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TomJH

Zorro and Don Juan - A Great Swashbuckling Double Bill

338 posts in this topic

I've always thought that Don Juan has one of Flynn's best performances. He's charming and dashing, of course, but he also brings a world weary cynicism to the part (that was a reflection of the actor when he played the role). And another thing, the man could play humour on screen. You're going to be hard pressed to find another actor who would be more of a natural fit for the part and bring it so much justice.

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*clore wrote: It's theorized that because WB had reissued three earlier Flynn adventures to great success, that this, and the "Adventures of" part of the title, may have caused audience confusionIt's theorized that because WB had reissued three earlier Flynn adventures to great success, that this, and the "Adventures of" part of the title, may have caused audience confusion*

 

Don Juan was popular in Europe but a disappointment in America at the box office. As a result, the budgets on Flynn's subsequent films at the studio were slashed. This was the last great star vehicle of the actor's career.

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I suppose that could be a plausible reason for the box office results of the film, clore, however it seems even the film critics and historians often fail to give Flynn AND the movie itself its proper due.

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> In the meantime, I am helping ensure that this thread remains the number one Popular Discussion on this forum. Probably because I am a *magnet* and people want to read what you and I are saying about swashbucklers, male and female.

 

Yeah. Right. What an ego. Considering the fact that you decided to "hijack" this thread early on with your concerns about female swashbucklers. Give me a break.

 

Of course what do you expect from someone who has started 235 threads on the General Discussion Forum alone. Pretty amazing huh?

 

And you joined the message boards in May of 2011. Of course most of your threads appear on this forum. On Hot Topics you have "only" 32. I did not see much on the other forums, but I did not really look.

 

And I am just stating "facts" here through some basic research that took about twenty minutes.

 

I have no problem when posters start a lot of threads. But do you know that clearly over half of the threads you have started have no or very few responses to them?

 

I wonder why that is? Could it be that you are not as much of a magnet as you seem to think you are? Just curious.

 

Oh, and one last thing. You do comment on a wide variety of threads here at TCM City. *Sometimes your thoughts are well presented and thought provoking*. However whenever anyone actually comes on one of your threads and starts commenting on other "things" you too reply to them to go back to the original post or thoughts that you started the thread with. Just as TomJH has done on his thread here.

 

Eventually though somehow whenever anyone challenges you, what do you do? You resort to commenting on how you think they are bullying you or that they are being unfair and that all of the arguing back and forth needs to stop because your belief is that the thread will get shut down. This is needless on your part.

 

No need to cry wolf at his suggestions or pleas to go back to the main topic. You cry wolf all the time on your threads. But I guess when someone has such a big ego it is hard to do a self assessment of themselves. Just my opinion.

 

Oh, and I guess if I get a response from you here I will be branded as being rude, right?

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Dargo, I've always been mystified as to why Adventures of Don Juan doesn't have a bigger reputation.

 

If it doesn't have as much action as some other swashbucklers, then surely it has ne of the wittiest screenplays which, along with the gorgeous sets, costume and music, make it a special, as I said before, more sophisticated film than most others of the genre.

 

And for a man who was technically past his prime, Errol Flynn gives a heck of a performance in the lead.

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While admittedly a notch or two below what had been before, I must confess to having a personal fondness for THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE. While the budget is skimpy, the use of actual locations gives the film a refreshing look, a more natural atmosphere, and Jack Cardiff's camera makes the most of it.

 

Certainly Roger Livesey makes a nice replacement for the deceased Alan Hale, and the only negative that I have for the film is that it could have used a better villain. Jacques Berthier just isn't up there with either Henry Daniell or Robert Douglas let alone Basil Rathbone. Still, it's a much more enjoyable film for me than his other 50s swashbucklers, although I've yet to see CROSSED SWORDS

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>I've always been mystified as to why Adventures of Don Juan doesn't have a bigger reputation.

 

I think it hides out in the shadow of ROBIN HOOD. Even CAPTAIN BLOOD is overlooked, because it too is dwarfed in popularity compared to ROBIN HOOD. Only THE SEA HAWK seems to have as sturdy a reputation.

