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That Forsyte Woman


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"That Forsyte Woman" aired last night on TCM and I DVR'd it and watched it tonight.


My thoughts:


1) I thought it was called "That Forsythe Woman" and saw the title pop up on TCM and thought: "Ugh! TCM spelled the name of the movie wrong." Then I was looking up trivia about the movie on imdb and realized that it was spelled without the 'h.' Haha


2) Wow. It was interesting to see Errol Flynn in such an against type role and with grey in his hair no less. I can imagine that at 40, he would have some greying, but MGM probably added the grey temples to make him look more "distinguished."


3) Flynn did a fantastic job playing the cold hearted, controlling husband. For whatever reason, even though he's being a jerk to Greer Garson, I feel bad for him. I don't know why.


4) Robert Young. Just no. If he's supposed to be young and engaged to Janet Leigh, he is just not doing it for me. He looks older than Errol Flynn who I assume is supposed to be the "old" stodgy one of the family. (I just looked him up, he *IS* older than Flynn!) Also Young's hairstyle, wig, toupee, or whatever it is on his head, looks terrible. They should have cast someone younger like Peter Lawford... or I would have maybe brought in Robert Cummings (even if he's the same age as Flynn) because he looks so youthful all the time... I don't know who would be good but not Robert Young.


5) I cannot believe that Greer Garson would choose Robert Young over Errol Flynn! Why? Is she blind? Even slightly aged, he still looks good and infinitely better than Robert Young. I was okay with her being with Walter Pidgeon. He's no Errol Flynn but better than Robert Young.


6) I missed seeing Flynn flash his gorgeous smile. I think he only smiled once the whole movie. But it worked I suppose because his character was so miserable because there was finally something that he couldn't buy.


7) Overall, it was a good film. ***/****

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That Forsyte Woman is one of those handsomely mounted MGM costume dramas so dripping in studio "good taste" with it sumptuous colour photography, lavish Victorian sets and costumes that it is almost suffocated by it.


The film is slow and rather stodgy, in my opinion, with the only real reason to watch it being Errol Flynn's interesting attempt to play against type, as a cold pillar of Victorian society who remains unloved as he alienates a wife that he treats like a possession and for whom he is incapable of reaching out emotionally.


Flynn was excited at the propect of being loaned to Hollywood's most luxurious studio and play a role so different from the heroic ones for which he was renowned at his home studio. And it's understandable that a man who desired to prove himself as an actor would ask to play the role of Soames Forsyte, rather than the more conventional part of the lover (played by Robert Young).


And because of that acting challenge and opportunity the actor was on his relatively best behaviour while working at MGM, getting along beautifully with co-star Greer Garson (much to the surprise of many anticipating a clash).


I think his performance is interesting because it shows that Flynn was capable of a greater range as an actor than his heroic image had allowed him. However, I have never felt that this performance was quite the success hoped for, due to script imitations, and I have to wonder just how much assistance director Compton Bennett provided Flynn in a role so different for him from any before.


The actor had been, in my opinion, far more effective in his two previous efforts at Warners, Silver River and Adventures of Don Juan. In both films Flynn had impressive opportunities with good script material (including some of the wittiest dialogue of his career in Don Juan), and he worked effectively with directors Raoul Walsh and Vincent Sherman on those two projects, helping to flesh out those characterizations with some of his best work.


Nevertheless, That Forsyte Woman is still worth a look for Flynn's effort, even if the actor is not quite his best. His potential as an actor is on display. It's a shame that upon his return to Warner Brothers he would be given lesser script material as his personal and professional downward spiral became increasingly more apparent.


Flynn's glory days as a great star were over by the end of the '40s, and never would return.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tom, very articulate-I love what you wrote.


On another thread, speedracer & I talked a bit about Flynn's attempts in other genres outside of anything with weapons. We all seem to love this guy and can't get enough of him.


Recently I saw THREE'S A CROWD and NEVER SAY GOODBYE and was so disappointed. I'm sorry to say I think Flynn just couldn't elevate poor material. A "bigger" actor like EG Robinson, John Barrymore or Bette Davis can often pull this off, but Flynn was what? too subtle?


