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Archive for the ‘Directors’ Category

Ides of March, 1933 — Errol’s First Public Screening

15 Mar

March 15, 1933

Sydney Morning Herald

EXPEDITIONARY FILMS LTD. “BOUNTY” PICTURE LAUNCHED!!

To-day, at the Prince Edward Theatre, the film, “In the Wake of the Bounty,” which Mr. Charles Chauvel produced recently, with Tahiti and Pitcairn Islands as the principal backgrounds, will be given its first public screenings.

At the Australia Hotel yesterday, the directors of Expeditionary Films Ltd., under whose auspices Mr. Chauvel has made the film, entertained members of the Press and the motion picture Industry at luncheon.

Mr. S. Utz (Chairman of Expeditionary Films, Ltd.) presided. COL. M. P. Bruxner, who is a member of the company, outlined some of the difficulties which Mr. Chauvel had to face In making the film; difficulties of transport; difficulties of organisation; and, finally, difficulties of censorship. The members of the company, being amateurs in the film business, had been amazed, and then appalled, at the amount of obstinacy and pugnacity which had to be displayed, before a film finally reached its public.

Mr. C. Brunsdon Fletcher spoke of the essential soundness and solidarity of the British Empire, in a world where every other nation was reeling beneath the shock of disaster (the depression). After all, it was human character, as expressed in national outlook, which remained the predominating factor. The producers of this film had done something decisive and valuable to make their country known elsewhere.

Mr. Hec C. MacIntyre (Managing Director of Universal Films – Aust) said that his Company considered it was only doing Its duty in trying to establish Australian films abroad. The launching of the Australian product In England, was no easy matter, either. The English exhibitor was conservative. He preferred to concentrate on English and American productions. Some of the earlier Australian films had been extraordinarily difficult to market. In Mr. Chauvel’s picture, however, he was confident that he had something to appeal to the tastes of the whole world.

Mr. H. Saxton (Secretary of Expeditionary Films) also spoke.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Not for Nothing

01 Mar

February 29, 1940

Sidney Skolsky
Watching Them Make Pictures

If you wait long enough on a Michael Curtiz set, you’re bound to hear a Curtizism. The other afternoon on the set of The Sea Hawk I had a long wait. In fact for the first time I thought reliable Mike was going to fail me. Director Curtiz had Errol play a scene over and over. And everytime he gave an order I expected him to pull a gem. But he didn’t.

Finally, Errol did the scene the way Curtiz wanted and reliable Mike came through. He said: “Errol, you worked hard. But it’s alright. You can’t get anything for nothing unless you pay for it.”

— Gentleman Tim

 

Cameraman & Referee: Best Assignment He Ever Had

26 Feb

On February 26, 2006, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Kline. a prestigious honor presented annually to an individual who has made exceptional and enduring contributions to the art of filmmaking.

Richard Kline was born on Nov. 15, 1926, into a Los Angeles family that included three prominent ASC cinematographers: his father, Benjamin H. Kline, and two uncles, Sol Halperin and Philip Rosen. However, he said, he took up camera work at age 16 not out of any great love for the craft — his passion was surfing — but because World War II was raging, and his father believed such training would help him qualify for a camera unit when he was called to serve. He started at Columbia Pictures in 1943 as a slate boy on the Technicolor musical Cover Girl, and by the time he entered the U.S. Navy the following year, he had advanced to first assistant cameraman, spending two months in Acapulco filming The Lady from Shanghai. “Welles was brilliant, and here I was, this kid along for the ride.”

“In Acapulco, we used Errol Flynn’s yacht, The Zaca. Apart from a brief cameo, Flynn did not appear in Shanghai”

“Errol Flynn and Orson Welles were quite a pair. There was never a dull moment.” “We were on location down in Acapulco and it was a very wild time.” “Errol lent his yacht to Orson for the film. Errol himself served as the skipper.”

“Along with the rest of the crew, one of Kline’s responsibilities was to referee the nightly bar fights that would break out between Welles and Flynn after the two had spent several hours heavily “unwinding.””

Orson, Rita and Chula

Orson and Richard Kline

In order to shoot the location sequences, a company of 50 Hollywood actors and technicians flew to Acapulco, along with 60 Mexican extra players and technicians from Mexico City. More than 15 tons of equipment were shipped from Hollywood, one order of six tons comprising the largest single air express shipment ever undertaken by a movie location company.

Scenes were filmed above and below decks, at anchorages in Acapulco Harbor, at Fort San Diego in Acapulco Bay, at Morro Rocks and other scenic spots, as well as at sea. A lavish new night club, Ciro’s, located atop the swank Casablanca Hotel in Acapulco, also served as a setting, as did the 25-mile stretch of white sand beach at Pied de la Cuesta.

