Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

Most Exciting Costume Play of This or Any Other Era

13 May

The Adventures of Robin Hood; Released May 14, 1938

Quotes from Louella O. Parsons’ glowing review of The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood is the most exciting costume play of this or any other era. Cunningly combining melodrama, romance, and colorful adventure, it romps along at Twentieth Century speed, making us forget we are seeing legendary characters who lived in the swashbuckling of early England.

Robin Hood comes to us in the person of dashing Errol Flynn, whose performance tops anything the young Flynn has yet given to the screen.

There couldn’t be a lovelier Maid Marian than Olivia de Havilland.

Basil Rathbone gives one of his topping performances as Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

Claude Rains reaches new heights.

Ian Hunter is the perfect King Richard the Lionhearted.

You’ll like the kittenish Una O’Connor, the prankish Eugene Pallete, the hearty and lovable Alan Hale, the weak, spineless Sheriff of Nottingham played by the sterling actor, Melville Cooper, merry crew member Herbert Mundin, and Patric Knowles.

Much credit goes to that splendid director, Michael Curtiz, and William Keighley

The music, by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, is enchanting.

Costumes by Orry-Kelly are beautiful.

The photography, by Tony Gudio and Sol Polito, is poetic.

Perc Westmore, may I say, did a great job on makeup.

The Technicolor adds materially to the beauty of the picture.

Joe Mantegna, who sought and received a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star next to Errol’s, gives a Flynntastic interview about the greatness and importance of both Errol Flynn and The Adventures of Robin Hood. He is a true fan.

— Tim


Errolivia at the Lafayettes

22 Apr

Lafayette, Indiana – Four’s a Crowd Grand Opening

“The cream and black tiles glistened and the neon sign spelled out its welcome—it was September 1, 1938 and the new Lafayette Theater, with its modern Art Deco design, was opening! The line stretched down the block as people waited to see Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland in “Fours A Crowd.” Over 70 years later, people are still lining up for events at the Lafayette Theater.”

Lafayette Theater – Suffern, New York – Dodge City

— Tim


The Swashbuckling Life of Errol Flynn

20 Apr

“The Adventures of Errol Flynn,” premiered on TCM on April 5, 2005, encoring two weeks later on April 19.

“Imbued with the same swashbuckling spirit as its subject matter, this Turner Classic Movies documentary qualifies as must-see TV for anyone weaned on the cinematic exploits of Errol Flynn, whose life on and off the screen makes for a great deal of fun.”


Washington Post
By Tom Shales

April 5, 2005

We may as well retire the word “dashing,” since nowadays it applies to nearly no one. The adjective fits icons and movie stars and royal personages who exist only in the past.

Of all the dashing figures to swing across the movie screen in Hollywood’s golden age, Errol Flynn has to have been the dashingest, at least among candidates from the sound era. He may not have cut a wide swath, exactly, but he cut a rambunctious one. He was one of the screen’s most magnificent rascals, wittily self-aware yet never self-adoring.

Turner Classic Movies pays jaunty and justifiable tribute to Flynn this month with a splendid 32-film Flynn festival, mostly movies made at Warner Bros. Studios, but shamefully omitting the 1943 Warner spectacle “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” in which Flynn sang and danced.

We’re all used to hearing that in real life, this or that performer had no resemblance to the image projected on the screen. But as the word “Adventures” in the title suggests, Flynn was larger-than-life whether on the screen or off it. He was determined not to bore or be bored, and he perhaps exhausted himself in that pursuit, dying at the age of 50 but looking much older.

Even the simplest details of Errol Flynn’s life seem exotic: He was born in Tasmania, of all places, in 1909, and just sort of stumbled into movies in 1933, when he played Fletcher Christian in the sea saga “In the Wake of the Bounty,” Australia’s first talkie.

Two years later, Flynn landed what couldn’t quite be called a plum role in a Hollywood film: He played an impeccable corpse in “The Case of the Curious Bride,” a Perry Mason mystery. There was, as the saying goes, nowhere to go but up, and Flynn went there with a string of swashbuckling, supremely entertaining classics, of which the most memorable and rousing was “The Adventures of Robin Hood” in 1938.

