In should`ve been Flynn 12

08 Feb

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

now this may seem like stating the obvious. Movie history hush hush has it that Errol turned down the leopard hatband of Allan Quatermain in “King Solomon`s Mines” for Muhbub Ali`s turban in Kipling`s “Kim”. Always the traveller he opted to rub noses with the Maharajahs in India instead of striking poses with the Masai in Kenia. But there’s another side south of this story.

Now director Compton Bennett had wanted Flynn in the main role right from the start. They had done “That Forsyte Woman” together and had gotten along just dandy. But producer Sam Zimbalist overruled Bennett and pitched Britimport Stewart Granger, who had just signed a seven film contract with MGM. Granger got meager $25.000 for his first appearance, but was eager to prove his stock value. He had divorced his first wife Elspeth March, an old EF acquaintance (…) only recently and had to make good and money on his highly hyped star potential.

Even though suffering from draining dysentery, the “new Errol Flynn” went big game hunting shooting amongst others two rhinos.
Co Star Deborah Kerr tended to him once he took one in the ribs, when pumping lead into a charging buffalo didn’t show an immediate effect on the raging animal.

The MGM film was every bit the success that Kim wasn’t and provided the gritty Brit with another Flynntasy film role: Scaramouche!

Here is the originale “Mines”- movie with Flynn buddy John Loder aka Mr. Hedy Lamarr.


— shangheinz


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  1. The Zaca

    February 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Scaramouche having hands down one of the finest fencing sequences ever filmed. A must see…..

    • PW

      February 8, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Did you know than Gene Kelly was originally suggested for the Granger part in ‘Scaramouche’? I agree it was a wonderful picture, not only because of the six minute duel, but thanks to the sublime Eleanor Parker. Now she was a real beauty and a first rate actress, who would have been the perfect foil for Errol. A sort of cross between Livvie and Ann Sheridan. She could dance, fight, play a lady or a hussy, was a fine comedienne and excelled in more complex roles. She was Oscar nominated, and should have won, for playing Marjorie Lawrence, the great Australian soprano crippled by polio, in ‘Interrupted Melody’ (1955) which is the best film ever made about opera, excepting ‘The Great Caruso.’ Sadly for her fans, she is chiefly remembered now for playing the Baroness in ‘The Sound of Music.’ But she would definitely be my ideal Flynn heroine. All that glorious hair – not so much red, as the colour of a winter sunset – and a much finer head of hair than that possessed by the tiresome Maureen O’Hara.

      • Gentleman Tim

        February 8, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        A gorgeous, talented and wonderful creature, indeed, PW:…


  2. robjack

    February 9, 2017 at 6:20 am

    A nice overview – and reassessment of the reasons why Flynn didn’t make King Solomon’s Mines. However, I think this also needs to extend to a reassessment of Kim.

    Most Flynn fans tend to be somewhat dismissive of Kim. Obviously the ‘what if’ of making KSMs instead is the key reason; the other is that the title role in Kim was played by a child actor with Flynn (at least in terms of screen time – not in billing) in a less substantive role.

    The fact remains though that Kim was, along with The Sun Also Rises, his most successful movie of the 1950s. It grossed $3,000,000 at the North American box office, and came in as the 11th or 12th highest grossing movie of the year (in this case 1951, as it was released in December 1950). It was far more profitable than Errol’s other MGM release, ‘That Forsyte Woman’ from the year before.

    It’s true it didn’t surpass KSMs but it was one of MGMs most successful movies over the 1950-51 period. So nothing to be dismissive about!!

    • shangheinz

      February 25, 2017 at 9:39 am


      Thanks for the gross net Kim cross check, Robjack. After the money wise underachieving Don Juan, Errol simply didn`t get to do the movies he once was a swashbuckler shoe-in for. In “That Forsyte Woman” he was also scheduled to do the other male part before being cast against his character. Director Compton Bennett probably was the only advocate for Flynn for “KSM”. His flynnanigans had finally caught up with him and opened the Hollywood portal for potentials like Granger, Douglas, Lancaster, Holden, Curtis…Even “KSM” should have been a more dramartic film, hadn`t Compton pi__ed off Stewart Granger right of the bat, as he remebers in his bio “Sparks fly upward”: “One day, while sitting rather miserably with a fever of 102 degrees from the thyphoid shot, the director, Compton Bennett, arrived. His first words cheered me up immensely- “I have to tell you right now I wanted Errol Flynn in the part”. Now how`s that for openers? I didn´t blame him for prefering Errol, but why tell me !?” Granger further reveals Compton`s incompetency, for it was actor James Mason who basically directed “The Seventh Veil”, a popular English film that made up his reputation oversees.

  3. twinarchers

    February 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I own Kim and enjoy it. It is not as good a film as KSM and it appears that Flynn and company never even made it to India. Lots of rear screen projection going on. KSM would have put Flynn back on top for awhile anyway. Oh well, old news.

    • twinarchers

      February 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      This may have been his biggest career mistake in not doing this motion picture which was a real trailblazer at the time. As we all know Stewart Granger probably never stopped thanking him as he mentions in the forward in Flynn’s poster book.

      • shangheinz

        February 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm


        Twains, Kim per se isn’t a bad movie, but an uncharacteristic Flynn flick. If you take into account a red goat teeed, bald Errol catering his services to a precocious lad and a missionary lama. The anti climactic showdown isn’t helping either.