King Solomon's Mines

24 Sep

I just saw “King Solomon's Mines” on TCM and it is a great movie!
Throughout the movie I visualized Errol playing the part! He would have been great in it, as a matter of facts he would have been excellent!
How in heavens name could he have missed this great opportunity to a fabulous reenactment of himself? Who advised him? Exchanging “King Solomon's Mines” for “Kim” somebody sure was out for lunch! Was Errol that much his own enemy or fallacy? Where were his advisers – did he have any?
I read he didn't wanted to go to Africa. Errol always liked to go to new countries and at that time he never made a movie in Africa – so? He said he wanted to go to India, because he was never there, which is not quite true as he was in parts of India on his way from New Guinea to England. Was Errol that much his own enemy? I very often think of the old proverb “with friends like that who needs enemies” and I think Errol had a lot of friends like that. I always maintained that Errol was a most naive and gullible man, which brought him in a lot of hot waters because he trusted people who so often ill advised him, betrayed him or took him to the cleaners! Thinking of it one can only feel sorry and despair for him! I know it is past and gone, but nevertheless we are here to discuss him – the good and the not so good.
Anybody having any answers to that puzzle of Errol?  I hope the many of our members have something to say about this subject and voice their inside knowledge and opinions?

— Tina


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  1. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Tina!
    Though I've never seen the film King Solomon's Mines, I'm familiar with the character of Alan Quartermain, and when I read (I think in either The Films of Errol Flynn, or McNulty's book, or both) that Errol chose to do the film Kim over King Solomon's Mines, I thought, “Oh man, that was a mistake! Errol would've made a great Alan Quartermain, and King Solomon's Mines would've been a better film for him than Kim!” I know I would've loved to have seen Errol as Alan Quartermain. *Sigh* Oh well…water under the bridge.
    Anyway, I agree with you, Tina, that Errol didn't pick his friends very well, and probably didn't have anyone advising him well either. But then, would he have listened to good advice anyway? One never knows with him it seems.

  2. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    All good points. Didn't he end up in Africa with Roots of Heaven and it was a terrible shoot? Maybe he knew that and was avoiding it? Maybe he wasn't offered enough money as money seems to be what he needed at that time.

  3. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Rachel;
    Sorry you did not see the movie, watch out for it on TCM they play it sometimes. I agree with you just my feeling too and you are right Errol would have made a great Alan Quartermain!

  4. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Until the “Errol Flynn Chronology” is published and answers all “?s”

  5. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Kathleen;
    He did made Roots 1958 in Africa and in a terrible climate, but there was 8 years in between, Solomon was 1950. If you talk about money, maybe both films Kim and Solomon had the same amount of income so Errol chose the easier one? A possibility too! We just keep on guessing, what else is there – with Errol the Question mark!

  6. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Could you please hurry up Robert, all this waiting make me edgy!

  7. Anonymous

    September 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Take a sedative.

  8. Anonymous

    September 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Tina,
    It's been a long, long time since I watched King Solomans Mines and even longer since I read the book. In my opinion Kim is a far, far better book and maybe Errol thought that way too.
    One thing I do recall from my last viewing of KSM was how poor the direction was, it just didn't seem to capture a feel of the surroundings at all and it seemed very claustrophic for an adventure film set in Africa; It was directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton. There is a connection between Flynn and Bennett that may well have been a factor here and add to that the fact that Andrew Marton was Hungarian and maybe Flynn's decision becomes more understandable.
    As to Kim: I just wish this had been made in the mid-late 1930s, in black and white, with someone like Selznick producing. It is a fabulous story but MGM and Saville hacked it to pieces. Still, Errol comes out of Kim with full credit, as do all the major players (Lucas, Stockwell) Kim, could and should have been a great film.
    best wishes,

  9. Anonymous

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Totally agree, Brian.

  10. Anonymous

    September 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I just returned from a short trip to London and finally got David Niven's two great books. Having read the Errol passage in one of them, I thought of your question, Tina: why did Errol not have real friends. I think he is mainly to blame himself. Just think about the cruel joke he played on David, when he left him swimming with the sharks! I mean, what friend is this? Wouldn't each of us say, “No, thank you” at a certain point?

  11. Anonymous

    October 1, 2011 at 3:10 am

    You know Brian I think you are right. I liked Errol in Kim despite the above. I think another reason he chose that over KSM is that he wanted to get away from the cast typing. I believe also the location of Kim contributed to Errol choosing that film.

  12. Anonymous

    October 1, 2011 at 3:16 am

    It is also now known that he had long wanted to work with Laurette Luez.

  13. Anonymous

    October 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Thanks, Brian, I was actually quite shocked at what Sean said. Have you got any idea why he had developed such strong feelings against his father? I mean, he probably felt neglected, but to such a degree?
    I look forward to really reading the Niven books after having finished the one I am currently reading, and thanks for the hint about the other books.

  14. Anonymous

    October 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Hi Inga/Tina,
    It is well documented that Errol had lots of friends and a good number of close friends. Buster Wiles, Freddie McAvoy, Patric Knowles, Ida Lupino, Alexis Smith were all close friends to my knowledge. I would hazard a guess that Errol lost touch with his 'close' friends when he left for Europe in 52 and this may well have been a decision of Errol's own-making.
    In regards to 'Bring on the Empty Horses', it is the best book I have ever read on Hollywood – maybe not from a factual point of view but more from the view of building up an almost mythical aura of Hollywood's Golden Age. As a boy I read both of Niven's books on Hollywood over and over and they are without a doubt responsible for the great love I have for film of that era. The chapter on Flynn, well… what can you say? It is breathtaking, right from the meeting with Sean Flynn at the beginning to the sight of a decaying Zaca in Villefranche. Niven's books are so good that you almost willing to forget the inaccuracies. If this is your first time reading the Niven books, then I envy you. If you haven't already done so I would recommend getting hold of Graham Lord's book 'Niv', which is a tremendous read and Sheridan Morley's 'The Other Side of the Moon'
    As to the story about the shark: I would love to think that one is true. It's the kind of tale that is hilarious (after the fact) I always got the feeling with Flynn that he would go to any lengths for a laugh or joke. As to the veracity Niven's shark tale, who knows, but Conrad's 'Crane Eden' has a similar story.
    best wishes,

  15. Anonymous

    October 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Brian, your posts are always so informing and interesting. You are EF's best friend (no worries Tina, you are still his champion!). I have the Nivan's books and I am now inspired to read them.

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