Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

Fame Around the Corner — A Promising Australian

30 Sep

Publicity photo of Errol circa his filming of Murder at Monte Carlo at Teddington Studio in London.

September 30, 1935
The Argus – Melbourne, Australia

“The day of Errol Flynn is bound to arrive sooner or later, for he has ability and a debonair charm of manner that must win him recognition as a light comedian of no mean order.”

— Gentleman Tim


What the Picture Did for Me

07 Aug

“August 7, 1937


What the Picture Did for Me

The Green Light
, Errol Flynn, Anita Louise – Just a natural for any spot. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Too bad we could not get more productions like this. Good cast and excellent story. Running time: nine reels. July 15 – A. L. Dove, Bengough Theatre, Bengough, Saskatchewan, Can. Rural and Small Town Patronage.”

Bengough, with a population of about 337, is known as the “Gateway to the Big Muddy (Valley and Badlands)”. Before Errol was seen by the populace in and around Bengough, the gentlemen in the photo below used to show up in the area to escape U.S. legal authorities. Their names were Butch and Sundance.

“August 7, 1937


What the Picture Did for Me

The Prince and the Pauper
: Big time stuff in any man’s town. Box office all the way. Running time, 115 minutes – W. E. McPhee, Strand Theater, Old Town, Maine. General Patronage.”

In 1936, the Strand featured Bing Crosby in Rhythm on the Range. The theater was upgraded and modernized as depicted below to accommodate Old Town’s mid-1930s population of approximately 7500.

— Gentleman Tim


A Field Day for Flynn

06 Aug

August 6, 1953

New York Times
Master of Ballantrae at the Paramount

With plenty of good, old-fashioned muscularity crowding a highly pictorial Technicolor frame, at least three-fourths of “The Master of Ballantrae” makes a rousing, spectacular outlet for a pair of estimable adventurers, Errol Flynn and the master himself, Robert Louis Stevenson. In the new Warner Brothers arrival at the Paramount yesterday, Mr. Flynn is leading a fine, predominantly British cast through one of the liveliest, handsomest and most absurd screen free-for alls ever to leave the Victorian talespinner’s pen. If the excessive length and staggeringly heroic exploits can be pinned on Warners and Mr. Stevenson, respectively, no one, assuredly, should question the lavish elasticity of the proceedings. It is played well by the entire cast, and seasoned throughout with some brazen drollery. The film was gleamingly authenticized in such locales as Scotland, England and Sicily. Herb Meadow’s adaptation fittingly charts a cluttered, tumultuous odyssey for the indefatigable protagonist, leader of the fiery Durisdeer clan and fugitive champion of the Stuart Restoration, as he engineers a magnificent career in high-seas piracy and returns home, a wiser, if no less boisterous, rebel. The direction of William Keighley is equally alert and scenic, whether scouring the craggy, heather-strewn battlegrounds of the clansmen or capturing the lusty barbarism of the pirates’ island sanctuary. And since the dialogue is more often pungent than standard, the motivations and characterizations retain a surprising air of conviction, for all the flying kilts, sabers and sails. Mr. Flynn is, in turn, bold, roguish and forgiveably self-satisfied in his best swashbuckler since “The Sea Hawk,” thirteen long years ago. The featured players, a spanking round-up, are crisp, restrained and forceful, one and all, particularly Roger Livesey and and Anthony Steel, and the ladies in the case, Beatrice Campbell and Yvonne Furneaux. Last but not least, the truly stunning color photography of that British ace, Jack Cardiff, provides a canvas that stands as a model of its kind and fully rates the classic archive reserved for Mr. Stevenson, long, perhaps, after Mr. Flynn and company are forgotten. Meanwhile, Mr. Flynn is having himself, as well he might, a field day.

THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE, screen play by Herb Meadow, based upon the Robert Louis Stevenson story directed by William Keighley and presented by Warner Brothers. Jamie Durisdeer . . . . . Errol Flynn, Col. Francis Burke . . . . . Roger Livesey, Henry Durisdeer . . . . . Anthony Steel, Lady Alison . . . . . Beatrice Campbell, Jessie Brown . . . . . Yvonne Furneaux, Lord Durisdeer . . . . . Felix Aylmer, MacKellar . . . . . Mervyn Johns, Arnaud . . . . . Jack Berthier, Mendoza . . . . . Charles Goldner, Maj. Clarendon . . . . . Ralph Truman

— Gentleman Tim


Tony Thomas & “Huckleberry Flynn”

31 Jul

Born July 31, 1927

Tony Thomas – Preeminent Film, Film Music, and Errol Flynn, Historian

— Gentleman Tim


Against All Flags — Blu-Ray On the Way

22 Jul

Could Be Today, July 22, 2020.

“In 1700, the pirates of Madagascar menace the India trade; British officer Brian Hawke has himself cashiered, flogged, and set adrift to infiltrate the pirate “republic.” There, Hawke meets lovely Spitfire Stevens, a pirate captain in her own right, and the sparks begin to fly; but wooing a pirate poses unique problems. Especially after he rescues adoring young Princess Patma from a captured ship. Meanwhile, Hawke’s secret mission proceeds to an action-packed climax.”

— Gentleman Tim


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