — Only a Sliver of Good Entertainment?

22 May

May 22, 1948

New York Times Review

Raoul Walsh is a director who knows how to handle scenes of violence and action, but he handicapped himself unmercifully in filming “Silver River” by cramming all the excitement into the first ten minutes or so. As a consequence the new picture, which Warner Brothers presented yesterday at the Strand, runs downhill for most of its remaining length.

The opening sequences are full of sound and fury, sweep and dash. The screen is crowded with charging horses and masses of men locked in bloody battle as the Blue and Gray collide at Gettysburg. A Union payroll wagon makes a spectacular torch as it tries vainly to outrun Jeb Stuart’s cavalry, and there is tingling, savage spirit in the way a company of soldiers demolish a crooked gambling, tent. Mr. Walsh shot the budget here, but he got the kind of results that stir up audience spirits.The beginning, however, is just an exciting prelude to a dull script about a cashiered Army captain’s lust for power and an attractive woman who is happily married and wants to stay that way. And all the charm Errol Flynn turns on to mask his true colors, plus all the temperament and determination that Ann Sheridan displays in the role of a hardy, pioneer beauty doesn’t help much to stem the ebbing tide.

Only a resourceful and soundly constructed script could have restored interest, but the story supplied by Stephen Longstreet and Harriet Frank Jr. gets increasingly incredible and stilted as it goes along. Flynn schemes his way into partnership in the silver mine owned by Miss Sheridan and spouse; summarily does away with a rival who wants in on his saloon and gambling hall; gobbles up some more mining interests, opens a bank and, from the looks of things, controls most of Nevada.Only Miss Sheridan remains outside his grasp, though not for long, as he permits her husband to go off on a fatal surveying trip knowing that hostile Indians abound in the territory. Although Mr. Flynn suffers reverses and is reformed by the loss of his empire and friends, we still think the Warners pulled a fast one on the Production Code people by making a hero out of a character who deliberately lets a man die in order to marry his widow.

You can tell “Silver River” is grade A western by the magnificence of its sets, the generous amount of extras used to swell the cast and the presence of Mr. Flynn and Miss Sheridan. But is it good entertainment? We say no. The stars are not given any opportunity for acting of any consequence, but they are assured in what they do and Tom D’Andrea, Bruce Bennett and Thomas Mitchell are around to help out.The Strand’s stage show includes Eddy Duchin and orchestra, Artie Dan, and also Perry Franks and Janyce.

SILVER RIVER, based on a novel by Stephen Longstreet; screen play by Mr. Longstreet and Harriet Frank Jr.; directed by Raoul Walsh; produced by Owen Crump for Warner Brothers. “Mike” McComb . . . Errol Flynn; Georgia Moore . . . Ann Sheridan; John Plato Beck . . . Thomas Mitchell; Stanley Moore . . . Bruce Bennett; “Pistol” Porter . . . Tom D’Andrea; “Banjo” Sweeney . . . Barton MacLane; “Buck” Chevigee . . . Monte Blue; Major Spencer . . . Jonathan Hale; Slade . . . Alan Bridge; Major Ross . . . Arthur Space; Major Wilson . . . Art Baker; President Grant . . . Joe Crehan.

A version of this article appears in print on May 22, 1948 of the National edition with the headline: ‘Silver River,’ With Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan at Strand.

— Gentleman Tim

 
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Cologne mystery

21 May

Last night in one of my “rabbit hole” research about Errol i ran into a mystery. It is believed that he wore Creed Cuire de Russie created for him..well it was created in the 18th century..

It is also believed that he wore Chanel Cuire de Russie. Created by Chanel in 1927

Do we indeed know what he used?

 

— Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

 
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A Toast to Number 1 on His 111

20 May

June 20, 2020, will be the 111th anniversary of Errol’s birth. In tribute there will be a global toast, with fans from around the world raising a glass to the number 1 swashbuckling action hero film star of all time. Anyone who would like to join in, please write in for details to the Errol Flynn Triad Tribute Toast Host at oneshipsailseast@gmail.com…, including the location from where you will be toasting. We would like to list all the locations/make a map. Including your name is optional.

