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Archive for the ‘Blog Author’s Travels’ Category

Flynn`s footsteps- in the Will Tell town of Courmayeur

08 Aug

Dear Flynnmates,

brace yourselves, we may not have seen the last of Errol Flynn.

When I embarked via Berchtesgaden to the Italian town of Courmayeur, where in 1953 our Hollywood hero sadly missed the apple shot, I was determined to add at least one more chapter to that half full filled dream movie called “The Story of William Tell”.

Lying at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif, Courmayeur greeted me with sunshine (a rarity, even in summer).

Weather also had been a factor back in the day, when first time director Jack Cardiff constantly had to cleanse his lense for a clear shot at the “Dente del Gigante” as seen above.

Courmayeur after and most of all is a skiing resort.

And a splendid one at that with its historic houses, clear air and the innate Italian art of fine wining and dining.

One can easily see through the decision to make it a film location.

Even as a stand-in for a Swiss town in an ancient epic of a heroic father-archer battling an Austrian army almost all by himself.

Walking about you can spot the buildings Academy winning art director Nino Novarese very probably used as an inspiration for that village he built from scratch.

It was this construction made with real stones, that consumed the lion share of production costs.

Above is the exact spot where Little Altdorf once stood complete with church.

And below is the river where Errol battled his buddy-turned-real-life-nemesis Bruce Cabot in one of the few finished scenes.

Stunt man Jock Easton, who could pack a punch, had to take the plunge.

I figured this nearby mountain side would have been the perfect place for the avalanche that was to be set off for the grand finale:

The Monte Bianco Hotel, once shelter for cast and crew, now is an apartment complex.

It was there where Mrs. Waltraut Haas and the wife of actor Dave Crowely, Pat, rescued their stuff over the balcony when bailiffs were seizing all private belongings for back payment.

Finally it was time to sit down for a chat with Signor Leo, a former race car driver, who as a kid witnessed the filming of Flynn in person.

He told me a typical Errol-like episode, how the horses for a big battle scene in the streets were fed sparkling wine to keep going.

And then he really popped the corks- metaphorically speaking.

Some of the missing Tell reels still lie dormant in an attic of a local alpine hut and wait for restoration; if they can be processed, they will be released at a future special event for all the world to see.

Enjoy,

— shangheinz

 

Flynn`s footsteps- When in Venice…

10 Apr

Dear Flynnmates,

the old saying that life resembles a solitary beach has never been truer than today.

Last fall I had the opportunity to roam the desert sands of Lido isle in Venice almost all by myself

The Excelsior Hotel, well known from the Thomas Mann novel “Death in Venice” emerged as a ghost castle right before me.

It was there in September of 1953, where Errol´s “The Story of William Tell” movie came to a full stop.

At the Biennale film festival, prankster Flynn faked a back injury while dancing the Bogalloo in the presence of John Huston and King Farouk.

He wanted to cash in his insurance policy and finish “the greatest film ever” in Italy.

But instead of taking Lloyd`s for a gondola ride, Will Tell sailed into the sunset.

Enjoy,

— shangheinz

 

Travels

24 May

Heading to Saint Augustine and Savannah next sunday.

Was Errol ever in any of those two cities? If not where in FL and GA?

 

 

— Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

 

Objective Brooklyn!

31 Jul

Grabbing breakfast this morning at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Company in Boca, I noticed the following 3′ x 3′ image. It’s a WWII era photo of the College Theater in Brooklyn, on the southeast corner of Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road. I can perrsonally attest that Flynn was HUGELY popular in Brooklyn, along the lines of a superhero – something touched upon in My Favotite Year.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Merci to Bob!

02 Mar

Thanks to Our Man Bob, I was able to learn before leaving New Orleans that, per Buster Wiles, Errol visited Arnaud’s and Antoines, two of the Crescent City’s most legendary restaurants.

Arnaud’s has what is considered one of the world’s greatest bars. It is also often said to be “the most beautiful dining room in New Orleans, Arnaud’s offers the quintessential New Orleans dining experience. Remaining true to its traditions and courtesies, Arnaud’s has served exceptional Creole cuisine for nearly 100 years.”

Errol is very prominently mentioned in the obituary of Germaine Cazenave Wells, the daughter of “Count Arnoud”, an astonishing New Orleans legend in her own right.

archives.chicagotribune.com…

“No New Orleans trip is complete” without a “sumptuous” French-Creole meal at this “classic of all classics” (established 1840) “in the heart of the French Quarter”, where “oysters Rockefeller was invented”; the “elegant” setting is “composed of many rooms” that boast “museum-quality artifacts” (“ask for a guided tour”), so even if prices are thoroughly modern, everything else is a “throwback to a more gracious time.”

Antoine’s, Daddy-O, featuring Candy and Kostner in a film Flynn would have been sensational in. You dig?

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Buccaneer?

01 Mar

We here all know Flynn was by far the best buccaneer in cinematic history. But he was always a Brit in one form or another, right? Here in New Orleans, however, the most “heroic” or at least heralded real-life buccaneer of all was the anti-Brit Jean LaFitte. How do you think Flynn would have fit and fared in the role of The Buccaneer, Jean LaFitte?

