Posts Tagged ‘olivia de havilland’

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.

httpv://youtu.be/cIa6tTy40AY

A Brief Film History Timeline – The 1940’s

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Part 3 – The 1940’s 

This is the third of a four-part film history timeline highlighting some selective moments from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

The 1940’s were a decade that brought with it the paranoid fear of communism, the beginning of the end of the “studio system,” a new film genre, and the threat of television to the motion picture industry.

1940From Great Novel to Great Motion Picture – John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” has been brought to the screen with brilliance by John Ford.

Set during the Great Depression this powerful story focuses on the life and hardships faced by migrant workers in, what can only be described as a life without a future. This film would stir up a great deal of controversy with its appeal for justice and freedom from oppression.

1941A New Film Genre Thanks To A Little Black Bird – The wonderfully dark and mysterious genre of Film Noir is created with the production of “The Maltese Falcon” directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart.

This first major work of Film Noir would permanently imprint the profile of the “hard-boiled detective,” and the genre that would captivate generations of film fans for all time.

1942Popular Actress Carole Lombard Killed – American actress Carole Lombard, most noted for her roles in classic 1930’s comedies, was killed in a plane crash at the age of 33.

She will be remembered as one of the greatest stars of all time and the highest-paid actress during the late 1930’s and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the classic comedy “My Man Godfrey.”

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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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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.

httpv://youtu.be/ELzgYTAqO14

They Died With Their Boots On

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

They Died With Their Boots On

Tagline – Scene After Scene Of The Most Exciting Adventure Every Screened!

Starring – Errol Flynn (George Armstrong Custer), Olivia de Havilland (Elizabeth Bacon), Arthur Kennedy (Ned Sharp), Charley Grapewin (California Joe), Anthony Quinn (Crazy Horse).

Released – January, 1942

Directed By – Raoul Walsh

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – The life of George Armstrong Custer is told from his early days at West Point, his experiences in the Civil War, and his ultimate fate at Little Big Horn.

Flynn portrays Custer as a dashing, fun-loving figure who prefers honor and glory over money. Corrupt politicians have brought about an Indian war in order to gain their land. With the lives of all white settlers in the area at risk, General Custer and his men make their valiant last stand in order to prevent the slaughter.

NOTABLE: They Died With Their Boots On was the last of eight films pairing Errol Flynn with Olivia de Havilland and proved to be one of the highest grossing films of the year.

Usually portrayed as the last to die at Little Big Horn, Custer may have actually been one of the first killed.

During the battle of the Little Big Horn only 16 of the extras were actually Native Americans; the rest were Filipino’s.

Personal Comment: Despite historical inaccuracies, this is a very enjoyable film due to the huge appeal of Errol Flynn in just about any kind of action adventure lead role. One fact that was accurate was Custer’s sympathy for Native Americans and his dislike of President Grant’s Indian policy