Drinks representative of your location are encouraged. As examples, Errol is know to have drank Beer and Bundaberg Down Under – Jack Roses in Manhattan – Bloody Marys in Burbank – Vodka and Whiskey in LA – Cuba Libres in the Caribbean, Mint Julep in Kentucky, Wines, Beers, and Champagne in Europe, etc etc etc. Drinks need not include alcohol. Errol also drank coffee, and enjoyed tea with orange blossom honey. A more detailed list will be provided in coming days. It would be great if regional toasts included regional specialties also – Margarita’s in Mexico, Gins in the British Empire, Guinness in Ireland, etc etc etc. Anything that’s good Flynn fun.

11 days later, on July 1 we can raise a glass to Olivia, who herself raises a glass every year to Errol on July 20.

Cheers, Salud, Slainte, A Votre Sante, Prost, Cin Cin, Skal, Gesondhaid, Akale Maluna, Felicidades, 干杯, Ypa, 乾杯, and Oogy Waha!

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol India Rickshaw Accident

20 May

What do we know about the Rickshaw accident? I read his version. Jeffrey Meyer (he had a lot wrong in his book) he spoke of a punch.

Do we have anyone recollection of Errol’s scar? Earl Conrad mention seeing it in his Memories.

I would love some elucidation in merit.

— Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

 

Flynn and Coop Bought Coupes – Rode Bikes, Too

20 May

May 20, 1953 – What Errol Flynn knows Gary Cooper already knows a very long time!: And therefore Gary Cooper did not buy only one but three Mercedes cars of the type 300 and 300S in the Mercedes works in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim. He took just with himself a sedan car, the 300S cabriolet is to belong to his wife and the third Mercedes 300 is for a movie picture society.

Gary

Errol

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol’s Royal Geek

19 May

70 YEARS AGO TODAY – GHICA FINDS ERROL IRRESISTIBLE

New Orleans, May 18, 1950– Errol Flynn is irresistible to Rumanian Princess Irene Ghica
“because he keeps his mouth shut when I want quiet,” she said.

Forty-year-old Flynn
and the 19-year-old princess will probably marry in September – he for the third time.

He brought her to the United States from Bermuda so that he could finish a film based
on Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim.”

Flynn explained that the princess’ nickname, “Geek,” was the first syllable of Ghica.
She commented: “When I found out that a ‘geek’ is a person who, bites off chickens’ heads
at a carnival, I threw a pan at Errol.”

Flynn, who earns about £A89,286 a year, complained that he was going deeper into debt every day.

“There seems to be a lot of people I owe money to, he said. “You would think I had paid enough to one of the
ladies to whom I’ve been paying alimony for 10 years. Those payments are a terrible drain on a man’s income.”

He was referring to his first wife, Lili Damita. He recently asked the court for alimony relief, saying he was
paying £10,357 a year to support her and their nine year-old son, Sean.

Here are the Nearlyweds in November of 1949.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol Collapses on the Set of The Last Man

18 May

May 18, 1943

Syracuse Herald Journal

FLYNN COLLAPSES OF HOLLYWOOD SET

Hollywood, May 18 – Actor Errol Flynn was recovering today at Hollywood Hospital after collapsing on a Warner Bros. set.

he was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a week. His physicians, Dr. Carl F. Stevens and Thomas W. Hern, said Flynn suffered “a recurrence of an upper respiratory ailment” which he has had for some time.

Flynn collapsed yesterday while working on To the Last Man. Action will be shot around him until he returns.

Northern Pursuit was originally known as To the Last Man and was based on a magazine story. A.I. Bezzerides wrote the first screenplay under the supervision of Jesse L. Lasky. William Faulkner later worked on the script.

