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Last Of Robin Hood – Fascinating but depressing

09 Mar

Last Of Robin Hood cover the last two years of Errol Flynn’s life and career. By and large this accurate film was superbly written and directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer. The stars Susan Sarandon, Dakota Fanning, and Kevin Kline are all magnificent in their roles. Kline in particular is uncanny in his portrayal of Errol Flynn which is right on the money. The audience quickly forgets we are watching Kline and take him for Flynn himself. The producers even uses some actual footage of the real Errol Flynn which perfectly meshed with Kline’s performance. This film, which is never boring, grabs the audience by its throat from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end. Watching the Last Of Robin Hood, is like watching a train wreck. You can’t avert your eyes but at the same time you are overwhelmed with shock and grief. Here we are seeing the last sad, pathetic days of one of Hollywood’s greatest stars. We are appalled to see how low Errol Flynn sank in both his career and personal life. Death came as a kindness. As ususal the film industry completely overlooked this film’s achievement and it’s wonderful cast. The DVD box says it runs 94 minutes but even including five minutes of credits, it finished at 90 minutes. Lokk for our former blogmate Robert Florczak listed prominently in the credits as a Flynn consultant. Ralph Schiller

— rswilltell

 
 

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  1. Maria

    March 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the posting- That sadness seeps right through any advertising that I have seen. I wonder what Errol really thought about it all- underneath the jovial exterior.

     
  2. rswilltell

    March 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Maria, This is an extraordinary film. One of the highlights is the debacle of the pre-Broadway play “The Master Of Thornfield” which had to be humiliating for Flynn. He had no business being onstage anywhere at that point. They also show the making of ‘Cuban Rebel Girls’ which was directed by Barry Mahon, perhaps the only film director who could make Edward D. Wood Jr. look like Michael Curtiz or John Ford. After Flynn’s death, Mahon slipped into directing soft-core porn films! Big film stars Bela Lugosi and Barbara Payton also suffered horrible, tragic falls personally and professionally. However Flynn’s fall was by far the worst, because he once stood at the very pinnacle. One question for our fans, ‘Last Of Robin Hood’ implies that Beverly Aadland had one line in Flynn’s last good film ‘The Roots Of Heaven’ (1958). Is this a fact? Also Beverly Aadland herself was mildly talented at best, and I recall seeing her in a 2008 documentary on Errol Flynn. She looked twenty years older than her actual age. You could see that even though they photographed her in near darkness from certain angles, her weathered face showed the the sadness in her life. Ralph Schiller

     
    • David DeWitt

      March 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      I believe Woodsie is seen dancing with a young man in a party scene in Roots when Flynn and others enter then spank the lady of the house for hunting elephants, and she has one line. She was a singer with a sweet voice and could have developed into an actress with the right handling, I think. She had a hell of a personality …

       
    • Maria

      March 9, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Just a bit of background on the Master of Thornfield:

      In 1957 it was announced Errol Flynn would star in a production in the US opposite Jan Brooks directed by Peter Ashmore.[3] The play opened in Detroit with a view of bringing it to New York. Flynn struggled with the show, often forgetting lines.[4] He quit the play in Cincinnati claiming that the play was “no more fit for Broadway than Jack and the Beanstalk… I can’t do much with the way its written.” Hartford responded that, “In my defence, I’d like to say that I have as yet to hear my play, from Mr Flynn, as it was written.”[5] Flynn was replaced by John Emery and Demetrios Vilain replaced Ashmore as director.

      Hedda Hopper later wrote that he heard Flynn “just wouldn’t study” only rehearsing nine hours in four weeks, and thinking Flynn instead simply wanted to accept a role in The Roots of Heaven.[6]

       
    • Gentleman Tim

      March 10, 2015 at 1:24 am

      So glad you liked it, Ralph. Seeing it on a big screen might have impacted my opinion of it. Great acting, especially by Klein and Sarandon, in that order, but, to me, it had a very low budget look and boring feel that seemed to waste the great acting talent available. It sounds, however, that it must come off much better on small screen. For Errol’s sake, I hope that’s true.

      I, too, did like very much that scene of Klein on stage, which ironically really showcased his great stage talents.

       
  3. twinarchers

    March 9, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Interesting comments and thanks for posting the review. I am going to order the Blu Ray from Amazon as I have not seen it yet. Beverly looked fantastic in Roots as I have that film already and does have a line. I can see why Flynn was with her because seeing her in color like Flynn did at that time makes a difference. Isn’t the play an adaptation of Jane Eyre? Flynn talks about in the interview that Tony put on an LP many years ago which I would love to hear the whole interview. Can’t wait to see the film.