 

Meanwhile, I think Ty's Zorro, legendary as he is in that role, does not seem to overshadow THE BLACK SWAN, which I happen to like better.

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>I must confess to having a personal fondness for THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE. While the budget is skimpy, the use of actual locations gives the film a refreshing, a more natural atmosphere, and Jack Cardiff's camera makes the most of it.

 

I agree. Cardiff's presence behind the camera automatically raises the value of any swashbuckler.

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> And for a man who was technically past his prime, Errol Flynn gives a heck of a performance in the lead.

 

I think you hit it on the nail. Flynn was according to many critics way beyond his prime. The physical toll of alcohol and smoking was really beginning to take it's toll on the man. I feel bad for the actor since his Adventures of Robin Hood is my favorite film of all time. It is a shame to see him go down hill so fast after the war years. But had he taken better care of himself he might very well have been able to do with his later career as has Harrison Ford has been able to do with his over 50 career.

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clore, I completely agree with you about Master of Ballantrae. Jack Cardiff's photography makes the film a special treat. It's Roger Livesey who brings the film its greatest sense of fun, playing the Irish soldier-of-fortune who picks up with Flynn and becomes a friend. Flynn, while he clearly looked older and rather grim (it's a far cry from his Don Juan performance) is also quite good in the title role. If Don Juan was his last outstanding film, then Master was his last good one.

 

As far as Crossed Swords is concerned, there is a beautiful, although edited, version of it available here:

 

http://gozillaflix.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21&products_id=3

 

This film also has lovely colour photography by Cardiff and its screenplay is a deliberate attempt to emulate the tongue-in-cheek flavour of Adventures of Don Juan, a film which was a big hit in Europe, if not in America. It's an Italian production into which Flynn sank some of his own money, and it bombed at the box office. This DVD version is English language though you can tell that everyone is dubbed, except Flynn. Even Gina Lollobrigida is dubbed, even though you can see by her lips that she was speaking English.

 

I wish I could say that the film itself is good but the script is pretty lame, and some of the action scenes are really missed opportunities.

 

On the other hand, this film has Flynn's last light hearted performance (a real contrast to Master of Ballantrae) and his final duel in the film is surprisingly effective. While you can see that Flynn is doubled in a few shots of the duel, he still got himself into reasonably good shape (again, he had money invested in the production) and is clearly trying to give his fans a show.

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSkNTFCh8Ttskw-K85lTiz

 

Errol and Gina in Crossed Swords. Flynn looks grim in this shot but he actually does a lot of laughing in this film, trying to give fans a taste of the Flynn they hadn't seen in years. Too bad the film didn't have a decent script or director. But it's a good looking production and the final duel is the last time on screen that Flynn would give a decent athletic demonstration of his prowess with a sword.

 

 

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*If people have no interest in discussing your interjections, just drop it and move on. Threadjacking is a boorish move at the best of times. Lecturing people on how to respond is just as bad. Doing so and claiming you're being bullied by the responses you get? People in glass houses and all that. *

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Wow, $29.95 for CROSSED SWORDS? I don't want to see it that badly. I'm on a budget, and that is more than I've ever paid for a single title. Heck, I got the TCM set of his four WB classic swashbucklers for eleven bucks and this was the four-disc set, not the two-disc flipper set.

 

But thanks for the tip, they do have some other titles that fit my budget. That's the good thing about having a want list that's about a thousand titles long and few "preferred" items - I can usually find something that I desire within my budget.

 

I didn't have my DVD recorder when TCM aired THE WARRIORS / THE DARK AVENGER. Not exactly the best way for Flynn to say good-bye to the genre, but for its being his final "epic" it does have some value and I'd like to have it for that reason. Hopefully it will be rescheduled and we'll have a reason to resuscitate this thread. I have seen it several times and while it may not have a Jack Cardiff behind the camera, Guy Green was no slouch in that department and he was no stranger to the genre either.