Was it the director? The writing? I don't know. I certainly loved him as a pin-up artist in NSG, in modern clothes, a sophisticate - totally bought it. But that kid was just so awful, he couldn't overcome her influence on the picture.


Tom may remember the long running thread on this forum- several pages on Errol Flynn where many interesting points were made about his life, his career. I just re-read his autobiography last year and enjoyed it completely differently than when I read it at 18.


His appeal is just so enduring.

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TikiSoo, as you may know, I am a Flynn fan, and have long proclaimed him underrated as a talent. Superstar or not, the critics never gave him much credit as an actor, I'm afraid, and it always bothered him (though he claimed otherwise).


Flynn, always seeking an escape from his heroic screen image, pleaded with Warners to cast him in some comedies. They acquiesced on four occasions, each time providing him with questionable script material. I think Flynn clearly shows potential as a light comedian, and there may be isolated moments in his comedies that are amusing but the final results are always mixed.


Flynn himself, at the time of making Four's a Crowd in 1938 (right after Robin Hood) called his role in the film the favourite of his career up to that point. The conniving publicity man he played in the film obviously appealed to the actor's hustler's heart.


Of his comedies, I have always rather liked Never say Goodbye the most, I suppose. A blatantly sentimental marital farce, it does provide Errol with a few amusing moments- the Santa Claus bit in which he runs around the house bleating like a goat is silly but fun, if taken in the right spirit, I feel. And certainly Flynn looks like he's having some fun there. And I also like the moment when he spoofs his own macho screen image by playing an unshaven tough guy (complete with Bogart dubbed voice) getting flipped on his back by a marine who's a lot bigger and tougher than him.


Still, I agree with you about Patti Brady. That precocious little brat gets on my nerves every time I try to enjoy the film.


Flynn's most successful moments on screen played for humour were actually in his non-comedies - the West Point scenes and early courtship scenes of Olivia de Havilland in They Died With their Boots On, many of the scenes of rollicking broad antics in Gentleman Jim and, in a more sophisticated vein, the tongue-in-cheek moments of levity to be found in Adventures of Don Juan. Looking at Flynn in those three productions, I cannot envision any other actor, either before or after him, who could have been his equal in those roles.

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I have watched quite a few of his non-weapon roles now and many of his weapon roles and I can honestly say that I am in agreement with everyone who says that Errol Flynn's talent as an actor was completely underrated. It's unfortunate that he came around when the studio system was in full force. I feel that were he given a chance to freelance, like actors do these days, his career may have taken a completely different path. Unfortunately, he was really only seen as someone who could wield a sword, fire a bow & arrow and shoot a gun with plenty of panache who also just happened to look really pretty while doing it.


From reading his autobiography recently, Flynn actually stated that he didn't like his looks. Not that he had any type of self esteem issues, it was more that he knew that he had been blessed genetically and he resented it as he felt that his looks were keeping him from being taken seriously. In the 50s, when everyone was lamenting that he was letting himself go and that his looks were fading, Flynn wasn't upset.


I must not be as tough a critic as others on this board are about specific films. I found "Four's a Crowd" amusing. Although, I found Olivia De Havilland and Patric Knowles slightly annoying; but not enough to ruin the film for me. I found the relationship and rapport between Flynn and Rosalind Russell funny and interesting. I wish that Warners had put the two of them in more films together. She provided a nice contrast from the slightly docile roles that Olivia De Havilland always seemed to play.


"Never Say Goodbye" was fun. I didn't think the little girl was that bad. She's definitely better than Cousin Oliver on "The Brady Bunch." She was a bit hammy; but I thought the interaction between her and Errol was funny. Especially after she showed him the letters she was writing to the soldier and she was addressing him as "smoochy." The look on Errol's face when he reads that is hilarious. I also thought he and Eleanor Parker made a great looking couple. I was caught off guard when he started singing "Remember Me" to her while they were dancing in the restaurant; but I also enjoyed it.


"Footsteps in the Dark" was fun. It was interesting seeing Errol in a "Thin Man esque" role--even if the movie wasn't as good as "The Thin Man." I liked hearing Errol's hackneyed, clich? Texan accent. There were some plot holes; but overall, the film was a fun departure from the drudgery of the everyday.


"The Sisters" was on recently. I may have watched it twice before deleting it off the DVR. It was nice seeing Errol in a dramatic role and seeing him as a more vulnerable character. I am considering picking this up on the WB Archives collection sometime.


The only movie of his that I've watched that I haven't enjoyed as much is "Another Dawn." If I'm in an Errol Flynn mood (which when am I not?), then I don't see myself popping this film into the DVD player when I've got so many of his other films to choose from that are much better.


I'm sorry I'm so long winded. In short, I feel that had Errol Flynn been given a chance to take on a wider variety of roles in a multitude of genres, I think he would have left a very esteemed body of work-- more so than he has already. Looking at his current filmography, he should be very proud of the film legacy he has left. Had Errol Flynn not fallen into a depression after his unfortunate and bogus rape trial and consequently, ended up allowing his demons to slowly consume him and lead him to a premature death, I think he would have evolved into a very interesting older actor.


Even the great Bette Davis herself dismissed his talents when co-starring with him in "The Sisters" and "Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" saying that he wasn't really anything more than a pretty face and not much of an actor. Years later, when viewing 'Elizabeth and Essex,' she admitted that she was wrong and that he really was a great actor. If that doesn't say something about his talents, I don't know what will.

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>I feel that had Errol Flynn been given a chance to take on a wider variety of roles in a multitude of genres, I think he would have left a very esteemed body of work


I guess that's my beef-he DID play a variety of roles in different genres but they fall flat -not Flynn- but the films themselves. Why do his "other genre" movies fail?

(just the fact we're still talking about him reinforces the assessment that HE is great) I don't mean to be contentious, it's just obviously you are the guys to ask....

Why was he so successful as a swashbuckler and not anything else?


I've never seen DIED WITH BOOTS ON or FORSYTE WOMAN, so there's still some Flynn to look forward to!


Take a look at this page for fantastic stills of Flynn:



I've downloaded & printed the Captain Blood photo with the arches and the Robin Hood picture in the chair. They are high resolution and can be printed as 8x10s-gorgeous!


And I was lucky enough to have seen a Hollywood costume show last year including Flynn's costume from DON JUAN. You got a complete picture of his build & height seeing it on a mannequin-he must have been breathtaking in real life.

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Flynn was in some very good movies where he didn't play a swashbucker.


Take the 9 movies he made with DeHavilland; only one is a swashbucker role (the best adventure picture ever made and RO agrees with me on that). But his two westerns; Boots and Dodge City are very good if not great movies; High production values, solid acting and full of entertainment. Charge of the Light Brigade is a solid picture.


Gentleman Jim is a first rate movie and where Flynn gives his most convincing performance. The Sisters is also a good picture and while a Davis picture Flynn holds his own.

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>Why was he so successful as a swashbuckler and not anything else?


Well, for starters, I don't agree with that statement, TikiSoo. Flynn was also very successful in westerns, as well as war dramas, both commercially as well as artistically. As a matter of fact, he was the only non-American born actor who was consistently accepted by American audiences (at least during his prime years) as a western hero.


Considering the success of his skills in those three different genres, I have always felt that Errol Flynn was possibly the most versatile of all film action heroes.


You say you have yet to see They Died With Their Boots On. Well, you're in for a real treat. I feel there is a greater warmth and gentle humour to be found in Flynn's scenes with Olivia de Havilland here than in any of their previous films together (this was their final film collaboration).


Part of the reason for that is because of the superior script, and another reason is that they were directed in this film by Raoul Walsh, a more sympathetic director than the autocratic (if brilliant) Michael Curtiz. I strongly suspect that Walsh's less tense set probably helped Errol and Olivia to relax and bring subtle nuances to their work in this film that is absent from their Curtiz collaborations.


Flynn's Custer characterization is clearly a highlight in the actor's career. Of course he plays it larger-than-life as an impulsive adventurer, and the film's earlier scenes have much in the way of comedy hijinks when he's a rambunctious cadet at West Point.


As the film progresses, however, and the years of Custer's career evolve, Flynn is completely convincing as he portrays the growing maturity in a man, with strong hints of self destructiveness in his behaviour, adding to his vulnerability. Flynn's impulsive schoolboy antics of the film's first half disappear, as he plays a more contemplative, dignified figure.


Flynn's final scene in the film with Olivia, depicting the departure scene between Custer and his wife, is deeply poignant. Beautifully played with a dignified reserve by both actors (the screenplay indicates that both have a foreboding of his doom), it is a scene that I suspect has produced more tears from members of an audience than any other in Flynn's career.


Years after Flynn's death, when Olivia de Havilland attended a special screening of TDWTBO, she left the screening when the departure scene was about to play. Being the last scene in which the two actors ever appear on screen together, it was too painful a memory for her. I fully understand the lady's feelings, of course. That farewell scene is my favourite of all those these two actors ever shared.


As far as Errol's non-action films are concerned, the results are decidedly more mixed, and not as satisfactory, it's true. As far as his comedies are concerned, Warner Brothers was NOT a comedy studio. They were into adventure films (Flynn's), melodrama and gangster films. Comedy was simply not one of that studio's fortes, and when they did score a success of any kind (ie Life with Father, Arsenic and Old Lace) it was invariably with a stage property that they adapted to the screen rather than anything original.


As I stated in an earlier posting, though, I think that Flynn's light hearted adaptability to screen humour was beautifully captured in a number of his non-comedies, Boots, Gentleman Jim, as well as the deliciously subtle tongue-in-cheek humour of Adventures of Don Juan.


Don Juan was a BIG production, and had numerous script re-writes. Therefore Warners was putting far more attention into the intelligence of the writing in that film than in many of Errol's lesser productions. That is the reason Flynn was allowed to demonstrate an impressive facility with, for my money, some the most clever and witty dialogue of his career in that production.


We lost out as viewers, I feel, with Flynn never being allowed the opportunity either before or after Don Juan to have comedy situations and dialogue quite as delightful as in this production. (Not to mention the fact that, physically past his prime or not, the actor is at his jaded, cynical best as a world weary lover and adventurer).


Most Flynn scholars and fans agree that the actor's best years were his first seven in Hollywood, up to 1942 and the making of Gentleman Jim (Flynn's personal favourite film of his career). However, I might recommend a couple of later '40s efforts, as well, if only for Errol's performances in them.


Both are directed by director/pal Raoul Walsh, which is undoubtedly a contributing factor to their success. In 1944's Uncertain Glory Flynn plays the most immoral character of his career, a petty thief/murderer who indulges in a cat-and-mouse game with the detective who captures him during WWII, trying to convince the latter that if he releases him he will surrender himself to the Gestapo by pretending to be a saboteur, thus saving the lives of villagers scheduled for execution.


Flynn's duplicitous, cynical characterization is so skillful that it is, I suspect, difficult for most audience members to know whether his scoundrel character has reformed or not. Any credibility weaknesses that exist in the characterization rest with the screenplay, in my opinion, not Flynn's performance.


The darker side of Flynn's adventurer screen persona is also explored by the actor and Walsh in a 1948 western, Silver River. Again, Flynn plays a cynic who is out for himself as a power broker in the west, trampling over countless others on the way. The film has an interesting variation of the Biblical David and Bathsheba tale, with Flynn ready to resort to any means to win the wife (Ann Sheridan) of another man.


Flynn is truly wonderful in this underrated film. Not only does he have great rapport with Sheridan (the vulnerability of his character is that he truly loves her and will be lost without her), but he has some strong dramatic scenes with Thomas Mitchell, who plays a drunken lawyer and the moral conscience of the film.


Perhaps you've already seen these films, and have opinions of your own about them. If not, I strongly suggest you give Flynn a look at how good he could be in some of his non-swashbucklers. And the films themselves are pretty impressive, too.