     
  4. shangheinz

    March 10, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Poolparty-in-Beverlys-Hills.jpg

    I can`t wait to see “Flynn`s final folly” over here in Austria. Kevin Kline has yet to disappoint me. He was utterly splendid in his Cole Porter movie. Mrs. Sarandon has turned method actress and provided herself with a young beau at her side in real life. So the table is decked for a fine TV night. As much as I understand the urge of fellow Flynnions to see an epic Martin Scorsese biopic called “The Swashbuckler”, I have to say, that if TLORH was announced as of today, with that kind of cast, we all would be enthusiastic. So I will not be disappointed whatsoever and any complaining is out of question for me.
    But thanks, Ralph, for stating that the topic is a sore spot for every true Flynn fan. His antics were far from flawless and in his last years even became lawless.

     
    • Gentleman Tim

      March 11, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Poetically said, porterheinz. It would have indeed been the tops if The Last had been as lovely as De-Lovely. But, IMMHO, they’re night and day. No Bendel bonnet, nor Shakespeare sonnet is The Last. Nor a Berlin ballad, or Waldorf salad. …. At least not on the big screen, where I felt the significantly inferior budget is rather palpable, leading to a rather tepid telling of Errol’s illustrious life, I thought.

      Even so, Kline was superb. He just waited too long to portray Errol, and, when he did, did so in the wrong production. At least that’s how I felt watching it, as did most all critics, and everyone in the theater I saw it at. It just wasn’t very exciting or inspiring. Flynn would have been bored, I think. I know I was.

      That said, though dull, at least it didn’t decline into salacious fol-de-rol, as ole Cole might have scrolled.

      P. S. Sir Shangheinz. Do you know who that is Woodsie is speaking with?

      P.S. 2. Martin Scorcese, if you’re reading this, please, NO Wolf of Mulholland Drive biop of Flynn!

       
      • shangheinz

        March 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm

        errol-flynn-bev.jpg

        Dear Cantankerous Tim, if the film really is a dud, that might well be the reason for somebody to vindicate Ol` Errol and do another movie. From what I read Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck were both shunned the first time when Errol was depicted in the TV biopic.MWWW.
        The women Bev is talking to, must be Motherly Aadland. They both share the same body language. Errol meanwhile seems to be drowning in his drink(s).

         
        • Gentleman Tim

          March 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

          It’s definitely a box office dud, sirheinz. That’s beyond quest. It’s artistic success depend on each individual viewer, of course. I though it flat, but I only speak for myself. If speaking the truth about how I felt and how virtually all critics felt is cantankerous, than so be it, call me cantankerous. Artistically, it may be greater than Citizen Kane, Birth of a Nation, or The Godfather to some. Any such opinions are as good as mine. I’m no Rex Reed.

           
        • ILIKEFLYNN

          March 13, 2015 at 9:42 pm

          Are you sure that’s Woodsie’s mother? At closer inspection this woman appears to have two normal legs, Didn’t Flo Aadland have an artificial limb?–A. R.

          (Something that also seemed to disappear when one watched Susan Sarandon walk!)–A. R.

           
  5. rswilltell

    March 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks to Heinz for that great photo. Tim, I must say that although Last Of Robin Hood doesn’t have the budget of say the Harry Potter films, or Hunger Games movies, it is a major motion picture. I was very surprised at the very large crowd scenes set at Los Angeles airport when Beverly returns from Vancouver after Flynn dies and the nightclub sequence where she fails miserably as a singer. The film is polished and technically well-crafted. In fact I am sorry to admit that Robert Florczak was right! By the way Florence Aadland’s book on which the screenplay is based on “The Big Love’ is not only out of print but an expensive hard-to-find collector’s item!!! Ralph Schiller

     
    • Gentleman Tim

      March 11, 2015 at 3:08 am

      I wasn’t hoping for a budget on the scale of anything close to Harry Potter, Ralph! The last Potter film had a budget of more than a hundred times that of The Last of Robin Hood, which had a miniscule budget that couldn’t possibly propery capture the incredible scope and character of Flynn’s life. Telling Flynn’s story on such poor underfunding, landlocked in Atlanta, presents an insurmountable challenge. I’m sure the filmmakers agree.

