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“Hello God” is still Errol Flynn’s Ghost Film!

11 Jun

Allegedly a copy of “Hello God”, Errol Flynn’s missing and unseen film from 1951 was found among evidence files and archived records of a New York courtroom.  The reels of film in cans were in bad condition.    Rumor said that this deteriorating film was shipped to the George Eastman House Film Archives and Preservation Center.

     I sent a formal e-mail request to the George Eastman House stating that I wished to see the “Hello God” footage for a book project.  Five days later I received this polite e-mail from an archivist at the George Eastman House:
Thank you for your email and for your interest in our collections. We do have Hello God in our collections, however we do not have a complete version of the film. We only have the first reel of a work print and a reel or so of outtakes and trims. Preservation work did start on these two items, but has been put on hold and I do not know if and when we may resume preservation. It was expressed to me that a more complete version of the film may exist elsewhere; if that is the case then the keeper of those elements would be better suited to pursue more complete preservation. At this time we do not have any access elements for either the outtakes or work print, so we are unable to provide access at this time.
If I may be able to answer any other questions about our collections or research access, please do not hesitate to ask.
My response to the Eastman House archivist was:
   Thank-you so very much for getting back to me on my inquiry.   I regret to say that no other copy or fragments of this film exist anywhere else in the world.   A film storage company in Los Angeles had a complete print and negative of the film but no one had paid the processing and storage fees.    This company did reach out to the film’s director/producer William Marshal who was in financial straits in the mid-1960’s.   Then out of desperation, they even tried Marshal’s estranged wife, film star Ginger Rogers, who wanted nothing to do with the film and her soon to be ex-husband.   I contacted the company and was informed that since the bill was never paid, the film print, and negatives were destroyed, and discarded.
This is the end of the story.  Only a few minutes of “Hello God” have survived with a few other out-takes and film scraps.   The Eastman House is debating whether or not it is even worth the expense to save these fragments.   Errol Flynn screened “Hello God” and was appalled at the poor quality of the film.   He decided for the sake of his Hollywood career that he must destroy “Hello God” so no one will ever see it.    He got his wish.   Pity he didn’t torch “Cuban Rebel Girls”.

— Ralph Schiller

 
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  1. David DeWitt

    June 12, 2022 at 1:48 am

    CRG is pretty poor quality but it is a rare look at documentary footage of the times with glimpses of Errol as he was at the time. That makes it worth watching to me …

     
  2. ILIKEFLYNN

    June 12, 2022 at 2:52 am

    Thanks for the info on “Hello, God”, but I agree with David. While CRG may not be a good film, I don’t feel it is Errol’s worst. With the exception of seeing and hearing Patrice Wymore sing, “King’s Rhapsody”, I believe is his worst.–A. R.

     
  3. Ralph Schiller

    June 13, 2022 at 2:19 am

    A footnote: Every published source about “Hello God” says that Errol Flynn plays a deceased American soldier in World War Two on his way to the afterlife. However, none of these sources ever actually saw the film itself.

    There are a handful of stills taken on the set of “Hello God” and in every single one of them, Errol Flynn is not only, not in a soldier’s unform, but is dressed head-to-toe in black. On top of that he is still wearing the fancy, well-groomed beard from his big MGM film “Kim”, which would be strictly non-regulation for a American soldier. You would expect him to look like he did at the end of his superb World War II drama ,”Objective Burma” (1945), a fatigued, grungy soldier with an unshaven stubble on his face. One source recently thought it is possible that Errol Flynn may simply be an off-screen narrator. “Hello God” remains Errol Flynn’s ghost film haunting his fans for eternity.

     
  4. shangheinz

    June 13, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    hello.jpg

    Great effort Ralph! If we never see another new Errol reel, be it Tell or God, it will not be for the lack of trying. In the beginning Flynn thought he had a winner at hand, a 1950s version of “All qiet on the Western Front” with an anti war book as outline and authentic documentary material from the battle of Anzio woven into the movie. When his relationship with Marshall turned sour he was second guessing himself. It clearly wasn`t the film to show Jack Warner how to make movies…

     
 
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