Flynn and the Technicolor tights fit each other so perfectly that one can only wonder what mogul Jack L. Warner had been thinking or drinking when, years earlier, he’d decreed that James Cagney, not Flynn, would be the perfect guy-in-green.

Many other versions of “Robin Hood” have been filmed in the years since, but nobody ever played Mr. Hood with greater gusto, charm and spirit, as the sumptuous clips make clear. According to the documentary, Flynn handled his own sword fighting in the film’s bravura duel with pernicious popinjay Basil Rathbone.

Olivia de Havilland made eight films with Flynn and still seems smitten, as when she recalls the impression he made when first they met on the set of “Captain Blood.”

“Ohhhhh, ohhhhh,” she murmurs, summoning her initial reaction with such enthusiasm she almost gets the vapors. “He is the handsomest, most charming, most magnetic, most virile young man in the entire world,” she says, and she was thus willing to forgive him anything, even the time he left a dead snake in one of the voluminous gowns she wore in “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

Unfortunately, the documentary makes the error of attributing the still-thrilling eponymous charge that ends the movie to director Michael Curtiz, who directed several Flynn films, including most of this one. But the logistics and filming of the actual charge (intercut with quotations from Tennyson’s epic poem) were handled by B. Reeves “Breezy” Eason, the legendary action master whose credit was usually “second unit director.”

The mustache Flynn wore in “Charge” and most of his other action films added the perfect rakish touch to his appearance. Rakishness came naturally; so did a rebellious arrogance. Producer Hal B. Wallis (“Casablanca”) confirms the impression that Flynn gave studio bosses as many ulcers and migraines as he could: “He was the same likable rogue from the beginning right on through his career. He’d make these demands, he’d disappear, he’d come back to work and he would have the top brass at the studio apologizing to him!”

He loved sailing and playing tennis and, unfortunately, shooting up morphine. In very rare footage from 1955, we see Flynn lampooning himself on TV’s “Martha Raye Show.” His days as a lean, limber, devilishly handsome movie star were behind him, but he could even be irreverent about that. The producers begin the documentary with a priceless clip from “The Steve Allen Show,” satirizing “To Tell the Truth.” In this case, the announcer asked for “the real Errol Flynn” to stand up, and since the faux Flynns were a fatuously suave Louis Nye and a quivering Don Knotts, the genuine article was amusingly obvious.

There’s a poignancy to the clip, though, especially when one recalls that Flynn would be dead within a few years. He was long past his days of tights and tree-climbing, looking as though he had left his 40s behind several eons ago. The situation clearly inspired Richard Benjamin’s raucously evocative comedy “My Favorite Year,” which is about a fading old rake. Peter O’Toole, another of the last-of-the-dashers, appears to have nearly as high a time being Errol Flynn as Errol Flynn did.

Separating the actual from the mythic in Flynn’s life isn’t always easy — nor, arguably, at all necessary. J. Edgar Hoover, with typical perversity, started investigating Flynn early in the ’40s, and decades later, a biographer would scrounge up allegations that Flynn had loopy Nazi leanings all that time. In 1942, he faced an apparently trumped-up charge of statutory rape by two Hollywood party girls. Says Flynn’s daughter Deirdre, among many Flynn intimates interviewed: “My father never had to ‘rape’ anybody. Women chased him.”

“I have a zest for living,” Flynn himself once said, “yet twice an urge to die.” Die he did, on Oct. 14, 1959, a few years after giving a hauntingly dissipated performance in “The Sun Also Rises.”

Film of Flynn as himself, near life’s end, shows him looking wan and chubby, and yet some of the dash still survived, apparent in the wicked twinkle of his mischievous eyes.

There was no indication, on the other hand, that he suffered even a hint of regret. “I’ve loved it,” he said of his life, “every minute of it.” You may feel precisely the same way about watching “The Adventures of Errol Flynn.”