The transportation of heavy sound and camera equipment through the tangled Mexican jungle was a major problem, but overcome by the sheer manpower of several hundred Mexican porters and canoe men. Sound trucks and generators were placed on native canoes lashed together to form barges, and then were floated through jungle-cluttered streams into shooting position.

“Shooting aboard the yacht was, from the space standpoint very difficult, and these scenes, as they appear in the picture, are necessarily cramped in composition — but this actually worked in favor of the overall effect because it produced an authentic atmosphere of crowded life aboard a small yacht.”

During filming aboard The Zaca, a long line of native dugout canoes anchored astern formed a bridge from the barge holding the generator so that electrical cables could be stretched for the camera and sound equipment.

Said Kline six decades later: ” It was the best assignment I ever had,”

(Left) On location in Mexico, Welles briefs his crew prior to filming a sequence. (Center) The Zaca is anchored in Acapulco Harbor. Astern are a line of barges over which electrical cable was stretched between the yacht and the generator boat. (Right) For a scene shot in the jungle streams of Mexico, the camera is mounted on a dugout canoe alongside the boat in which the principle players ride.

— Gentleman Tim

 

On to the Empty Horses

22 Feb

February 19. 1936

Elizabeth Yeaman
Hollywood Citizen News

The directorial stock of Michael Curtiz has soared many points once the release of Captain Blood, which he directed with the previously unknown star, Errol Flynn. Curtiz was so successful in making Flynn a star that Warners now have assigned him again in The Charge of the Light Brigade.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Operation Burma!

17 Feb

USA Release on February 17, 1945

Rory on Op Burma & the Baron:

The Operation Burma! Trailer

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Prince, the Pauper, and the Malarial Superstar (Plus a Sick Director)

26 Jan

The Prince, the Pauper, and the Malarial Superstar (Plus a Sick Director)

January 27, 1937

Harrison Carroll

Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn is back at work on The Prince and the Pauper after days out with the flu and malaria.

January 28, 1937

Elizabeth Yeaman

Hollywood Citizen News

The Prince and the Pauper has been plagued by flu. Errol Flynn, the star, was out of the cast for two weeks with a combined attack of flu and malaria. He finally reported for work on Monday. And todaydirector William Keighley took to his bed with flu. So William Dieterle has been rushed in to complete the picture which should be finished within another week.

HISTORY AND DOCUMENTATION OF ERROL’S MALARIA

Part 1

Errol’s Malaria

Errol’s Malaria — Part 1 — Blood-Thirsty Ann

Part II

Bitten in New Britain

Errol’s Malaria — Part 2 — Bitten in New Britain? … Or was it New Ireland? Or was it New Hanover? Or ….

Part III

Recurrences

Errol’s Malaria – Part 3 – Reports of Recurrences

— Gentleman Tim

 

Confidentially – Erol is No. 3

04 Jan

January 4, 1937

— Gentleman Tim

 

On the Seventh Day of Christmas 🎁x7

31 Dec


On December 31, 1980
Raoul Walsh passed away
Leaving us these Errol Flynn masterpieces…….

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Bloody Good Review

20 Dec

December 20, 2008

The Hollywood Immortals Who were Made by Blood

Flynn, De Havilland, Korngold

Errol Flynn: His sword carved his name across the continents – and his glory across the seas!

Flynn had only moderate acting experience. His roles in the four films he made since 1933 were small and somewhat unimpressive. Who remembers him as Fletcher Christian, for example. But he improved so rapidly in Blood that many early scenes were reshot. In fact, he ends up being quite good on screen, giving the impression of understanding his role, approaching his part, maybe, with the care of a Shakespearean actor. It’s a common appraisal but true: besides being able to flourish a sword better than anyone before or since, Flynn wore period clothes with style, as if he had stepped out of the past, or, as some have said, belonged there.

He spoke the convoluted lines naturally and with conviction. Not easy. The stilted quaintness and archaisms of the dialogue are largely retained from Rafael Sabatini’s 1922 novel, thanks to Casey Robinson’s screenplay. Yes, the words have a certain fascination because they are so quaint, so different from normal usage and seem to fit imagined 17th-century speech: “Faith, yes, I don’t doubt it. You’ve the looks and manners of a hangman.” “It’s entirely innocent I am.” “Bedad, we’ll have a crew yet!” “ … while I, who hate this pestilential island—well, such are the quirks of circumstance.” —All lines delivered by Flynn!

Olivia de Havilland: Her talent, beauty and charisma were resplendent

As for Olivia de Havilland, who had made only one previous film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream earlier that year, Blood offered a much larger role. Her girlish and virginal persona would endure essentially unchanged in the seven subsequent films she made with Flynn, and the two would become one of Hollywood’s great romantic screen couples, á la Tracy and Hepburn, Bogart and Bacall. The charisma between the two, immediately evident in Blood, persists resplendently in all their films.