According to Tony Thomas:

“During the production of Northern Pursuit, Flynn took ill in May 1943, collapsing on the set and being hospitalized for a week. The studio released information indicating he had a “upper respiratory ailment,” but he was battling tuberculosis.”



Errol was said to have collapsed soon after the filming of this scene from To the Last Man, later renamed Norther Pursuit..

Errol was also reported to have “collapsed on the set” the year before, in Gentleman Jim, as discussed here and below.

This video review by Richard Brody of the New Yorker, shows the great fight scene (against Ward Bond playing John L. Sullivan) after which Errol is said to have collapsed, beginning at about 2:00. Also featured in this review is EFB’s own world champion biographer of Flynn, Tom McNulty, who wrote:

“Flynn collapsed during one of the boxing sequences and was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital. He was diagnosed as having experienced a mild heart attack. He was then flown to Baltimore and admitted to the Johns Hopkins University Hospital where physicians conducted a thorough physical examination. Their assessment was grim.”

www.newyorker.com…


02:00 There’s something special
02:10 about the character of Corbett.
02:12 He seems peculiarly modern,
02:13 in fact, even more modern than Walsh imagined.
02:17 Unlike the other boxers he faces,
02:18 he isn’t just a brawler, he’s a dancer,
02:21 he’s a master of fancy footwork.
02:23 And with his fancy footwork comes high-flowing verbiage,
02:27 the ability to use taunting to get
02:29 under his opponent’s skin and,
02:31 with his confection of his public image
02:32 and his careful attention to his appearance,
02:35 Corbett seems nothing less
02:36 than a precursor to Mohammad Ali.
02:39 [boxing bell rings]
02:41 [crowd cheers]

— Gentleman Tim

 

The perfect speciwoman

18 May

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

what do you see in the picture above?

I know about you, but I see a yacht and I think it was Errol`s.

The smiling siren in front of course is Joan Blondell, his co-star in the 1937 screwball comedy “The Perfect Specimen”.

In her biography “A Life Between Takes” she remembers our Hollywood hero very fondly: “Sometimes we walked in Warner`s Sherwood Forrest, where Errol Flynn gleefully told me untold tales of his youth during the picture we were making.”

Rose Joan Blondell was born on August 30, 1906 (she herself claimed 1909) to a vaudevillain family on the Manhattan Upper West Side and made her stage debut at the age of four months in a play called “The Greatest Love”. Right from the start her father of Jewish- polish descend Levi Bluestein aka Eddie Blondell and her Irish mother Catherine “Katie” Cain, gave her more acting lessons than she saw schooling. Famous for their stage version of the then immensely popular newspaper comic strip “The Katzenjammer Kids” her folks toured the country relentlessly along with her sister Gloria and brother Ed Jr.

At age eight she was shipped to Honolulu and spent a year there, and then six more in Australia. Little Joanie`s upbringing during that time probably was outsourced to some charitable society like for example the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. The Elks still have a lavish estate on Hawaii, actually very near located to the former “Shangri- La” villa of Doris Duke, where Errol used to roam too. Up to this day the B.P.O.E is very engaged in youth programms, while their boy scout like kiddie club “The Antlers” was disbanded abruptly in 1947. Whatever the ties Blondell had with this hornoray organisation, they proved career defining. In 1931/32 a dinner in her honour was held at the Elk`s Club in Hollywood when she had been elected “Baby Star”. Furthermore she was one of the main hostesses of the Elk`s Motion Picture Electrical Pageant in LA on July 16th of 1936. This extravaganza saw dozens of carriages with local beauty queens dressed as butterfly winged fairies (the Victoria`s Secret formula) carted to the Coliseum, where the parade came to a bonfire end.

A Warner Bros. workhorse in terms of turnout, Joan was making 50 films from 1930 to 1938. Ten in 1931 and another ten in 1932. This cruelling schedule landed the hard working girl in hospital at the end of the year. Starring mostly alongside James Cagney, whom she had met while playing opposite him on Broadway in the show “Maggie the Magnificent”. The film adaptation of their play “Penny Arcade” retitled “Sinner`s Holiday” became the starting point of a lifelong friendship. Cagney stated that she was the only woman other than his wife he ever had fallen in love with. Plus he stated she possessed the most beautiful derriere in Christendom. He should know, when one night on stage a lighting mishap set her asset on fire. Cagney was caught in a laughing fit looking at what seemed like “…two giant owl eyes staring back at me!

