Sean Flynn Mission to Venice, 1964

14 Feb

— David DeWitt


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    February 15, 2015 at 4:40 am

    I was surprised to see this link on the Errol Flynn blog as some time back I posted on this site “Mission to Venice” as a fit second feature for a Flynn family double feature along with Errol’s “The Big Boodle”!
    Any way I thought I would take this opportunity to post an excerpt from my article “The Forgotten Films of Sean Flynn”:
    “..Sean..was hard at work on his next film, a French/Italian/West German co-production titled, “Agent Special a Venise “Voir Venise et…Crever”(1964) loosely based on James Hadley Chase’s 1954 novel, “Mission to Venice”. The protagonist of Chase’s novel, Don Micklem was an American millionaire living in London with connections to Scotland Yard and U.S. Army Intelligence. For the movie the character was changed to a rich professional water polo player named Michael Newman playing detective.
    The film follows the plot of the novel, as Newman (Sean) is asked to help search for a man named Tregarth by the missing man’s wife. The search leads our hero to Venice, where after some harrowing experiences Flynn saves the day and wins the heart of a beautiful damsel. The film shot in black & white and on location in Venice, while making beautiful use of its scenery, is a passable thriller which could compare well with some of the other films of this sort being made at the time. Not as “hip” as the early James Bond films, made at the same time, but it still has a gritty realism to it.
    The film was a success in Europe upon its initial release in France in 1964. In the U.S. as “Mission to Venice”(1964), it was picked up by Walter Manley Enterprises, the same group that brought the Japanese “Super Giant” movies to U.S. television in the sixties as “Starman”. WME had the film dubbed by the same studio that dubbed the other foreign movies they bought for TV sale and sold it directly to U.S. television syndication.”
    As I had posted in my post “Another Flynn & Son Double Feature (or In Praise of “The Big Boodle” w/ a nod to”Mission To Venice”):
    “Sean helps thwart the plans of some spies!…wins the girl…Karin Baal Sean is good in the action scenes and the film is a good document of its time. (Sean is dubbed in this one , but the dubbing on this film is good.”)–A. R.

    • David DeWitt

      February 15, 2015 at 4:53 am

      I guess there are bound to be duplications posted on the blog, as already has been the case. I happened to see this film on YouTube while searching for something else, and so I posted it in case others hadn’t seen it. Thanks so much for the earlier posting and of the fine background material A.R.! Boodle is one of my guilty pleasures of Flynn’s movies, by the way. I have a Canadian pal Dennis Mullen who has to date been to Cuba 11 times, and knows where all of the locations were for Boodle. And has walked in Flynn’s footsteps literally in Cuba …


        February 15, 2015 at 5:10 am

        Interesting! It’s great to follow in the footsteps of “our hero”! On a recent trip to LA, I myself went up Mulholland Drive to see where Mulholland Farm had stood. (It is too bad that that great estate is gone!) Now that relations have been restored with Cuba maybe more of us will trace Errol’s footsteps. Or even Sean’s footsteps in Venice!–A. R.

        • David DeWitt

          February 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm

          Yes, indeed, I’d like to go to Havana for the Flynn sights. Dennis Mullen does personally guided tours of Flynn’s haunts in Cuba and Jamaica and says he has taken Americans many times to Cuba on his Havana Writer’s Retreats, too. Apparently, if you are American they don’t stamp your passport. As travel loosens up, it will be even easier to go there. I’d like to see it the way things are today before the influx of American tourists. You can stay in Flynn’s room at the Hotel Nacionale, too. The Habana Libre hotel is five minutes walk away and a wonderful place to stay with more stories and a greater view of Havana. It will be better to go with an experienced guide, I think, who knows the country well. He sat at Pat Wymore’s table in Jamaica for her 85th birthday party, explored Navy Island, and even gained access to the old Titchfield Hotel ruins not once but several times. He kindly sent me some broken tile from the empty pool beside which Flynn and Earl Conrad sat working on My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Flynn was likely the inventor of the first swim up bar, they say, in a hotel pool. The Tichfield Hotel had three pools, by the way.

      • Maria

        February 15, 2015 at 9:08 pm

        I really enjoyed “The Big Boodle” and was quite surprised as I was not sure if I would like a later Flynn film – maybe this is where we started talking of the great roles Errol could have played in several of the TV series that came about in the 60’s – remember Danger Man?
        David is right – we sure have explored Errol’s life – who can remember everything? There could be one person reading this today who knows nothing about Errol so your post could start them on their own journey!

  2. wagram

    February 15, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks David, for your great posts! I, for the first time, have heard and watched Sean’s movie. I understand he was not interested in acting. Like his father, he was restless and wanted to be where there was action. Too bad he died so young doing what he wanted to do.

    • David DeWitt

      February 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      Wagram, I think Sean did a great job in this film. The fight scenes could have been staged better but his presence on screen was unmistakeable. He was relaxed and confident in the role and knowing a bit about actors and screen acting technique he was comfortable with elements of performing in front of the camera that look natural on screen but unnatural in real life. For example, rising slower than normal in a medium shot so that you remain in frame, or playing to the other actor’s eye that is closest to the camera so that your own face is open to the camera, maintaining eye contact with the other actors and knowing when not to look at them, how to not rush your lines, and how to show your feelings. Acting for the camera is basicaslly reacting, and this requires listening then reacting not just saying your lines on cue. I think Sean had lots of potential as an actor and wish he had persued it further.


        February 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        I think it is even more amazing when you remember that in these films with an international cast that a lot of times Sean had to react to someone speaking a language not English, even though Sean had a good understanding of a few languages other than English. For example he spoke and had a good understanding of French, some Spanish and Italian.–A. R.

        • tassie devil

          February 16, 2015 at 10:22 pm

          I take my hat f to any body that can speak more than 1 language. I struggle with English. Love Genene

  3. zacal

    February 23, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Sean Flynn certainly had the looks and stature of a leading man. But he never had his father’s voice. And he never had the opportunity to work with a great director.


      February 26, 2015 at 12:52 am

      In case you were not aware, but in “Mission to Venice” that is not Sean’s voice you hear, as he was dubbed by another. To hear his real voice see “Stop Train 349”.–A. R.

      • Gentleman Tim

        February 26, 2015 at 1:35 am…

        I think this film confirms Sean could have been a big success on the big screen. He reveals a lot of youthful talent and poise.

        Really great circa-’63 shots of divided Berlin and Berliners in this movie.