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NIGHTMARE ALLEY, starring Errol Flynn


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The film, of course, didn't star Flynn. It starred Tyrone Power, a swashbuckling competitor of Flynn's in what many consider to be that actor's greatest performance.

This thread is mere speculation and nothing more as to whether Flynn would have been effective casting as charming, ambitious, cold blooded Stan Carlisle, a con artist ready to take advantage of all the suckers that were ready to be taken.

I strongly suspect he would have been excellent casting because the role of Carlisle would have been close to the actor's own often larcenous heart. Don't forget that, prior to Hollywood, he had lived the life of a roustabout living by the skin of his teeth in Australia and New Guinea. He didn't make much money in honest jobs and was usually either fired or quit. But, as Flynn learned and came to sincerely believe, there was nothing as great as making a dishonest buck. And he often became, as a survivalist with few funds, a scammer, using his charm and quick wits (and,when backed into a corner, fists) to make a buck as he worked and travelled in the south seas and then slowly made his way half way around the world by various ships, with numerous stops and stays along the way, to England.

On one occasion, for example, he decided to make money from c ock fighting in, I believe, the Philippines. He and a buddy would buy a fighting rooster for a handful of dollars then secretively dip the rooster's beak in snake venom just before putting it in the ring with a competitor. The two birds would then peck each other's comb and after the birds had fought for a minute or two the other one would keel over dead from the poison. This went on for some time. Once in a while Flynn and his friend would let their bird lose just so it looked legitimate but they made a small fortune on the streets with their wagers on their birds. It backfired on them one day when, after their bird pecked the other bird's comb, the two birds then warily circled one another for a few minutes without a fight beginning when the other bird suddenly fell over dead. The scam was exposed and Flynn and his friend disappeared while the street wagerers were yelling amongst themselves and soon on the run for their lives catching a steamer just leaving port with an angry crowd behind them.

The point is, scamming rubes, and feeling superior to them in the process, as Carlisle did, would have appealed immensely to Flynn's own often crooked heart. He would have been a casting natural for the role, I feel. Since his statutory rape trial Flynn's public image had changed (he had skilfully played an immoral scoundrel in Uncertain Glory in 1944 in a film that few saw). He would also play an ambitious louse in a western, Silver River, and give an effective performance. Flynn was tired of playing the hero and enjoyed the few opportunities he had to play characters with dark streaks (echoing the duality of his own personality, I'm supposing).

So anyone having any casting suggestions of their own that they think might have worked in famous films?

 

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Although in 1967 he wasn't yet well-known enough to play a lead role, Gene Hackman would have been great as the sheriff in In the Heat of the Night, more authentically Southern and with less acting shtik than Rod Steiger. Of course another prominent film of 1967, Bonnie and Clyde, gave a huge boost to Hackman's career.

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23 minutes ago, TomJH said:

So anyone having any casting suggestions of their own that they think might have worked in famous films?

I always thought Glenn Ford was miscast as the shifty outlaw in 3:10 To Yuma (1957). I felt Robert Mitchum or Richard Widmark would have been great in this role.

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5 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I always thought Glenn Ford was miscast as the shifty outlaw in 3:10 To Yuma (1957). I felt Robert Mitchum or Richard Widmark would have been great in this role.

When I read about the overall story line for 3:10 to Yuma I asked myself why Glenn Ford was cast in the film,  but after I saw it I felt Ford did a very good job (since the outlaw was understated as written).     Mitchum and his type of screen persona would have worked perfectly.      Widmark:  by this stage of his career he had toned-it-down so I can see that working but still not as well as Mitchum.

But one thing I have always pondered was if the roles of Ford and Van Heflin were reserved.     My gut tells me that would have been better casting.    Van Heflin,  comes off as more shifty and devious than Ford.

 

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3 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I always thought Glenn Ford was miscast as the shifty outlaw in 3:10 To Yuma (1957). I felt Robert Mitchum or Richard Widmark would have been great in this role.

I liked Ford in that film  but either of the other two actors would have been interesting casting, I agree.

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Well ya know Tom, I've always said that if only he were Irish instead of French, Marcel Marceau would've been perfectly cast in John Ford's The Quiet Man.

