Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

Today is the 80th Anniversary of Virginia City

16 May

Released on May 16, 1940

As this video of the Virginia City World Premier Tour poignantly depicts, 1940 was a wondrous time in Hollywood history, and in American history. Everything changed in ’41 – as abruptly as this video.

For a great review of Virginia City, and especially of Errol’s unmatched magnetism as a film star, see the Bogie Film Blog at this link.

For a great review of Virginia City, and especially of Errol’s unmatched magnetism as a film star, see the Bogie Film Blog at this link.

— Gentleman Tim


“In Some Respects, the Most Beautiful Photoplay Ever Made”

26 Apr

April 26, 1938

James Francis Crow
Review of Previews
Hollywood Citizen News

The Adventures of Robin Hood in the new Warner version, with Errol Flynn appearing in the title role as a swashbuckling successor to the swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks, presents itself, first of all, as a box office smash. It is a picture of abundant action and high romance, the well-nigh infallible guarantees of commercial success. Done in Technicolor and magnificently mounted, it is in some respects the most beautiful photoplay ever made. Last night’s preview was marked by frequently recurring bursts of applause by which the audience paid tribute to the artistry of color camera craft in the vivid depiction of marital pageantry, of flashing swordplay, of rollicking adventure among the the gaily garbed long bow warriors of Sherwood Forest.

It is a picture of emphatic and dazzling excellencies. Flynn is excellent, as are Basil Rathbone, Clude Rains, and Alan Hale. Olivia de Havilland is captivatingly beautiful in the role of Lady Marian.

— Gentleman Tim


The Sun Also Rises

26 Apr

Released on this date, April 25, in 1957

Here is a first rate review of Errol’s performance:

— Gentleman Tim


Insouciant Like Flynn

18 Apr

April 18, 1938

Sidney Skolsky Presents

Hollywood Citizen News

Errol Flynn and Warner Brothers are feuding, with Mr. Flynn having told the studio that he will return from his vacation when he feels like it.


April 18, 2005


No film star ever bettered Errol Flynn in tights, but he was the soul of insouciance even when he wore a cavalry uniform or bluejeans. That’s the revelation of “Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection” (Warner Home Video), which features the athletic, rakish star not just as an inspired Sir Francis Drake take-off in the vivid “The Sea Hawk” (1940) and as an uncharacteristically stiff Earl of Essex in “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (1939) but also as a gallant General George A. Custer in “They Died with Their Boots On” (1941) and as a gritty frontier sheriff in the colorful Western potboiler “Dodge City” (1939). The set includes a surprisingly frank biographical portrait, “The Adventures of Errol Flynn.”

But the key film in the set is the sweeping, ebullient swashbuckler “Captain Blood” (1935). Three years before he became the most dashing Robin Hood yet (in “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” available on a separate Warner DVD), the young Australian actor, in his Hollywood breakthrough, proved his panache at righting wrongs. In this film, based on Rafael Sabatini’s 1922 novel about seventeenth-century pirates of the Caribbean and directed by Michael Curtiz, Flynn is Peter Blood, a peaceful doctor who makes the mistake of treating a rebel during the tumultuous reign of King James II and ends up a slave in Jamaica. The ravishing Olivia de Havilland (Flynn’s frequent co-star) plays the feisty, sympathetic niece of the tyrannical British slave owner; Blood and a barracks full of enslaved rebels (good men all) make their escape by stealing a Spanish ship and becoming buccaneers.

Flynn combined aristocratic dash with rebel flair—in “Captain Blood,” he defies the ruling order with absolute confidence. At one point, de Havilland says, “I believe you’re talking treason.” Flynn replies, “I hope I’m not obscure.” (This exchange has a close echo in “Robin Hood,” when de Havilland exclaims, “You speak treason!” and Flynn responds, “Fluently.”) In his autobiography, “My Wicked, Wicked Ways,” Flynn wrote that “youthful and virile roles” like cowboys and swordsmen “require gusto and genuine interest—such as I had felt at the time I was making ‘Captain Blood’ and ‘Robin Hood.’ ” He’s right: in these movies, his exuberance irradiates the screen.

Published in April 18, 2005, print edition of The New Yorker.

— Gentleman Tim


Earnest Errol

08 Apr

April 8, 1944

Bosley Crowther
New York Times

An uncommon lot of “criminals” seem to be doing noble things for France these days—at least, in motion pictures. There was Humphrey Bogart in “Passage to Marseille” and Jean Gabin in “The Impostor.” Now it is Errol Flynn who is abandoning crime for patriotism in “Uncertain Glory,” at the Strand.

In this rather hopped-up Warner picture, which takes place in occupied France, Mr. Flynn plays a man condemned for murder who, in hopes of getting away, offers to surrender himself to the Nazis as a particularly desired saboteur. The offer is grudgingly accepted by Paul Lukas of the French police, who suspects Mr. Flynn’s intentions and keeps a careful watch on him. But when the chance does come for Earnest Erroll to take it on the lam, he does the noble thing bravely. You see, he had meanwhile met a girl. (It is always, or almost always, a girl who inspires Mr. Flynn.)

