Posts Tagged ‘errol flynn’

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Tagline – The reckless lancers sweep on and on – so that a woman’s heart may not be broken!

Starring – Errol Flynn (Major Geoffrey Vickers), Olivia de Havilland (Elsa Campbell), Patric Knowles (Captain Perry Vickers), Henry Stephenson (Sir Charles Macefield), Nigel Bruce (Sir Benjamin Warrenton), Donald Crisp (Colonel Campbell), David Niven (Captain James Randall).

Released – October, 1936

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – This motion picture is loosely based on the famous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.

Major Geoffrey Vickers and his brother Captain Perry Vickers are stationed in India with the 27th Lancers of the British Army during the Crimean War. Geoffrey is also engaged to Elsa Campbell the daughter of Colonel Campbell.

Geoffrey and English diplomat Sir Henry Harcourt are away meeting with tribal leader Amir Surat Khan to tell him that the British can no longer provide funds as they had promised. This information angers Khan, but while on a leopard hunt his life is saved by Geoffrey winning his personal loyalty as his anger at the British grows.

Geoffrey returns to Calcutta and learns that, while he was away, Elsa has fallen in love with his brother Perry. This news causes the brothers to quarrel bitterly, but before the problem escalates Geoffrey is sent to battle renegade tribesmen.

After the completion of this mission, Geoffrey moves on to Chukoti where Colonel Campbell and Elsa are not located. Perry has been sent to a nearby base in Lohara. Meanwhile, Surat Khan has been gathering his forces and when Colonel Campbell’s troops are ordered to Lohara on maneuvers Chukoti is left virtually without defense.

Surat Khan attacks and brutally slaughters the inhabitants including Colonel Campbell. Geoffrey and Elsa are spared by Khan as payment for Geoffrey saving Khan’s life. After they flee, Elsa convinces Geoffrey that she truly loves his brother Perry. Geoffrey has no choice but to accept this as fact.

To protect his brother from the next attack, Geoffrey sends him away. Surat Khan has now joined forces with the Russians and Geoffrey is ordered by Sir Charles Macefield, the commander of the British forces in the Crimea, not to attack.

Still enraged by the slaughter at Chukoti, Geoffrey rewrites the orders and leads the Lancers on a death charge against Surat Khan.

NOTABLE: The Charge of the Light Brigade won the Oscar for Best Assistant Director (Jack Sullivan), and was also nominated for Best Music, Score, and Best Sound, Recording.

During the famous charge scene, trip wires were set up on the battlefield to trip up the charging horses. Tragically, depending on which report you choose to believe, 25-200 horses were killed filming this scene. This act of animal cruelty caused the U.S. Congress to enact laws insuring the safety of animals in motion pictures.

A stuntman was also killed during filming, as he fell off his horse onto a broken sword that was wedged in a way that left it’s blade facing upward.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was the second of nine romantic pairings by Warner Brothers for Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.


Errol Flynn – The Swashbuckling Casanova

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.”
                                                       Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn had an memorable presence both on and off the screen that induced a great deal to be both said and whispered about him. He conveyed a dashing and cavalier attitude toward life seemingly unable to remain serious for any great length of time.

Flynn, who was so successful in the action/adventure roles for which he is most associated with, felt trapped by the stereotype his characters created in the early part of his career. His options were few as a Warner Brothers contract player, and as long as the studio made money with Flynn playing these roles, these would be the roles in which he would be cast.

As a young man Errol Flynn developed a contempt for the restrained and conservative life of his father, a distinguished marine biologist, and mother. This contempt led to Flynn running away from his home in Tasmania, surviving through an assortment of odd jobs and petty crime.

Moving to New Guinea he worked as a plantation manager, a hunter, a gold miner, and as captain of a coastal sailing ship. He was also tried for murder after having killed a native who was part of a raiding party that attacked a jungle camp where he worked.

Settling down to start a tobacco plantation, Flynn received a telegraph from a small-time film maker he had met during his travels. He was offered a chance to appear in a film titled “In the Wake of the Bounty.” The film preceded “Mutiny on the Bounty” by two years and provided Errol Flynn with his movie debut.

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Objective, Burma!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Objective, Burma!

Starring – Errol Flynn (Capt. Nelson), James Brown (SSgt. Treacy), William Prince (Lt. Sid Jacobs), George Tobias (Cpl. Gabby Gordon), Henry Hull (Mark Williams).

Released – February, 1945

Directed By – Raoul Walsh

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Objective, Burma! is loosely based on the six-month raid by Merrill’s Raiders during the World War II Burma Campaign.

Capt. Nelson leads a group of Army paratroopers dropped into Burma and assigned to destroy a Japanese radar station that has been detecting Allied aircraft flying into China.

With the help of local guides and a Chinese Army Captain the team successfully take out the radar station and its personnel, believing the hardest part of their mission to be over. No such luck. When the troops arrive at an old air-strip to be used as their pick up point they find the Japanese army waiting for them.

With it now impossible for the rescue planes to land for them, Capt. Nelson has only one option for escape. The men must make a long, difficult trek through the enemy infested jungle. To limit the chance of the men being detected, they split into two groups intending to meet up at a deserted Burmese village.

