The Black Fox

31 Aug

In 1955, Errol Flynn made his final swashbuckler, “The Dark Avenger”. That same year, Danny Kaye made “The Court Jester”, a film that appeared to be a tribute/spoof of the swashbuckler films of Errol Flynn, complete with Basil Rathbone as the villain, Mildred Natwick (of “Against All Flags”) in a pseudo Una O’Connor-like role, as well as a Robin Hood-like character that seemed written specifically for Errol: The Black Fox. Was Errol offered the role? Probably. Instead, the heroic role was played by Edward Ashley, who received 12th billing. Of course, if Errol had played the role, his name would have been much, much higher in the credits. The film is still very entertaining.(and highly recommended for fans of Flynn) But if it had co-starred Errol Flynn, it would be much more famous.

— zacal


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Gentleman Tim

    August 31, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Great info, zacal! Thanks!!

    That could have been great fun to see Errol & Basil back together again! Court Jester Danny Kaye did a superb job comically capturing the panache of Errol..…

  2. Maria

    August 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I never really enjoyed Danny Kaye movies but I loved this one as a kid. The costume for the Fox is similar to Errol’s. I have never seen The Dark Avenger but I see it is on DVD so maybe I might invest in it. Some of the reviews were brutal though so an open mind is required.
    I am not sure how Errol would have fared playing alongside Danny Kaye. Personality clash perhaps?

    • Gentleman Tim

      August 31, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Great observations, Maria!


  3. rswilltell

    September 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    The Court Jester is one of Danny Kaye’s funniest if not the funniest. The only one of his that could be considered funnier is The Inspector General (1949). The Court Jester is distinguished by Basil Rathbone’s performance as the villain. Another good Errol Flynn parody is Casanova’s Big Night (1954) starring Bob Hope. He didn’t have Olivia de Havilland for his leading lady but he did have her sister Joan Fontaine. The supporting cast is loaded with Errol Flynn regulars including Arnold Moss, Raymond Burr, and naturally Basil Rathbone. Hope is a stupid taylor who impersonates the great Casanova and saves the throne. The real Casanova is played by another Flynn alumni Vincent Price! Pity Bob didn’t ask Errol to do it! By the way Edward Ashley did appear on the television series The Errrol Flynn Theatre! Ralph

    • Gentleman Tim

      September 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Great memory & info, Ralph! I love Hope when he does those blundering and cowardly fool roles – whether it be on the Road with Crosby, as Paleface in the Wild West, or, as a wannabe Casanova. Forgot that Joan Fontaine was the leading lady! Wonder what Livvie thought of that!! Maybe she just wrote it off as the audacity of Hope.

      Here’s the wannabe Errol! (Though Hope didn’t do too bad himself!)


      • rswilltell

        September 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

        Good question! I wonder also if Olivia laughed at the Hope comedy or loathed it. Previously Hope’s leading lady was Hedy Lamarr in My Favorite Spy (1951). Both Lamarr and Fontaine retained their dignity opposite Bob in those films. This one also one of Hope’s last really good comedies before he started using cue card cheaters on his movie sets!