Where is Errol Flynn in ‘Lady From Shanghai’?

10 Dec

I just watched Orson Welles’ masterpiece ‘film noir’ ‘Lady From Shanghai” (1947) starring Rita Hayworth, Orson, and Everett Sloane. The ship in the film owned by the rich trial lawyer played by Sloane is actually the Zaca rented from Errol Flynn. Flynn is reported to have made a cameo appearance in the film but where? This is no trick question, I honestly couldn’t spot him anywhere. Where is he? Or is this just a legend? Thanks Ralph Schiller

— rswilltell


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Gentleman Tim

    December 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Despite rumors to the contrary, I don’t believe he’s in there, Ralph. If so, maybe only in a long shot of the Zaca? … Heard that he might be in a quick cantina scene in Acapulco, but I don’t recall seeing him. Perhaps that ended up on Orson’s cutting room floor??

    Chula’s in there quite prominently, though!


    Flynn was definitely around quite a bit during filming, though, and does do some of the aerial photography, I’ve heard.


    • shangheinz

      December 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Dear Gentlebreeze Tim,
      in any way it was not Errol that broke up the relationship of Haywelles. That was up to his pal, Teddy Stauffer who took lovable Rita to his native Switzerland soon after the film was done.

  2. shangheinz

    December 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm


    Dear RRS,
    I think to have overheard a conversation on the internet, that Errol is shown briefly and turning away quickly as character in a sidestreet coming from a cantine or bar. I have seen the film only once and can`t remember if there was such a scene at all.
    But what makes me wonder is, if the picture above contains the murderer of Elizabeth Short or not. It is taken from the set of LFS and there were murmurs that some deleted scenes from the film did resemble the circumstances of the Black Daliah crime.

  3. rswilltell

    December 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Oh boy Heinz, you have opened an old police file!!! According to a book I read about the Black Dahlia case, the murderer of Elizabeth Short is in that photograph. However I am dubious. The book in question provides no evidence at all, and very likely slandered the memory of a fine Hollywood legend. There are better books on the Black Dahlia case notably written by Steve Hodel, a former Los Angeles Police Homicide Captain. I agree with Tim, in the version on DVD, Errol Flynn does not appear in Lady From Shanghai. Ralph Schiller

    • Gentleman Tim

      December 10, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      Absolutely, Ralph! Old Man Doc Hodel, Minotaur, and Maybe some influence from Man Ray! Some of the case is in the bag(s), so to speak. Here’s some of the evidence, leaving the too horribly graphic crime scene evidence out of this blog:



  4. rswilltell

    December 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm


    I have no intention of dignifying the author of the book tying the Black Dahlia murder case and ‘Lady From Shanghai’ by name the title and the author’s name. I strongly reccomend book ‘Black Dahlia Avenger 2’ by Steve Hodel. He did his homework. Ralph

    • shangheinz

      December 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm


      Here`s another angle on the suspects.
      I have read the novel from James Ellroy and nothing else about that murder case. But hush hush I heard that even Orson Welles was suspected of the doomed deed. Thanks for the book recommandation. The lives and crimes of the Hollywood folk of (g)old is very intriguing.

      • shangheinz

        December 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        PS: James Ellroy was present at the showing of his documentary “The demon dog of crime fiction” here at Vienna some 20 years ago. I asked him what his favourite author was. His answer was: Shakespeare!
        The formula: Sex and crime plus rhyme!

  5. zacal

    December 11, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I watched it VERY closely. I believe a blonde man resembling Errol can be seen briefly sitting at a table at the Cantina overlooking the water as Rita passes by when they arrive in Mexico. That’s the only person who looks like Errol. But only in passing.

  6. zacal

    December 11, 2014 at 5:10 am


    • zacal

      December 11, 2014 at 5:18 am

      Go to this site for some more photos of the Flynn sort of-lookalike.…

    • Gentleman Tim

      December 11, 2014 at 7:17 am

      I believe the blonde fellow may in actuality be “Mr. Acapulco”, Teddy Stauffer, the Swiss “refugee” band leader who became Errol’s sidekick down south of the border, most especially in Acapulco. Rita might be smiling at Teddy at her birthday party.* … I could never identify Errol in the movie, but I haven’t watched or studied it enough to definitely say he’s not there. I don’t have the film handy, but maybe someone can look at 00:35:31 and see!! … One thing we know, though, Errol was definitely having a helluva time during filming!

      *shangheinz refers above to Teddy & Rita’s later romance.…


      • Gentleman Tim

        December 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

        Clarification needed here: Though a majority of reports do have Flynn doing some serious partying in Acapulco during filming of Shanghai, we must in all fairness and our never-ending quest for the truth duly note that J. Petty Hoover did claim his post-war special-ELF-assigned agents took the below photo of Herr Errol covertly meeting with Diego Rivera and Adolph Eichmann on the La Quebrada cliffs, planning a joint Soviet-Fourth Reich attack on Catalina Island, from which they would then more boldly launch a siege on Burbank. (Errol chose Burbank for obvious and quite understandable reasons.)


        That’s allegedly Eichmann diving to (once again) escape after he spotted a camera tracking him and Herr Flynn.

        • David DeWitt

          December 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

          Eichman must have had a part time job as an Acapulco Cliff

          • Gentleman Tim

            December 12, 2014 at 12:05 am

            I guess he figured no one would recognize or be looking for him in Speedos, David. Those Nazis were very clever you know, even more so the Fourth Reichers, who, like Flynn in Lady from Shanghai perhaps, liked to “appear without being seen”, as shadowheinz himself so aptly put it.