“The Buccaneer [was] a 1938 American adventure film made by Paramount Pictures based on Jean Lafitte and the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. It was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille.”

“The film stars Fredric March as Lafitte, Franciska Gaal and Akim Tamiroff with Margot Grahame, Walter Brennan, Ian Keith, Spring Byington, Douglass Dumbrille, Beulah Bondi and Anthony Quinn in supporting roles.” This, therefore, would have “reunited” Errol with “I Adore You” Margot Grahame, paired him with Hungarian star Francisca Gaal (fresh off her noted role as “Lilli”, and had his radio producer, silver screen great, Cecil B. DeMille, producing him for the first and only time on film.

“Cecil B. DeMille remade the film in 1958 in Technicolor and VistaVision with the same title, but because of ill health, he allowed Henry Wilcoxon, his longtime friend and associate, to produce it, and the film was directed by Anthony Quinn, who was his son-in-law at the time. DeMille received no screen credit, but did make a personal appearance in the prologue to the film, much as he did in The Ten Commandments. The 1958 version of The Buccaneer stars Yul Brynner, Charles Boyer and Claire Bloom, with Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson. Douglass Dumbrille appeared in both versions and Quinn acted in the earlier version.”

I have not found clips from the 1938 version with the always excellent Fredric Marsh, but here’s a photo, followed by a terrific trailer, in ’58, featuring Ceci B. DeMille and Yul. Yul agree, I believe, that Flynn would have been better than Brynner.

**********

In the French Quarter footsteps of Flynn, can be found the following relevant sites, all along Bourbon Street:

“Jean LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop”, a front for his piratical activities.

savingplaces.org…

And here, upstairs, is where LaFitte is said to have planned the Battle of New Orleans, in 1812 (and where, during WWII, Errol was also in a bit of a battle himself, when this building, downstairs, was known as the Old Absinthe House.

Flynn @ the Old Absinthe House

The second and third photos below of a 19th Century painting of the Battle of 1812 in the original planning room upstairs, and a wooden model of LaFitte’s lead ship, carved by one of the pirates from that ship.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Errol Flynn Laborde

28 Feb

During last night’s Mardi Gras (aka Lundi Gras) ceremonies, I thought I heard various call outs to “Errol” being made. Even once possibly to “Errol Flynn”. Naturally, I found this quite surprising and intriguing!

Having absolutely no clue who this Errol/Errol Flynn might be, I did some Flynnvestigation. As it turns out, Errol Flynn Laborde is a leading Mardi Gras historian, who was up on stage and apparently a key figure in the planning of this year’s events. Amazing coincidence!

Here’s an article and video including references to Monsieur Laborde.

www.mardigrasneworleans.com…

“Then while researching a book for the 125th anniversary of the Rex organization, famous local historian Errol Flynn Laborde discovered the truth behind these colors.”

— Gentleman Tim

 

Hola from NOLA

28 Feb

In like Flynn at the Lundi Gras tonight. Presently at one of Errol’s Big Easy watering holes, the Sazerac Bar, in the Hotel Roosevelt. Been gathering Flynnfo all about town.

If anyone has any request of me to Flynnvestigate or consider please do send asap. For example, anything from Buster Wiles book, in which he discusses his trip to NO LA Land with Errol, circa ’43, which I do not have with me!

P.S. Hard to tell from these photos, but that’s the great Harry Connick Jr. heading up the Krewe of Orpheus Parade tonight. That’s Harry at the front of the float, with beads for throwing to the crowd draped over his right arm.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Sunday at and about Sepy’s

19 Feb

Into Ye Little Wood, following in the footsteps of Flynn’s friend Sepy. Coconut Grove, Miami

Per the previous posts and superb Flynnvestigations of baronheinz:

The Barons of the Bodeguita

Into Ye Little Wood we go ...

Ye Little Wood Metal Gate

Not fareth from Ye Little Wood hood, on Calle Oche, featuring the old culture of Errol & Sepy’s old Cuban stomping grounds.
:

Across the calle, a restaurante featuring a painting of La Bodeguita del Medio, the epicenter of Errol & Sepy’s pre-Castro drinking grounds .

For the record, I was unable to get updated photos of Sepy’s fascinating “charging bull” manse because of new neighbors, fencing and security, but I did get to see most of it from a distance of about only twenty yards, and, quite surprisingly, it appears nearly exactly how it did on my last visit, with, as far as I could see, apparently little or no further construction in over two years!

Thanksgiving Day at Baron Sepy’s Place


www.the…

— Gentleman Tim

 

Live from Livvie’s

15 Nov

From Olivia’s childhood home in beautiful Saratoga, California:

attach0_4

A fun and very informative circa 1990’s interview of Olivia from Saratoga, including some very humorous references to “touching bases” (and not touching bases) with Errol. (At ~ 12:00 and briefly at very end of interview.)

cmpm.appfolio.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 
 
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