— Tim


Gentleman Flynn

18 Apr


Transcript of “Richard Brody on Raoul Walsh’s “Gentleman Jim” (See Video in red link above.)

[Gentleman Jim’s manager, Billy Delaney/William Frawley] Hey, what’s the idea Choynski, where’s your boxing gloves?

[Joe Choynski’s Manager] He lost ’em, that’s what he did, He lost ’em

[Referee] Yeah, well he can’t fight with those.

[Billy Delaney] Aw, nix on that. We won’t fight you without regulation gloves.

[Errol/Gentleman Jim] Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Billy. He can use gloves, no gloves, bare knuckles. He can use a baseball bat if he wants. Let’s get started.

[Richard Brody] I’m Richard Brody and this clip is from Gentleman Jim, a 1942 film directed by Raoul Walsh. It’s a biopic about James J. Corbett, a late 19th century boxer who came
from a rough Irish immigrant family in San Francisco, and yet brought a new level of refinement and gentility to the sport of boxing.


It stars Errol Flynn as a young man with an exuberant excessive swagger. He starts out as a bank teller who had cultivated his pugilistic skills through family brawls and hasn’t yet had a chance to put them on public display. At the same time, he has social climbing ambitions and makes use of an unanticipated connection with an heiress to get himself introduced into the Olympic Club. There, he finally gets to show off his skills and become something of a local celebrity.

Walsh takes pleasure in the rough-hewn media
of illegal prize fighting. The movie is filled with a jaunty and exuberant rowdiness.

[John L. Sullivan] I’ll meet any man who will stand on his own two feet, and if you had about 30 pounds more on you, you’d be the first one sir.

[Errol] I’ll return the compliment Mr. Sullivan, if you’d fight me, I’d just wish you were five years younger.

[Sullivan] What do you mean by that?

[Errol]Not much fun winning the championship from a guy who’s practically tripping over his beard.

[Richard Brody] In this scene, Corbett is trying to get himself a match for the heavyweight title
with the great fighter, John L. Sullivan,a harsh, aggressive, somewhat crude Boston man
who was intensely proud and nearing the end of his career and had no intention of fighting the young peacock. ..But Corbett applies his non-boxing skills to find his way into the ring with him.

[Sullivan] Call the newspaper boys in. I’ll fight that blabbermouth anytime, anywhere.

[crowd cheers]

[Richard Brody] There’s something special about the character of Corbett. He seems peculiarly modern, in fact, even more modern than Walsh imagined. Unlike the other boxers he faces,
he isn’t just a brawler, he’s a dancer, he’s a master of fancy footwork. And with his fancy footwork comes high-flowing verbiage, the ability to use taunting to get under his opponent’s skin and, with his confection of his public image and his careful attention to his appearance, Corbett seems nothing less
than a precursor to Mohammad Ali.

[boxing bell rings]

[crowd cheers]

— Tim


Signature Flynn

17 Apr

The New Yorker
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 barracksful 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.

— Tim


LOOK 🎯 Errol Kissing Olivia

13 Apr

LOOK Magazine – April 12, 1938
The Adventures of Robin Hood


– The Rockefeller Women, wives of the John D. Rockefeller clan, the former Blanchette Hooker, Mary Clark and Mary French.

– Blind persons learn how to row at European school for the blind.

– Confidentially column includes Francisca Gall, Yehudi Menuhin, Barbara Huckins, May McAvoy, Will H. Hays, Lora Marlo, Sidney Skolsky, Anthony Averill, Mary Margaret McBride, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., David and Joseph Maddox and two unrelated men named Joseph John Toth.

– Auto driver Wilbur Shaw in an ad for Camel cigarettes.

– Photographic manipulations proved pictures do tell lies, samples by photographers Henry Clay Gipson, Bill Ries, and A.J. Sockoloskie.