Erich Korngold: His film scoring changed everything

A Viennese composer of operas and chamber music, once a child prodigy, Korngold had worked with de Havilland on the Shakespeare movie arranging Mendelssohn’s music. Warner Bros. was so impressed they asked him to write an original score for a “little” movie they had just finished. Korngold, without seeing Blood, said no, but after WB’s insistence and a private screening, he was so moved by the film’s charm and humor* that he agreed to write the music.

The humor that so impressed Korngold runs throughout the film. A recurring joke is Governor Steed’s (George Hassell) bout with the gout. Following a slave branding, the next shot shows the governor in a close-up. “What a cruel shame,” he says, “that any man is made to suffer so.”

What Korngold didn’t know—what WB had failed to tell him—was that he had only three weeks.

With time running out, he borrowed parts of two Franz Liszt tone poems, Mazeppa and Prometheus, to support the noisy battle scenes, interspersed with previous Korngold music from the film. While movie composers today appropriate the classics as their own, usually without acknowledgment, Korngold insisted his main title credit read “Arrangements by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.” This automatically disqualified Blood for nomination as Best Score, which it surely would have received; the composer would win the next year for Anthony Adverse.

Korngold had a large part—a very large part—in the overwhelming success of Captain Blood. A contemporary equivalent would be John Williams’ impact with Jaws (1975) or, even more so, the first of the Star Wars films (1977), which, in fact, is an obvious homage to the Korngoldian style—the lyrical, richly orchestrated, heart-on-sleeve ardor of 19th-century music.

Audiences who first heard Blood were astounded. They had never heard such music, not even compared with Max Steiner’s ground breaking King Kong (1933). The orchestra which recorded the music to film, the studio heads who saw the completed movie before release and the public which attended the country’s theaters—none of them had ever heard such music from a motion picture—a large orchestra by studio standards, complicated orchestration, big, luscious sound, dramatic music that perfectly underpinned the screen. Blood remains a milestone in film scoring, and Korngold would contribute to six more Flynn films.

Blood and his crew setting sail from Port Royal is one of the most lingering images in the film. He and Arabella exchange forlorn glances, he from the ship, she from shore, captured in multiple dissolves and supported by Korngold’s swelling music, horns echoing at the conclusion. (The scene, by the way, is replicated in The Sea Hawk [1940], Korngold and Flynn in tandem, only with Brenda Marshall as a pale stand-in for Olivia.) Later, before the final sea battle, when Arabella is put ashore in a longboat, there’s a reprise of that first separation, the two again staring after each other, if not to swelling, then certainly to lushly romantic music—horns again prominent.

Most critics say that as early as Anthony Adverse and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Korngold began experimenting with pitching the key of the music just beneath the actors’ voices. It began, actually, with Blood, if not sooner. Perhaps the best example, in any of his film scores, of how he unifies music with the screen image is the pillory scene between Blood and Jeremy Pitt (Ross Alexander), how the music—the second theme—changes in ambience, orchestration and volume, according to the emotions of the two men. Likewise, in the final love scene (“Whom else would I love?” Arabella asks), the music hesitates, softens, speeds up, becomes richer or changes in instrumentation, even disappears at one point, based on the tempo and emotion of the dialogue.

Thank you, Maestro Korngold, for this and all the your magnificent film scores. Your reward: The new career that save your life and the lives of your family.
.

And thank you, Errolivia, for the greatest swashbuckler and for being the most romantic co-stars in the history of Hollywood. Your reward: This kiss:

— Gentleman Tim

 

Charles Chauvel — The Man Who Launched Errol’s Career in Movies

12 Nov

New York Times — November 12, 1959



Charles Chauvel was both a producer and director, wrote his own scripts and handled casting and a great deal of the publicity. After marrying Charles, South African actress Elsie Sylvany changed her name to Elsa Chauvel and became an instrumental part of Charles productions, handling make-up, continuity in the early films, and later co-writing scripts. Their first sound film “In the Wake of the Bounty” gave Errol Flynn his first screen role, as Fletcher Christian of the Bounty, and was filmed on Tahiti and the remote island of Pitcairn.

Charles Chauvel

(Gorgeous) Elsa Chauvel

In the Wake of the Bounty – The Book

Premier at the Prince Edward Theater in Sydney

How Errol was discovered by Charles Chauvel. …An alternative account, often regarded more accurate, is that Errol was brought to the attention of Chauvel by John Warwick,an actor in the film, who apparently was impressed at Bondi Beach by Errol physique, charisma, and charm, and brought him (possibly to a casting session) to see Chauvel. There has also been a humorous account I heard many years ago – perhaps started by Errol himself – that, in order to get the role of Christian, he deliberately punched and broke the nose of the actor already slated for the role in a Sydney saloon the night before filming began.

— Gentleman Tim