      No Jamaica. No Zaca. No Mediterranean. No Cuba. No Hollywood. Never mind any flashbacks to locations in New Guinea, Down Under, or even Vancouver. It just lost the magic for me, Ralph. I know it was based predominantly on the Big Love B.S. but it could have been a so much better script & movie (involving the same events timeframes of Flynn’s last years and demise) had it been centered on or, at least to some extent incorporated, the character/story of Earl Conrad. Would have loved seeing Kline sailing the Zaca. I think he boarded the wrong boat.

      All that said, it was clearly a made-for-tv film, so it should look and do much better in that market, where it’s flaws won’t be as apparent as they were on the big screen.

      Here’s one reason it wasn’t big on the big screen:

      prezi.com…

      I believe these reviews below address the film’s low-budget-driven shortcomings accurately, and reflect most viewers and reviewers sentiments, as well. Of course, very few viewers, including myself, have your outstanding knowledge of films, Ralph, a fact I fully and readily acknowedge and respect.

      Toronto Film Review: ‘The Last of Robin Hood’

      www.dvdtalk.com…

       
  6. ILIKEFLYNN

    March 11, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Well I guess I will take this time to weigh in on the discussion. Having seen “The Last of Robin Hood” on the big screen and having recently watched my DVD copy of the movie I can honestly say it is an interesting film. Yes, its low budget trappings are evident, especially on the home screen, but so what. In a way it makes the film have a charm all its own the way some bad movies do. Let’s take into account what we have in ways of “Flynn” portrayed on film. There’s the low budget, “Flynn, My Forgotten Man” starring Guy Pearce as Flynn before Hollywood. There’s the made for TV, “Legend of Flynn” starring Duncan Regher which depicts Flynn’s arrival in Hollywood up to his downfall with the statutory rape trial and now “Last of Robin Hood” with Oscar winner Kevin Kline, which shows his last days with his last paramour. It does the best it can with the material and the circumstances of its topic. A period piece about an aging actor with the reputation of a rake (or as Susan Sarandon described Flynn in an interview, “a degenerate”) and his affair with an underage girl is going to be a hard sale, especially in these times of instant fame and notoriety. So while it may not be the best or what one could call a missed opportunity, after repeated viewing may not be that bad after all.–A. R.

     
    • Gentleman Tim

      March 12, 2015 at 4:26 am

      Excellent observations, A.R. I just have one question: What did the song My Forgotten Man (About WWI Vets, I believe) have to do with Errol Flynn? (Guy Pearce looks like he has no clue, either.)

      Remember my forgotten man (Flynn…: youtu.be/FGfEDlVbM8o…

      Corbis-0000258955-022.jpg?size=67&uid=8b5dcfe2-16a6-4440-8a21-0b9542ae908c

       
      • ILIKEFLYNN

        March 13, 2015 at 2:41 am

        I am with Guy. I have no clue either.–A. R.

         
  7. Rachel

    March 13, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Thanks, rswilltell, for sharing your review of the film with us! I recently purchased the Blu-ray, and I look forward to watching the film. I’m sure the best thing about it will be Kevin Kline’s performance as Errol. :-)

     
  8. Hugh Davis

    April 7, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I finally got to see the film today. I agree that it is depressing and depicts a dark point in Flynn’s life, but I do think it is very well acted. It suffered some from low budget, but, overall, I think it stands up well as a film. I wonder if one reason it didn’t get more of a push (after all, movies can be made or broken by their publicity) was the nature of the relationship. Both films of _Lolita_, in fact, were hurt by studios fearing the subject matter (ironic, considering the scene in this with Flynn trying to secure the leads in Kubrick’s film for him & Beverly), and I wonder if this is one thing that held the picture back. I know neither Kline nor Sarandon is top of the field at this point, but both are great in this, and both deserve more recognition than they got in a film that barely hit theaters.

     
  9. timerider

    September 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I think I was in limbo with a broken foot as all this was going down. My 2 cents worth is along the same lines as Tim.
    So late as I am I must say that I was disappointed. I love Kline and a great actor in our generation is he. However he was pushing 70 when he did this film and Errol was late 40’s burning out but had a robust ruddy look dying as he was. Errol was gaining much weight at the end, Kline was very thin.
    It was a TV like flick but very to the point. I wonder if the portrayal of Errol was tainted with the negative taste of old Hollywood elite that had issues with Errol. Susan and Dakota did very well even if Dakota was not a heavy in this but Susan was. More location would have been nice but $$ is always the issue. C+ from me on this film.I wish it had been better. One thing I know in my mind was true, Errol knew he was not long for this world and I’m glad he went out as he did. He suffered enough of the pain in dying a long time of many ailments. Self medicated as my dad did and only modern science kept my POP alive till 81 with half a heart, emphysema and diabetes at the end.