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Was Errol in Mimi?

20 Jul

Mimi (1933) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. & Gertrude Lawrence.

So it’s been said. But is it true?

$_35

From preeminent Flynn scholar Karl Holmberg:

Some further info on this most elusive of subjects.
I believe it was through Thames Productions (for the “Hollywood” series) that Irving Asher was interviewed (1978), and that a portion of this interview wound up in Portrait of a Swashbuckler? (There is no credit in the Swashbuckler doco otherwise). In the excerpt contained in the doco, Asher speaks ONLY of Murder at Monte Carlo and no other mentions of UK based films and Flynn.
As TCM recently summarized the current understanding of things:
Flynn himself had gotten his first real start at Teddington Studios appearing in an uncredited bit in I Adore You (1933) followed by the lead in Murder at Monte Carlo (1934). After that producer Irving Asher recommended Flynn to Jack Warner who brought him to the U.S. for his first U.S. film, The Case of the Curious Bride (1935). Asher was also responsible for Knowles and Ian Hunter being signed by Warner Bros. Ironically, all three actors – Flynn, Knowles and Hunter – ended up together in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
So, upon further checking of the other scant sources on the subject, we have, from Gerry Connelly’s book Errol Flynn in Northampton (1998):
“Irving Asher had a vacancy for a male lead, but shooting began in three days. No time for a screen test so he did something else.
Flynn was appearing as a film extra in the British International Pictures Production of Mimi, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Asher contacted Fairbanks and asked him to check Flynn out, and tell Asher what he thought. (Connelly said he had seen Mimi and could not spot Flynn).” On receiving a favorable appraisal from Fairbanks … decided … to cast Flynn.”
I do not know where Connelly gets his info concerning his Asher story (as I did not spot a citation, but assume, again, the same Thames interview) … yet, when Fairbanks Jr. had the chance to tell a story, and he was mentally VERY SHARP at this point, he omits this shared film connection, and instead remembers (from Salad Days, 1988):
“I sought out my old Hollywood friend Irving Asher … He was producing Warner Brothers budget quota films and was their overseas representative as well … we toured his small studio at Teddington on the Thames. While going around, he introduced me to a very handsome personable young Australian whom he’d seen in a provincial rep company and whom he had tested and cast in bit parts (note: Asher produced I Adore You and Murder at Monte Carlo). I was asked to see his latest test. I liked it very much and said so … Irving, encouraged, promptly recommended him to Jack Warner …”
So, tis still … “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.
BUT- as Connelly further relates of the Asher story: “Flynn, around this time (of September/October 1934) placed an advertisement in Spotlight stating he was now available for work …” and “Flynn just turned up one day, got past Asher’s secretary and told him he wanted to be a star”.
So, given this “Rampant Male”-like aggressiveness when it came to pursuit of a film career, it would not be entirely surprising that he might show up for a one or two day shoot as an “extra” (if given the chance)- even one with a most inauspicious of titles like Abdul the Damned.
To be continued (maybe) …
Karl

Extracted from the following, q.v.:

www.theerrolflynnblog.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 
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  1. Gentleman Tim

    July 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Hello out there in Flynnland: Has anyone looked for Errol in the extended version of Mimi??

    errolflynnheythere-1943.png

    “Irving Asher had a vacancy for a male lead, but shooting began in three days. No time for a screen test so he did something else.
    Flynn was appearing as a film extra in the British International Pictures Production of Mimi, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Asher contacted Fairbanks and asked him to check Flynn out, and tell Asher what he thought. (Connelly said he had seen Mimi and could not spot Flynn).” On receiving a favorable appraisal from Fairbanks … decided … to cast Flynn.”

     
 
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