The roots of travel II

06 Dec


Dear fellow Flynn fans,

here are three reconstructed clips from the film “Pearls and Savages” of Frank Hurley about his New Guinea adventures from 1921-1923:…

Errol was merely a teenager when these silent films hit movie theaters all over Down Under.


They sparked the imagination of a whole continent. An Aussie penny for your thoughts on what might have served as an inspiration for Young Errol.

Do you detect any recurring themes of Errol`s later life? Are there any parallels to his voyage to NG at all?

Let`s all wear a Fedora hat as thinking cap. Each entry will receive the honorary Dr. Australia Jones- Award.





— shangheinz


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    December 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Hats off to you, once again, headhunterheinz.

    Couldn’t find my Fedora, Old Boy, so put on my skull cap instead to explore these head-hunting spectacles of Hurley’s.

    I emphatically agree with your brilliant research and observations that these works of Hurley’s must have had a profound effect on Young Errol Flynn. These magnificent multi-media productions had to be a powerful catalyst for Errol’s innate exploratory genes, family culture, and unique personal disposition. … Plus, those native girls! … (I must dutifully note that he went to the tropics, rather than to the artics, where only the penguins go topless.)

    Working my way further toward the much-coveted Dr. Australia Jones Award, we have the obvious geographic similarities of Young Flynnie’s trip(s) out of Sydney to Port Moresby, and various up river explorations (along with his participation in some occasional documentary filmmaking.) On a different plane however, there may be another important influence/parallel, in that Hurley was a world-class Master of mixing fact and fiction in a magnificently entertaining manner, occasionally punctuated by spectacularly shocking content, always for the excitement and enjoyment of his audience. Sound like anybody we know??

    Here’s one brief, one long, both excellent, descriptions of Frank Hurley’s dramatic methods and “media repertoire”:

    Curator’s Notes:…

    Professor Robert Dixon’s superb history and analyses of Frank Hurley’s works:…

    • shangheinz

      December 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm


      Excellent observations, Dr. Honus Watson. Thanks for the additional info.

  2. David DeWitt

    December 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Brilliant work! I’m fascinated by this information. It should be noted how great an influence on Errol the family history was, how young Errol looked up to his father, and the influence of John Barrymore on Flynn. Compare Barrymore’s silent docu Vagabonding on the Pacific (1926) to Flynn’s Cruise of the Zaca … Hurley was unknown to me but seems very much in the tradition of Osa and Martin Johnson, world traveling pioneer docu filmmakers …

    • Gentleman Tim

      December 7, 2014 at 6:59 am

      I’d love to see Barrymore & Clementine’s vagabonding voyage from LA to Guadalupe Island, David! Flynn had to love that!!…

      Here’s Lord Barrymore’s motley crew, with first mate Clementine, aboard The Mariner:

      • Gentleman Tim

        December 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

        As you have so well documented, David, Errol certainly did extraordinarily admire and extensively emulate Barrymore – in so many ways.

        Even JB’s choice for a co-star/protege in Svengali is, IMO, intriguingly reminiscent of Errol’s last co-star/protégé, who he first met while playing Barrymore in Too Much Too Soon.


        • David DeWitt

          December 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm

          Agree, a great resemblance to Woodsie!

          • timerider

            December 11, 2014 at 12:45 am

            Wow, that’s a little spooky! Woodsie’s twin sister!

            • Gentleman Tim

              December 11, 2014 at 4:48 am

              I thought this was from Svengali, timerider … but perhaps it’s from Barrymore’s much-lesser-known flick, Bohemian Rebel Girls.

              As keenly observant as Errol was, and as much as he idolized Barrymore, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if The Baron recognized the resemblance of this “protégé”, too. Making the resemblance even more fascinating is that Marian Marsh was supposedly selected by Barrymore for this part because of her resemblance to Doris Costello (the legendarily beautiful Mrs. Barrymore!)

              Check out Bev, I mean Marian, in this clip!


              And this other guy even looks a tad like Flynn!


      • David DeWitt

        December 8, 2014 at 12:48 am

        • Gentleman Tim

          December 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

          WOW, that’s fabulous, David! Thanks!!! No doubt a huge influence on Cruise of the Zaca!

          Intrigued by this voyage of Barrymore & Clementine’s to Guadalupe, I just read to see how the elephant seals are doing. I recall seeing some with my son on the beach at San Simeon, when we visited Hearst Castle, and they are quite impressive. Good news is that they are apparently again thriving in down in Guadalupe! Good for Mexico protecting them!!! As valuable as their blubber was for oil (~200 gallons worth!), that could not have been easy!


          Do you know if the Mariner has survived, too? I see that the Mariner III is still sailing, which is reportedly a ship JB loved and unsuccessfully tried to purchase. But I don’t know about Barrymore’s Mariner.

          • David DeWitt

            December 11, 2014 at 1:45 am

            Gent, no idea about the fate of the Mariner but I hope it has survived or maybe rose from its own ashes as the Zaca certainly did. Interstingly, the interior of the Zaca was gutted
            but the salon was removed intact and became the dining area of a small restaurant in Germany, I think. It may have been reported somewhere on the blog.

        • timerider

          December 11, 2014 at 12:43 am

          Not to worry, it was just a little choppy! Not even heavy seas! With all the manpower there it was easy. Lots of sheets though and no hydraulics back then!
          Thank you David this was very enjoyable! Teasing the seals was very funny!

          • David DeWitt

            December 11, 2014 at 1:47 am

            Yes, it is an extraordinary little film, isn’t it? The lady co- star referred to never appears on camera!

            • Gentleman Tim

              December 11, 2014 at 4:25 am

              Was the lady co-star Clemmie, David?


              • David DeWitt

                December 11, 2014 at 7:32 am

                You must be right! This escaped me completely!

                • Gentleman Tim

                  December 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

                  Well, JB was pretty cagey the way he said that! Though acting serious, he was really just monkeying around.[img][/img]