‘Lilacs In The Spring’ Unheralded Errol Flynn Classic On DVD!

26 Jul

After the disaster of ‘The Story Of William Tell’, Errol Flynn accepted the offer of British movie/mogul/producer director Herbert Wilcox to co-star in films with his wife, then and now the one true Queen of the British cinema, Anna Neagle.   The first was a film version of the London West End musical ‘The Glorious years’, entitled ‘Lilacs In The Spring’ (1954).  Wilcox directed his beloved Neagle where she sang, danced, and acted in Trucolor opposite both Errol Flynn and British leading man David Farrar.  It is a story spanning several generations of fascinating flashbacks with Anna Neagle playing both mother and daughter.  Neagle also recreates two of her famous film roles in dream sequences, Queen Victoria, and Nell Gwynn.  Errol Flynn is the British music hall star John Beaumont (loosely based on John Barrymore) whose career suffers after returning from combat in World War One.  He goes to Hollywood and becomes a major swashbuckling star in such adventure epics like ‘Captain Fearless”!   Ten years after they divorce, Flynn’s character reunites happily with his wife and daughter only to lose Neagle’s Lillian in a tragic plane crash.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Errol Flynn gives one of his greatest dramatic performances in a film that has been little seen by his most loyal fans.   Flynn also carries a charming tune ‘Lily Laguna’ in a show-stopping song-and-dance number!   Anna Neagle said that while making ‘Lilacs In The Spring’ Errol Flynn was on his very best behavior.  When they made a second film together, Flynn was up to his old tricks after he realized how the film was turning out.   After all the trouble Errol Flynn had in Britain with his magnificent World War Two film ‘Objective Burma’ (1945) which portrayed no British combatants,  there are two funny references to it in this movie.  In one scene David Farrar tells beloved British character actress Kathleen Harrison that he and his ENSA troupe (the British version of the American USO) will entertain the troops in Burma and she shouts “And be sure to say hello for me to Errol Flynn if you see him in Burma!”   Later Neagle, as her own daughter, tells her father at the London airport that she won’t elope with Farrar and get on the plane to Burma.  She insists that she hasn’t packed and has nothing to wear, not even pajamas!   Errol Flynn protests “Pajamas in Burma?  It’s too hot!  After all I should know!”   Anna Neagle kisses her father Flynn good-bye and elopes with Farrar to the Burma ENSA tour!!!!    On top of in ‘Lilacs In The Spring’ Errol Flynn is as handsome as ever.  The wonderful, heart-tugging  ‘Lilacs In The Spring’ is available on DVD through… from Wham!USA video.    Ralph Schiller

— rswilltell

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  1. Gentleman Tim

    July 26, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Great review, Ralph. That inside Burma humor is especially fun! Thanks!

    Here’s a nice video from Tina:…

    And another tune of Lilac-theme:…