– A photo study of who collects taxes and where they go in Peoria, Illinois; carpenter Homer M. Lynn and family buy shoes from Harry Frankel, groceries from John Frasco, discuss taxes with city assessor Dan Goggin. Other businesses include Hiram Walker, Rock Island railroad, Caterpillar Tractor, young Russell Deal at the Pea Ridge School, Marjorie Frye at the Proctor Recreation Center, Tildon Cecil at the relief office.

– A magician saws a woman in half using Horace Goldin’s trick.

– Boycott against Japan.

– Dorothy Wender Heizer of Essex Falls, New Jersey creates the world’s most expensive dolls.

– Passion play in Oberammergau, Germany.

– Is Paulette Goddard your choice for Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”?

– U.S. Navy builds biggest aircraft carrier, the Yorktown, illustration by Logan Reavis.

– The table manners of Mable Tanners.

– The camera trains diver Herta Schieche of Berlin.

– Hollywood off guard, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper.

– Climbing the pyramid of Gizeh is a workout.

– Movie tricks, including Henry Fonda.

– The private life of Louisiana’s governor Richard Leche.

– Flash Gordon returns to Earth.

– Bill Klem, the umpire who never made a mistake.

-Girl archers at Long Branch Junior College in California.

– Ruth Law, first woman stunt flyer.

– 60-year-old Grace Logan of Los Angeles is skilled at jujitsu.

— Tim


The Virginia City Premier — March 16, 1940

16 Mar

— Tim


San Antonio in Bronxville

14 Mar

Some Sunday Morning in a Lustful, Brawling, Border Town

— Tim


Errol Flynn at the Palace

24 Jan

January 24, 1957

Bosley Crowther
New York Times

THERE is something excessively familiar about Universal’s “Istanbul,” which came yesterday to the Palace, and it isn’t just Errol Flynn. Mr. Flynn, looking heavily enameled about the eyes and the jaws, is a clearly familiar figure out of the not too distant past, but the script of this color picture goes away back into the years.It is, to put it briefly, one of those pictures about some missing “jools”—the same being $200,000 in diamonds that Mr. Flynn, a transient in Turkey, has stashed away. They have fallen into his hands by purest accident; but, once he has them, he sees no reason why he should turn them over to some crooks who want them or to the customs men. Neither does he see any reason why he should part with Cornell Borchers, a very tasty bit of Germanic femininity, with whom he is madly in love, when she loses her memory in a fire and marries another man. The lady is almost as important as the “jools” to him. However, he does give up the baubles (when it looks as if he is going to be caught with them, anyhow) and is prepared to give up Miss Borchers. Then her husband, Torin Thatcher, sees that there’s no point in trying to foil love, and he commits the lady reluctantly but manfully to Mr. Flynn.There is nothing to distinguish this production. The color is good and the CinemaScope inserts of the city by the Golden Horn are nice.

The Cast: ISTANBUL, screen play by Seton Miller, Barbara Gray and Richard Alan Simmons; based on a story by Mr. Miller; directed by Joseph Pevney and produced by Albert J. Cohen for Universal-International. At the Palace.Jim Brennan . . . . . Errol Flynn; Stephanie Bauer . . . . . Cornell Borchers: Karen Fielding; Inspector Nural . . . . . John Bentley; Douglas Fielding . . . . . Torin Thatcher; Charlie Boyle . . . . . Leif Erickson; Marge Boyle . . . . . Peggy Knudsen; Mr. Darius . . . . . Martin Benson; Danny Rice . . . . . Nat (King) Cole; Paul Renkov . . . . . Werner Klernperer

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 24, 1957 of the National edition with the headline: The Screen: ‘Istanbul’; Errol Flynn Appears in Palace film.

With his friend, the Great Nat King Cole,performing this stunningly beautiful version of ‘When I Fall in Love’:

And with his gorgeous co-star. Cornell Borchers:

— Tim


Back In, Like Flynn

24 Dec

Australian Women’s Weekly

Comeback for the Fabulous Flynn

The Comeback Flynn

Erromeo and Juliette

— Tim