Unlike the other contract players Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davies, Joan never gave Jack Warner a hard time for piss pour roles and overexposure.”It takes all the talent you`ve got in your guts to play unimportant roles. It is not degrading, just hard to do.” Even when pregnant she managed to produce six movies, sitting behind desks hiding her growing tummy. Her utmost professionalism and toughness as acrylic nails got her the inofficial title of Studio Dame of the lot. “I just sailed through things, took the scripts I was given, did what I was told. I couldn`t afford to go on suspension.” In 1952 she earned her first and only Academy Award nomination as supporting actress in the “The Blue Veil”. By then she had switched from wisecracking blondie to strong female characters like that of Aunt Cissy in “A Tree  Grows in Brooklyn” directed by Elia Kazan.

Married three times (often time co- star William Powell  being one of her husbands), she never quite found the happiness of those carefree comedies in private life. Clark Gable had proposed to her, urging her not to marry that jealous and violent other guy. He may have meant Mike Todd, the theatre and film producer, who allegedly in a fit of rage hung Blondell out of the window feet last. With doing so he passed himself on to Elizabeth Taylor. In 1972 Joan Blondell lifted the veil on some of her life`s miseries in a thinly disguised fiction novel called “Center Door Fancy”.

I wonder if the book also reveals one of movie history`s all time greatest mystery. If it was her who was on lips and mind of Citizen Kane at his deathbed. Joan entered the 1926 Miss Dallas pageant and promptly won. But she participated under a false first name. Wanna know what it was !?

Rosebud.

Enjoy,

 

— shangheinz

 

Hot Time in Havana

17 May

At one of the world’s most “spectacular” and “phenomenally popular” night clubs in the world, the Eden Concert Night Club, located in the center of town between Sloppy Joe’s and the Hotel Plaza. In 1939, it evolved into the Tropicana.

May 17, 1938

Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn Friends In Havana Cafe Fight

“I think this all so funny”, quoth Lili Damita, stage and screen beauty, who was a spectator while fists and bottles flew in a free-for-all-fight at the Eden Concert Night Club with Errol Flynn taking a prominent part in the fighting.

The fight started last night when one of the members of Flynn’s party got into an argument with a man at a nearby table. A minute later, chairs and bottles began to fly.

Flynn, who often plays rough and tumble parts in the movies, joined in with two or three effective punches at those who got in his way. The only casualty was an unidentified American who received a broken nose and a cut eye. Flynn and the others were unhurt and continued their party.

Flynn’s only loss was the disappearance of a valued cigarette lighter.

May 17, 1938

Los Angeles Examiner

Errol Flynn Aids American In Fight

Errol Flynn, Hollywood film actor, received the thanks today of an unidentified American he saved from serious injury during a fight in a night club here last night.

Fists, bottles and chairs were flying when Flynn intervened. The American who was involved escaped with a broken nose. Flynn was not hurt.

He was accompanied by his wife, who refused to take the matter seriously.

Before the Eden Concert, there was the Zombie Club, at the same location on Zuluetta Avenue, two doors down from Sloppy Joe’s.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Today is the 80th Anniversary of Virginia City

16 May

Released on May 16, 1940

As this video of the Virginia City World Premier Tour poignantly depicts, 1940 was a wondrous time in Hollywood history, and in American history. Everything changed in ’41 – as abruptly as this video.

For a great review of Virginia City, and especially of Errol’s unmatched magnetism as a film star, see the Bogie Film Blog at this link.

For a great review of Virginia City, and especially of Errol’s unmatched magnetism as a film star, see the Bogie Film Blog at this link.

— Gentleman Tim