(...okay okay, so I've never said this until now...but now I'll bet you wish I hadn't, huh) 

 

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Well ya know Tom, I've always said that if only he were Irish instead of French, Marcel Marceau would've been perfectly cast in John Ford's The Quiet Man.

(...okay okay, so I've never said this until now...but now I'll bet you wish I hadn't, huh) 

 

Well, with Marceau, at least no one would have complained about his Irish accent.

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Have  Errol  Flynn  replace   Stephen  McNally  as  Dutch  Henry  in  Winchester  73  1950.  Anthony  Mann  would  be  a good  director  for  Errol.  Imagine  seeing  Errol  Flynn  vs  James  Stewart  that  would  sell  tickets  at  box  office.

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10 hours ago, TomJH said:

The film, of course, didn't star Flynn. It starred Tyrone Power, a swashbuckling competitor of Flynn's in what many consider to be that actor's greatest performance.

This thread is mere speculation and nothing more as to whether Flynn would have been effective casting as charming, ambitious, cold blooded Stan Carlisle, a con artist ready to take advantage of all the suckers that were ready to be taken.

I strongly suspect he would have been excellent casting because the role of Carlisle would have been close to the actor's own often larcenous heart. Don't forget that, prior to Hollywood, he had lived the life of a roustabout living by the skin of his teeth in Australia and New Guinea. He didn't make much money in honest jobs and was usually either fired or quit. But, as Flynn learned and came to sincerely believe, there was nothing as great as making a dishonest buck. And he often became, as a survivalist with few funds, a scammer, using his charm and quick wits (and,when backed into a corner, fists) to make a buck as he worked and travelled in the south seas and then slowly made his way half way around the world by various ships, with numerous stops and stays along the way, to England.

On one occasion, for example, he decided to make money from c ock fighting in, I believe, the Philippines. He and a buddy would buy a fighting rooster for a handful of dollars then secretively dip the rooster's beak in snake venom just before putting it in the ring with a competitor. The two birds would then peck each other's comb and after the birds had fought for a minute or two the other one would keel over dead from the poison. This when on for some time. Once in a while Flynn and his friend would let their bird lose just so it looked legitimate but they made a small fortune on the streets with their wagers on their birds. It backfired on them one day when, after their bird pecked the other bird's comb, the two birds then warily circled one another for a few minutes without a fight beginning when the other bird suddenly fell over dead. The scam was exposed and Flynn and his friend disappeared while the street wagerers were yelling amongst themselves and soon on the run for their lives catching a steamer just leaving port with an angry crowd behind them.

The point is, scamming rubes, and feeling superior to them in the process, as Carlisle did, would have appealed immensely to Flynn's own often crooked heart. He would have been a casting natural for the role, I feel. Since his statutory rape trial Flynn's public image had changed (he had skilfully played an immoral scoundrel in Uncertain Glory in 1944 in a film that few saw). He would also play an ambitious louse in a western, Silver River, and give an effective performance. Flynn was tired of playing the hero and enjoyed the few opportunities he had to play characters with dark streaks (echoing the duality of his own personality, I'm supposing).

So anyone having any casting suggestions of their own that they think might have worked in famous films?

 

   Would Have Loved to See Sir Richard Johnson as 007. (No Knock Against Any of the Other Bonds either)

    While on that same train of thought; "Bond Villian" would be RIGHT Up In Vincent Price's Wheelhouse.

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Two of the 5 (!) films that Barbara Stanwyck made in 1947 were Cry Wolf and The Two Mrs. Carrolls.  Her co-stars were Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart, respectively.  In Cry Wolf, Flynn plays the uncle of Barbara's deceased husband.  In the film, Flynn may or may not be menacing.  I've always thought that Flynn was too young to be playing Barbara's uncle-in-law.  Maybe he was her husband's father's kid brother or something.  In The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Barbara plays a woman who gets involved with Bogart, a tortured painter...who is also married and has a daughter. It seems that Bogart's wife is an invalid.  He completes a painting depicting his wife as an "angel of death."  She then dies and Bogart marries Stanwyck.  As the marriage progresses, Stanwyck becomes concerned that Bogart is having an affair with the younger Alexis Smith and then she mysteriously falls ill.   She follows a pattern of being sick, recovering, then getting sick again.  However, her illnesses are written off by the doctor as "nerves."  Eventually, Stanwyck begins to suspect that Bogart is poisoning her, especially when she sees his latest painting--a portrait of her as "the angel of death." 