You may note that our references to characters have been by their own familiar names. It is because this picture is plainly an actor’s vehicle. An air of French actuality is entirely foreign to it. The whole thing is artificial, in structure, mood and atmosphere. But if you accept it on that basis — as a purely theatrical show — it does have some compensations in the entertainment line. The sparring of Mr. Lukas and Mr. Flynn is amusing throughout, mainly because of the performance of Mr. Lukas as an anxious plain-clothes cop. (Mr. Flynn is his boyish self, as usual, and quite remote from a faithful criminal type.) Director Raoul Walsh has keyed it to a subdued, suspenseful pace which is suggestive of explosive tension, even if it never explodes. And Jean Sullivan, who bears a close resemblance to Teresa Wright, is a nice new face in it. However, we casually wonder what values one can hold to when one sees Errol Flynn as a murderous criminal symbolizing the spirit of France.

UNCERTAIN GLORY; screen play by Laszlo Vadnay and Max Brand; from an original story by Joe May and Mr. Vadnay; directed by Raoul Walsh; produced by Robert Buckner for Warner Brothers. At the Strand.

A version of this article appears in print on April 8, 1944 in the National edition with the headline: Errol Flynn Assists the French Underground in Strand Film, ‘Uncertain Glory’

— Gentleman Tim


Two-Hour Blitzkrieg Upon the Human Nerves?

23 Mar


March 23, 1940

Frank S. Nugent
The New York Times

All the extravagant adjectives in the book, plus a few lalapaloozas especially constructed for the occasion, may be employed without challenge by the Warner Brothers in calling attention to their latest prospection in the epic vein, “Virginia City.” For such a bundle of action-melodrama, such an excess of old-time super-colossalisms has not been seen in years to compare with this veritable archive of familiar outdoor thrill tricks, now showing at the Strand.

Practically everything guaranteed by long experience to stimulate an audience’s excitement—everything except technicolor—has been utilized by the Warner workshop to contrive this two-hour Blitzkrieg upon the human nerves.

From the moment that Federal Captain Bradford and Captain Irby of the Confederate Army square off in a Richmond prison, you and they are in for it, with such successive episodes as an explosive escape from the prison, a fight atop a runaway stagecoach, the usual roistering in a frontier town saloon, an outlaw raid upon a covered-wagon train and the arrival of the United States cavalry to while away the time. There is even a last-minute pardon from the lips of President Lincoln.

Put together as it is from patches which have the well-worn look, it is inevitable that this story of an unsuccessful Confederate attempt to run gold from Virginia City during the last days of the Civil War should be strictly synthetic. There is something depressingly pat about the personal interludes. You just know the beautiful Confederate spy, who doubles as a dancing girl, will fall in love with the Union captain, that she will agonize between love and duty, that the end will be duly heroic.

And, as played by Errol Flynn and Miriam Hopkins, the leading roles become no less obviously carpentered. Mr. Flynn is about as mobile as a floor walker; Miss Hopkins recites her stilted lines by rote. Only Randolph Scott as the Confederate captain behaves as though he was actually on the spot.

But waving the individuals aside, which is what is usually done in outdoor thrillers, there is enough concentrated action in the picture, enough of the old-time Western sweep, to make it lively entertainment. After all, with such models for obvious reference as “The Covered Wagon,” “Stagecoach” and even a bit of “Gone With the Wind,” Director Michael Curtiz could hardly have missed.

— Gentleman Tim


A Newcomer Named Errol Flynn

27 Dec

December 27, 1935

A Newcomer Named Errol Flynn in a Handsome Film Version of Captain Blood

“A spirited and criminally-handsome Australian named Errol Flynn plays the genteel buccaneer to the hilt.”

— Gentleman Tim


Ain’t Santa. Not Sinatra. Bogus Bogie.

25 Dec

From Forgotten Christmas Films

“Not your typical Christmas film, but you see Errol Flynn dressed up like Santa Claus! Phil (Errol) and Ellen (Eleanor Parker) Gayley are divorced. Their daughter Flip (Patti Brady) and Phil aren’t very happy about the divorce and hope to win Ellen back from her new boyfriend, Rex (Donald Woods). All of this takes place during Christmas as Phil and Rex both dress up like Santa and a comedic mix-up occurs. To review: A cute movie that really takes place during Christmas by chance, but still shows the importance of family. This is actually one of my favorite Errol Flynn movies, because we get to see him in a comedic, husband type role in New York, rather than a swashbuckling role in Spain.”

— Gentleman Tim


The Perfect Specimen

11 Dec

December 11, 1937


The Perfect Specimen: Errol Flynn, Joan Blondell — It is a natural. Plenty of clever stuff and Flynn and Blondell are good in the roles as the perfect man and the gal who knows what’s good for him — A.E. Goodman, Columbia Theatre, Columbia City, Ind. General Patronage.

— Gentleman Tim


Errol Flynn’s Ghost Returns

09 Sep

An Immersive Glimpse at Old Havana…

El documental ‘Errol Flynn’s Ghost: Hollywood in Havana’

Los cubanos siempre estuvieron enamorados de Hollywood. ¿Fueron correspondidos?…


— Gentleman Tim