When the group led by Capt. Nelson arrive at the village they find that their comrades had been captured and decapitated by the Japanese. Once again they are forced back into the jungle in an effort to avoid the enemy with their chances for survival looking very bleak.

NOTABLE: Objective, Burma! was nominated for three Academy Awards – Best Film Editing, Best Writing, Original Story, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

Objective, Burma! was pulled from release in Britain after only one week and banned from future showings. The Burma Campaign was predominately a British and Australian operation and the film, due to its Americanization, was seen as an insult to their efforts.

Though criticized for playing World War II heroes while having no military experience himself, Errol Flynn did make every effort to enlist during the war. He was always rejected due to his health. Flynn suffered from a heart condition, had tuberculosis, malaria, and had a bad back. These health issues were kept quiet by the studios as they felt Flynn’s box office appeal would suffer.

While working on World War II films, Errol Flynn was always his most professional and co-operative as he respected those who served their country.

Captain Blood

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Captain Blood

Tagline – His sword carved his name across the continents – and his glory across the seas!

Starring – Errol Flynn (Peter Blood), Olivia de Havilland (Arabella Bishop), Lionel Atwill (Colonel Bishop), Basil Rathbone (Levasseur).

Released – December, 1935

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By – Warner Brothers, Cosmopolitan Productions

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – It is the time of the Monmouth Rebellion in England, and Dr. Peter Blood has just treated a wounded friend. For this act he is tried, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death.

King James II, believing slavery would be a more harsh sentence than even death, allows for a group of rebels, that include Peter Blood, to be sold and sent to the English colony at Port Royal. Blood is purchased by the beautiful Arabella Bishop, niece of military commander Colonel Bishop.

By chance, Blood sucessfully treats the Colonel for gout earning him the right to become his personal physician. Arabella’s interest in Peter is beyond that of a slave, or even her uncle’s physician. She was attracted to his rebellious behavior and continues to try to do him favors.

Blood, though appreciative, acts rudely toward Arabella and continues to plan an escape for himself and the other slaves. The opportunity for escape arrives when the town is attacked by the Spanish. Blood and the others steal a Spanish ship and embark on a life of piracy.

They wreck havoc on all English ships in the area and when the current governor is unable to capture them, Colonel Bishop is given the job to do so. Before starting this mission he sends Arabella to England for her safety.

Several years pass and Arabella, while returning to the Caribbean, is captured and held for ransom by Blood’s treacherous partner Captain Levasseur. While at Port Royal, the French are attacking. The port has little defense as Colonel Bishop is still hunting for Blood.

Now, only Blood and his band of pirates can return Arabella to safety and save the island from the invaders.

NOTABLE: Captain Blood received five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz as a write-in candidate), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Music, Score, and Best Sound, Recording.

This was the first of nine films co-staring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. They would also team again with Basil Rathbone in 1938’s Robin Hood.

Actor Robert Donat was originally set to star in the film, but was unable due to health concerns. Leslie Howard was the second choice, but proved to be either unavailable or uninterested. Others, including Clark Gable and Ronald Colman, were considered before Warner Brothers decided to take a chance on the unknown Australian Errol Flynn.

Flynn was a notorious prankster and constantly played many on co-star Olivia de Havilland, including placing a dead snake in her underwear.

Errol Flynn and Michael Curtiz would go on to work together twelve times even though the two strongly disliked each other.

Personal Note: This was Errol Flynn’s first swashbuckler, and it made him a star. Captain Blood may just be the best pirate film of all-time with exciting sea-battles, beautifully staged sword-fighting, great character acting, a wonderful musical score, and a tempestuous romance.


Gentleman Jim

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Gentleman Jim

Tagline – This story of heavyweight boxing champion Gentleman Jim Corbett is based on James J. Corbett’s autobiography ‘The Roar of the Crowd.’

Starring – Errol Flynn (James J. Corbett), Alexis Smith (Victoria Ware), Jack Carson (Walter Lowrie), Alan Hale (Pat Corbett), William Frawley (Billy Delaney), Ward Bond (John L. Sullivan).

Released – November, 1942

Directed By – Raoul Walsh

Produced By Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Errol Flynn is terrific as the cocky, light-on-his-feet, 1890’s fighter. In a role said to be his favorite, Flynn’s portrayal of Corbett starts with his early days as a bank teller who saves the day for Judge Geary, a member of his banks Board of Directors after a police raid.

The judge, a boxing fan who is looking to improve on the brutal nature of the sport by introducing a more appealing class of fighter along with adherence of the Marquess of Queensberry rules, takes an interest in Corbett.

Corbett, well-spoken, polished, and possessing great fighting skills, is a perfect candidate for the judge. However, his cockiness irritates some of the upper class of society including the beautiful Victoria Ware, who Corbett is very attracted to.

Winning his early fights, with relative ease, using his scientific boxing skills and fancy footwork, rather than the more common brawling style, has earned him a championship fight with none other than John L. Sullivan.

Can Gentleman Jim win both the championship and the girl?

NOTABLE: Gentleman Jim was the third Errol Flynn film to gross more than $2 million dollars for Warner Brothers in 1942. Big money in those days.

Errol Flynn did all of his own boxing stunts in the film.

Although Flynn portrayed Corbett as confident and arrogant, in real life, James J. Corbett was said to have a quiet personality.