      • zacal

        December 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Wow, good eye, Tim.

    • shangheinz

      December 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Dear Zacal,
      here is a photo of Rita and Lookalike in Europe, when they could express their feelings more freely. Later on they however went on to marry different people. Teddy wed Hedy and Rita the Aly Khan.

      • Gentleman Tim

        December 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        Jeepers Creepers, swingheinz! It’s bad enough Lovely Rita left Citizen Welles for Non-Citizen Stauffer – or did Her Ted shanghai her?), but did they really have to tell the whole da’plorable story on a 78? (I’m still hoping for a Christmas release of the sequel, “Socking Stauffer”, when Orson takes a swing at that cheesy Swiss.)

        And then this Latin language music video of their European “honeymoon”? … And to think, Fleen rescued the foxtrotting Switzer from the hills (and valleys) of Old Tijuana … where, btw, young, teen-aged “Rita” Cansino used to live & dance, btw!)

        • shangheinz

          December 11, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          It was not only Teddy´s sweet swisstalk that was responsible for the breakup, Gentlemandoline Tim. The ma- Dame was to blame also:…

          • Gentleman Tim

            December 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

            I should have know that Swiss story had a lot of holes in it, switzerheinz. As the song (almost) says: that was the story going around, thanks for the real lowdown.

            Doesn’t matter, any relationship with Orson was an automatic love triangle anyhow. There were never enough mirrors around for OW. As someone very wise, humorous and observant once said: If not for the grace of God, there goes God.


  7. rswilltell

    December 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    By the way, Max Ellroy, who wrote a best-selling novel about the Black Dahlia, strongly feels that Steve Hodel has gotten to the bottom of the mystery.

    The Los Angeles Police Department files on the Elizabeth Short/Black Dahlia case are missing portions of it. The Los Angeles District Attorney had zeroed in on one major suspect, and thank heavens one of his investigators saved a copy of the files sent to LAPD. Hodel found those files and received the shock of his life. The murderer was a serial killer who continued to escalate his crimes. Political pressure bored down on the District Attorney because the killer had very high political connections. Great story and the film based on Ellroy’s novel is great fun. Thank heavens Errol Flynn has no connection to the Black Dahlia. Ralph

  8. shangheinz

    December 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm


    If there is any Flynn in the Lady from Shanghai, it is that guy back in the shadow. It`s a shot in the dark, but what do YOU think!?

    • rswilltell

      December 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm


      I just can’t tell. Errol Flynn would have been in direct violation of his Warner Bros. contract by doing an unbilled cameo in a film for another studio. Although ‘Lady From Shanghai’ is a mystery, masterpiece today, back in 1947 it was an expensive flop. In fact when Orson Welles cut off Rita Hayworth’s long auburn hair and bleached it white, Columbia studio chief nearly had a heart attack! Ralph

      • shangheinz

        December 11, 2014 at 9:15 pm


        If rswilltell can`t tell, who can? I think the figure in the dark has a certain posture that reminds me of Errol. And appearing without being seen is feat of its own, very worthy of a swashbuckler. Our Hollywood hero liked thumping his nose at big studio conventions. Did he do it again!? Come on, dear fellow Flynn fans, chip in and let`s solve the riddle if Flynn is in, or not…
        PS: The above picture shows Captaine Blonde, beautiful nonetheless…

        • Gentleman Tim

          December 12, 2014 at 12:29 am

          Blonde, Brunette, or even a Red, Rita was a real bombshell, ladyfromshangheinz! She was the bomb! At Bikini, no less!!

          South in Alaska:


      • shangheinz

        February 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm


        Ralph, seems like the man in the shadow, was… the Third Man! If so, Errol again is out of the picture.

    • Gentleman Tim

      December 12, 2014 at 1:21 am

      I agree, shadowheinz, we need more light on this subject. I agree Errol would loved to have violated WB’s prohibition with a surreptitious cameo. Wasn’t he once even accused of anachronistically driving a car in the background of one of his costume picture?? So, why not! Maybe Orson wasn’t as into it, though, especially after getting Errol’s bill for the Zaca and associated services?

    • shangheinz

      December 12, 2014 at 7:55 am


      See, what I mean? The posture is the same as with the man in black. Add a hat and voila…Still not 100% sure.

      • Gentleman Tim

        December 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

        Looks like the Old Boy left us another mystery to solve, sherlockheinz.


        I know just the bloak to help us – Basil. … at least I think that’s Basil … ?


        • Gentleman Tim

          December 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

          p.s. holmesheinz. this below image came up when I was searching for silhouettes of Errol. I think it may be Bridgette B., but can’t say for sure. We may want to turn our magnifying glasses on this one, too.


        • shangheinz

          December 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm


          This post is close to becoming a pipe dream, Gentlenigma Tim. I think Errol wanted to keep us and (everybody else at Warner) guessing. So unless somebody owns a Blue Ray copy of the film and is willing to take a closer look, we`ll never know, if this Slim Shady is the Real one.

          • Gentleman Tim

            December 12, 2014 at 11:06 pm

            Thank you for yet another excellent sample of Errol’s many looks & poses, sampleheinz. I think I have found just man to search for Errol: