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Archive for the ‘Directors’ Category

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

— Tim

 

Confidentially – Erol is No. 3

04 Jan

January 4, 1937

— Tim

 

On the Seventh Day of Christmas 🎁x7

31 Dec


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

— 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:

— 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.

— Tim

 

Leap Day 1940 – Part 2

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 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.”

— Tim

 

Leading the Charge

20 Feb

February 18, 1936

Jimmy Starr
Evening Herald Express

For his splendid directorial work on Captain Blood, Michael Curtiz has been awarded the important task of wielding the megaphone on The Charge of the Light Brigade. again starring new rave Errol Flynn, which will be one of the most lavishly produced on the Warner lists this season.

And now a whack from Lizzie Yeaman…

February 18, 1936

Elizabeth Yeaman
Hollywood Citizen News

The directorial stock of Michael Curtiz has soared many points since the rekease of Captain BloodThe Charge of the Light Brigade. This picture will be a big special production with a budget even larger than that established for Captain Blood. Curtiz, futhermore, is well qualified by experience to direct this story of the Crimean War. For four years he fought as an officer in the Austrian calvary during the World War, and he also served during two Austrian revolutions. Flynn, meanwhile, is rapidly recovering from his appendix operation.

— Tim

 

The Light Brigade Rides Again/Making of the Charge

02 Jan

“The Light Brigade Rides Again”

“The Making of the Charge of the Light Brigade”

— Tim

 

“History is history”

30 Dec

December 28, 1937

Hollywood Citizen News

Sidney Skolsky Presents
Watching Them Make Pictures

Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and a crowd of extras are getting ready to play a scene for the picture, Robin Hood.

The setting is Nottingham Castle in England, and a feast is about to take place. Errol Flynn is Robin Hood, and Claude Rains is Prince John. The extras, dressed as knights, stand out in their shining armor. Director Mike Curtiz seems out of place, wearing trousers and a sweater.

Dirctor Curtiz gives the signal that he is ready. The cameras are turning. Robin Hood Flynn, lugging a deer, walks toward the banquet table. Here Prince John, with meats and wines before him, is entertaining. Robin Hood Flynn offers him the deer for the feast.

It is then that Prince John interrupts the scene and becomes Claude Rains.

He says to Curtiz, “Mike, I forgot to tell you something. I’ve been doing some research on the part. And according to history, Prince John was a vegetarian, and he never drank wine.”

Miss de Havilland and Mr. Rathbone, standing at the banquet table, are amazed, but say that history is history.

But this doesn’t stop director Curtiz. He says: “We need this big scene for the picture. In the movies we don’t make historical pictures, we make history.”

— Tim

 

Hat’s Off, Mike

24 Dec

December 24, 1937

Jimmy Starr
LA Evening Herald Express

For a thrilling scene in Robin Hood, Errol Flynn threw a 15 pound spear through a window and is supposed to make it stick in the opposite wall. Flynn threw the spear, but his name was poor.

Lucky for director Michael Curtiz that he ducked in time.  The spear nipped off his hat, pinning it to the floor of the stage. “Are you hurt?” screamed the frantic Flynn.

“No, I am all right,” replied Mike, “but look at my hat — she is dead!”

— Tim

 
 
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