Anyway, while I think both films are okay and I own both (mostly because I love noir, Stanwyck, Flynn, and Bogart) I can't help but feel like both films would be better had Flynn and Bogart switched roles.  Age-wise, Bogart makes a lot more sense playing the uncle of Stanwyck's husband.  I could buy that.  I can also see Bogart being more outwardly menacing in that film.  Flynn seems more believable as the tortured and psychotic painter.  Since the story takes place in England, Flynn's accent would support the young daughter being the only character in the family with a British accent.   Flynn's good looks would also support his being able to land one woman after another as well, thus making him seem more terrifying as well.

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34 minutes ago, cinemaman said:

Have  Errol  Flynn  replace   Stephen  McNally  as  Dutch  Henry  in  Winchester  73  1950.  Anthony  Mann  would  be  a good  director  for  Errol.  Imagine  seeing  Errol  Flynn  vs  James  Stewart  that  would  sell  tickets  at  box  office.

Jimmy Stewart and Errol Flynn, late 1940s | Errol flynn, Errol, Classic  movie stars

This is the only photo I know of with Stewart and Flynn together. Jimmy had dated Olivia de Havilland for a while around 1940 and Errol was none too happy about it at the time.

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13 minutes ago, King Rat said:

How about Glenn Ford or, even better, Richard Widmark instead of Wendell Corey in The Furies?

How about ANYBODY instead of Wendell Corey in The Furies? He's the charmless anchor in that noir western, as far as I'm concerned. Either Ford or Widmark would have easily been improvements upon him, I agree.

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  Cant Help But think of the few goofballs who were NOT in Its A Mad .. World; that Massive, Zany Who's Who of Comedy.

 

    Danny Kaye. Red Skeleton. Ernie Kovacs (though, Unfortunately. I know why for him.. R.I.P.). Martha Raye. And Perhaps A Very (Very) Small Microcosm of other Humourous Goofs.

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22 hours ago, TomJH said:

The film, of course, didn't star Flynn. It starred Tyrone Power, a swashbuckling competitor of Flynn's in what many consider to be that actor's greatest performance.

This thread is mere speculation and nothing more as to whether Flynn would have been effective casting as charming, ambitious, cold blooded Stan Carlisle, a con artist ready to take advantage of all the suckers that were ready to be taken.

I strongly suspect he would have been excellent casting because the role of Carlisle would have been close to the actor's own often larcenous heart. Don't forget that, prior to Hollywood, he had lived the life of a roustabout living by the skin of his teeth in Australia and New Guinea. He didn't make much money in honest jobs and was usually either fired or quit. But, as Flynn learned and came to sincerely believe, there was nothing as great as making a dishonest buck. And he often became, as a survivalist with few funds, a scammer, using his charm and quick wits (and,when backed into a corner, fists) to make a buck as he worked and travelled in the south seas and then slowly made his way half way around the world by various ships, with numerous stops and stays along the way, to England.

On one occasion, for example, he decided to make money from c ock fighting in, I believe, the Philippines. He and a buddy would buy a fighting rooster for a handful of dollars then secretively dip the rooster's beak in snake venom just before putting it in the ring with a competitor. The two birds would then peck each other's comb and after the birds had fought for a minute or two the other one would keel over dead from the poison. This went on for some time. Once in a while Flynn and his friend would let their bird lose just so it looked legitimate but they made a small fortune on the streets with their wagers on their birds. It backfired on them one day when, after their bird pecked the other bird's comb, the two birds then warily circled one another for a few minutes without a fight beginning when the other bird suddenly fell over dead. The scam was exposed and Flynn and his friend disappeared while the street wagerers were yelling amongst themselves and soon on the run for their lives catching a steamer just leaving port with an angry crowd behind them.