 

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Topbilled wrote:

> I am helping ensure that this thread remains the number one Popular Discussion on this forum. *Probably because I am a magnet ...*

 

That would account for all the iron filings clustered about you...

 

Geeze, I'm glad this thread got back on topic.

 

I too think *The Adventures of Don Juan* is underrated. I also like *Master of Ballantrae*. But, *Captain Blood* will always be my favorite Flynn film. I love it's grittiness, it's themes of slavery and political revolution, great cast, and great cinematography. I'd also add a plug for *Roots of Heaven*, made late in Flynn's career, and he's just a supporting actor. It's far from perfect, but the film seems to come from the heart, and has a stellar cast, and John Huston directed.

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I am surprised that BALLANTRAE does not air more often on TCM. It really is one of his best efforts from the 1950s, with the possible exception of his great work in THE SUN ALSO RISES.

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Valentine, Captain Blood is a particular favourite of mine, as well. Along with Robin Hood, it carried on a Warners tradition of expressing concern for plight of the oppressed.

 

Isn't it interesting to see the subtle but apparent differences in Flynn's characterizations in his four big swashbucklers.

 

In Captain Blood his character is bitter, in Robin Hood laughing and ebullient, in The Sea Hawk a reserved courtly gentleman, and in Don Juan a world weary cynic. I think he's outstanding in all four films (surprisingly so in Captain Blood, considering his inexperience as an actor).

 

But I have a very special fondness for Errol Flynn's work as Don Juan. By this stage of the game Flynn had become that cynic you see on the screen but his increase in drinking had been, unfortunately, combined with narcotics. Yes, although Flynn initially thought that no drug could ever rule him, he did become a junkie.

 

Yet the skill of his work as the Don amazes me. There's a greater subtlety, I think, than there had been years before in the other three swashbucklers. Yes, he's physically past his prime but there seems to me to be more of a sense of depth to his performance, the flair that he showed with his line delivery and facial responses to those tongue-in-cheek moments of humour, coupled, of course, with the larger-than-life dramatics and conviction that he could bring to a swashbuckling role. But Don Juan really was a kindred soul to his in many ways, and I think he brings that to his characterization.

 

By the way, the lady in the carriage at the end of the film that Don Juan pursues on horseback was Nora Eddington, Flynn's second wife. Their marriage was a rocky one, and they would be divorced around the time of the film's release. They did manage to get over the bitterness afterward, however, and Nora and Flynn managed to be on quite friendly terms again in the years prior to his death.

 

Said Nora of her former husband, "The only time he wasn't living was when he was asleep, and even then I think he dreamt well."

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}

> Isn't it interesting to see the subtle but apparent differences in Flynn's characterizations in his four big swashbucklers.

>

> In Captain Blood his character is bitter, in Robin Hood laughing and ebullient, in The Sea Hawk a reserved courtly gentleman, and in Don Juan a world weary cynic.

 

Very interesting observation of the contrasts. That had never occurred to me.

 

Probably some here will remember that for many years, the only version shown of *Captain Blood* was 99m long, not the 119m film we see today. I still remember seeing the complete film for the first time. It was a revelation. I particularly liked the pirates' pact, and the payment schedule for various injuries.

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I remember a friend and I rushing home to watch ROBIN HOOD on his new color TV in 1966.

 

It was aired in black-and-white using the WB reissue print.

 

A year later I paid to see a revival of THE AFRICAN QUEEN when Bogart mania was at its height. The print was in black-and-white and I demanded my money back. They balked until I came back with a newspaper with their ad indicating it was a Technicolor film. I said that I'd call the paper to let them know about the deceptive advertising and that I'd stand by the boxoffice warning other potential patrons..

 

They gave in - but I called the paper anyway.

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}

> They gave in - but I called the paper anyway.

 

Good for you! That stank...

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Yep, in NYC at what is now the Cinema 1 2 3 on Third Avenue and 59th Street.

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I remember them well, spent my youth there! That block used to be Cinema 1 and 2, which were Rugoff theaters; and the Baronet and Coronet, which were Walter Reade theaters. Cinema 3 came later, as a subdivision, probably of 1 or 2. The older Cinema 3 was in the Plaza Hotel (but not the Plaza or Paris theaters, which were different).

