Flynn’s Film? Errol’s Oscar?

27 Feb

Was Norman Maine based in part on Errol Flynn?
(and/or perhaps John Barrymore and/or Norman Kerry?)…

Was Errol offered the role, but rejected it?…

Would Errol have been a better Norman Maine?…

Or, did Jack Warner “blackball” him from getting it?……

Was this Errol’s best chance to win an Academy Award for Best Actor?

— Tim


Posted in Main Page


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Maria

    February 28, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Darn that James Mason – first “A Star is Born” and then “Lolita”. I think Errol would have been great in A Star is Born – I wonder how well he and Judy would have gotten along?

    • Gentleman Tim

      February 29, 2016 at 8:16 am

      I never connected that, Maria! What I have formerly thought to have been just valiant attempts to semi-emulate Flynn, I now realize could have been a Mason conspiracy!


    • Gentleman Tim

      February 29, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Regarding Judy and Errol, I think they could have been great together. I recall reading somewhere once that they had a lot of fun at MGM’s 25th Anniversary, with alphabetically-nearby bored-stiff Clark Gable very sociably sharing the contents of his hip flask with both of them.

      In the awesome A++ list opening of this video, it looks like Judy may have been a little lubricated before the banquet. And George Murphy seems to belatedly introduce Errol as Kathryn Grayson!…

  2. rswilltell

    February 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Norman Maine would have been a great role for Errol Flynn and he would have come through with flying colors. Would he have been better than James Mason who was outstanding as Maine? We’ll never know. Jack Warner didn’t blackball Flynn the role. We forget that Flynn had left Hollywood and spent several years making films in Europe. In 1958, Jack Warner offered him the John Barrymore role in ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ when was in far worse shape than he was in 1954. However somehow he gave the performance of his life but was ignored by the industry. Ralph Schiller

  3. robjack

    February 29, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Hi all,

    The only reference I’ve seen to this is in the bio of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke – ‘Get Happy’. He mentions that Flynn was one of two actors who wanted the role (I can’t recall who the other one was) and quotes from a telegram that Errol sent (presumably from Europe) to WB Head Office – the quote was something like – “Heard you want me for Star”. Not too sure about the status of Flynn’s contract with WB at that time. But if this is true he did seek the role – although it appears he was never seriously considered for it by Cukor or the producers


  4. zacal

    March 1, 2016 at 2:55 am

    It was always my understanding that Norman Maine was based on John Gilbert, who was a huge star when he co-starred with the unknown Greta Garbo and they fell in love. Sound films killed Gilbert’s career and he drank himself to death, dying of a heart attack at the age of 36. As for “A Star Is Born”, I remember reading that Cary Grant was the original choice for the remake and did, in fact, read for Cukor, who begged him to play the part. But Grant declined. When Barbra Streisand remade the film in the 1970’s, she tried to get Elvis Presley to play the part.

    • Gentleman Tim

      March 1, 2016 at 3:57 am

      Great photo, zacal. And Elvis Presley! Thank you very much.

      Well, you sent me searching about John Gilbert’s connection, which I too recall reading somewhere, sometime. But here’s what I found on that! — Neilan, Bowers, Barrymore & Wellman! … Sounds like a law firm, but its a reference to a quartet ofreportedly oft-besotted old Hollywooders.

      Can’t wait for Will Smith to play Judy’s part. Now that’s diversity!…