The point is, scamming rubes, and feeling superior to them in the process, as Carlisle did, would have appealed immensely to Flynn's own often crooked heart. He would have been a casting natural for the role, I feel. Since his statutory rape trial Flynn's public image had changed (he had skilfully played an immoral scoundrel in Uncertain Glory in 1944 in a film that few saw). He would also play an ambitious louse in a western, Silver River, and give an effective performance. Flynn was tired of playing the hero and enjoyed the few opportunities he had to play characters with dark streaks (echoing the duality of his own personality, I'm supposing).

So anyone having any casting suggestions of their own that they think might have worked in famous films?

 

I love Flynn and feel that he had latent acting talent. However this was Tyrone’s role from inception to completion. He discovered the book and fought hard to have movie made, molding his own personality to Stan Carlisle. No one else could have played Stan as well as he. That being said, Errol might have been a close second

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31 minutes ago, Judith laucka said:

I love Flynn and feel that he had latent acting talent. However this was Tyrone’s role from inception to completion. He discovered the book and fought hard to have movie made, molding his own personality to Stan Carlisle. No one else could have played Stan as well as he. That being said, Errol might have been a close second

Power deserves all the accolades that he has received (ironically probably more now than during his own life due to the film's inaccessibility then) especially since he begged Zanuck for the opportunity to play Carlisle, thereby making the film happen. Without Tyrone Power there would have been no Nightmare Alley.

However, as I stated in my OP, Flynn was craving the opportunity to play non heroic roles and the character of a con artist was far closer to him on a personal level than it was to Power. Therefore I have a strong feeling that Errol, always underestimated as an actor, would have fully immersed himself in the role and done a wonderful job. His two "rat" performances (Uncertain Glory, Silver River) are both among his best work as an actor, IMO.

With Flynn, sadly, however, it is just speculation while with Power the smooth mastery of his performance is on record for all to see.

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 Flynn's hands-on experience with barnyard animals may have given him a leg up in the role,  but  Power will always be Carlisle to me.  I can't even imagine Bradley Cooper.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Judith laucka said:

I agree that Flynn was so much more than Robin Hood. If only someone saw beyond that crazy man personality that the studio created. Odd but they both admired each other personally. 

Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power

You may have seen this photo of Flynn and Power sharing a dinner together. Looks like a late '40s shot to me, probably around the time of Nightmare Alley. I think this may have been in Mexico. I don't believe the two actors socialized that much but it was Errol who brought Linda Christian (the future Mrs. Power) to Hollywood, of course. That may be Christian sitting beside Power, though I'm not completely certain. I don't know who the lady in the hat is beside Flynn.

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They met up in Cannes. That is Linda beside Tyrone. Interesting but Errol was her acknowledged first romance.  She had her teeth fixed and sent the bill to Errol.  He was not a fan of Linda’s.  Tyrone and Errol both liked each other and occasionally met despite their busy movie schedules 

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Here  is  a  movie  that  would  be  good  for  Errol   and  revive  his  career.  In  Rio  Bravo  ,  Errol  would  work  for  a  great  director  in  Howard  Hawks.  Errol  could  replace  John  Russell  in  the  role  of  Nathan  Burdette.  Errol  Flynn  going  head  to  head  against  John  Wayne,  what  a great  match-up   that  would  be.  The  movie  had  an  strong  cast,  John Wayne ,  Dean  Martin,  Angie  Dickinson,  Rickey  Nelson ,  Walter  Brennan ,  Claude  Atkins  and  Ward  Bond.  

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11 hours ago, TomJH said:

You may have seen this photo of Flynn and Power sharing a dinner together. Looks like a late '40s shot to me, probably around the time of Nightmare Alley. I think this may have been in Mexico. I don't believe the two actors socialized that much but it was Errol who brought Linda Christian (the future Mrs. Power) to Hollywood, of course. That may be Christian sitting beside Power, though I'm not completely certain. I don't know who the lady in the hat is beside Flynn.

5a2bd356e7650c181ef776872cbcfc08.jpg

Pretty sure that that's Errol's third and final wife Patrice Wymore, Tom.

(...married 1950-1959 and his death)

 

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