 

My favorite classic film/rerun house in NYC was the old Theatre 80 St. Marks. The projection and prints were pretty bad, but the place was run with such love of classic films that it was ok. Of course there was also the Elgin, Thalia, etc., but the ramshackle Theatre 80 was a special place.

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I didn't get to the Theatre 80 St. Marks too often, but it certainly was a cozy place. Being an old speakeasy, it was just the place to see Depression-era films which was probably what I saw most there.

 

Of the revival theaters, I do have a particular fondness for the Elgin. The Thalia and New Yorker were grander for sure, but I guess it was the times of the day that I would go there. They were practically empty, it was somewhat depressing to be among the few attending a revival.

 

The Elgin was usually more crowded and when you're in your teens, looking at films from the 30s and 40s, you kinda want to know that you're not the only one interested in such things. It was also easier for me to get to from Ridgewood, just take the Canarsie line to the last stop and walk a couple of blocks.

 

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{font:Times New Roman}TomJH: Thank you for starting this thread. I watched *Don Juan* all the way last night for the first time and agree with much of what you said. It leaves me feeling sad that I’m seeing the beginning of the decline of an actor I enjoyed in so many movies.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman}If you watched the documentary about the *Zaca,* Flynn’s boat, and the scientific expedition his father and he went on, you can see it there as well. He narrated it and in certain sections you could barely understand what he was saying as his speech seemed slurred. This was sad because he seemed to really understand how important this work was and proud to be a part of it. The shots of him with second wife Nora were charming but strangely must have been not long before their divorce-and I thought that was her in the carriage at the end. Also his hair was long for that era which he said was because of an upcoming movie, I thought it might be *Don Juan*. I wondered if he might have had a more productive and happier life had he gone into another line of work than films.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman}He does look much older than he did just a few years before in *San Antonio.* The movie seems almost autobiographical which makes it painful to watch. The color, costumes, and sets are a feast for the eyes - maybe the best color picture since *Robin Hood, -* the script is humorous and the performances on target but it still leaves me grieving for a life and career going nowhere but down. {font}

 

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}About the ladies: That was Mary Stuart as Catherine in the beginning. Of course she went on three years later to become Joanne for 35 years of *Search for Tomorrow* and be the first soap performer to get an Emmy nomination along with prime-time actresses. I don’t know if she did other movies but scored in this one.{font}

 

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}I realized Viveca Linfors was Katie’s Hollywood friend in *The Way We Were* but could hardly believe that was twenty-five years later. In *Don Juan* she had one of the most elegantly beautiful faces I’ve ever seen yet you felt her inner turmoil. I almost want to cheer when she stands up to de Lorca and faces her coming death with such grace and dignity. Of course she gets rescued but the scene still shakes you. She must have taken care of herself because in 1973 she was older than Flynn when he died but looked years younger than she was.{font}

 

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}I’m glad I watched but doubt I will again.{font}

 

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}*Zorro* is a comic and adventure delight with wonderful performances, music score and story. I too love the chapel scene. Diego obviously wants to be the answer to her prayers but respects her being a lady. It is humorous as well as romantic. They are a contrast to el Captain and Inez who deserve each other. Then again so do her corrupt husband and she. They get theirs going back to Spain in disgrace. I also wish there had been Technicolor but it’s still a great movie. {font}

 

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}I could not stay up for the other three films. *Cyrano De Bergerac* is on my must see list. I’ve seen *Raiders of the Seven Seas* and nobody missed much who didn’t except for the color costumes. I never have *At Sword’s Point* but might just to have an answer to TopBilled.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman}I too am proudly female and lived through the “womens’ movement”. We gained and lost in the process. I think this issue has been blown way out of proportion in this thread by one overly radical person who needs to let it drop as she has civilly been asked to do. Gentleman and any other ladies who are in on this I’m with you; if I end up dodging flames tossed my way that’s okay. I will now shut up.{font}

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