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As usual, a wonderfully written evaluation of Flynn's talent and his abilities to take on a variety of roles. I'm not a big fan of "Never Say Goodbye," but I think "Uncertain Glory" is an underrated film that should be re-evaluated. The interplay between Flynn and Paul Lukas are excellent. I think audiences weren't ready to see him as an anti-hero, but he plays this role beautifully.


By the way, I just saw "Another Dawn" for Kay Francis' birthday. Not a great film, but Ian Hunter sure was dumb to leave Kay behind with Flynn to look after her. At 27, he was one gorgeous creature who could tempt an angel.

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Thanks very much for your gracious comments, rosebette. And I'm glad to see that you are also a fan of the neglected Uncertain Glory, as well.


I'm not that big on Another Dawn, though it's beautifully photographed and has a lovely score by Korngold. Note the massive progress in Errol as an actor from this 1937 production, in which he's charming but a tad stiff and his genuinely moving performance in The Dawn Patrol just a year later.


Dawn Patrol is a full demonstration, just three years after becoming a star, of not only Flynn's growing confidence as a performer but his considerable potential as an actor when he had a more fully developed character to work with, as well as a sympathetic director (Edmund Goulding). He was far more than just a charismatic presence on screen.

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I'm glad to see that others agree with me on Errol Flynn's underrated talent.


"Uncertain Glory" was a great movie. I liked seeing Errol play an anti-hero of sorts, even if it was unclear at times whether he was a hero or a villain. It was a great movie. I had never even heard of it until I was on these boards. Then I was happy to see that I owned the movie as I had recently purchased the Errol Flynn Adventure collection during a 50% off box set sale at FYE.


I may have "Errolmania" and feel that he can't do wrong in his films. There is something about him that is so captivating that I'm able to easily overlook a film's flaws. I feel like he is probably one of the few male stars whose looks overshadow those of his leading lady. I know that I'm more apt to look at Errol than whomever he's starring with.

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It's interesting to see Flynn trying to experiment with his screen image with some of his roles in the mid to late '40s, the two anti-heroes in Uncertain Glory and Silver River, and Soames Forsyte in That Forsyte Woman, not to mention his two 1947 releases, Cry Wolf and Escape Me Never. The last two attempts were less successful and interesting, I feel, than the others.


James, you asked about Escape Me Never, possibly Flynn's most critically panned film and performance of the decade. Certainly the idea of casting him as a "musical genius" living a bohemian lifestyle in the film's early stages seems unusual casting, to say the least.


On the other hand, some have pointed out the striking similarities between Flynn's character and the actor himself. He is a self centred womanizer in the film making the occasional chauvinistic comment who seems to hurt any woman that falls for him.


At one point in the film Flynn says, "I am what the lady poets call a free spirit" to which paramour Ida Lupino responds, "You mean a selfish pig."


At another point Lupino says, "Loving you is the most awful thing that has ever happened to me" and I couldn't help but wonder if a lot of the ladies of Errol's real life relationships didn't feel the same way.


While I've never understood why the critics were quite so harsh to Errol's performance, due to heavy handed script and direction weaknesses, it's not a performance that succeeds, in my opinion. Flynn gets stuck with dialogue like "I've a star to follow, I've always told you, and I must follow it alone."


Having said that, I also think that Flynn is quite good in his earliest scenes in the film. He looks relaxed and has an easy rapport with Lupino (he's certainly a contrast to a rigidly stiff Gig Young sharing those scenes with him).


If anyone comes closest to triumphing over this film's cumbersome screenplay it's clearly Lupino, who gives a sensitive performance. You asked, James, how Flynn and Lupino played together. I think they probably had potential as a screen team but this film ultimately defeats them.


However, there's a moment early in the film in which a smiling Flynn crooks an arm around Lupino's neck, bringing her closer to him then playfully tweaks her nose with his fingers. It seems like such a natural, seemingly spontaneous gesture on his part, almost a reflection of the affection that he had for this actress off screen (after all, they were great friends and possibly even more than that - Lupino was one of only two leading ladies I know of who would attend the actor's funeral).


I can't think of another film in which Flynn made this kind of gesture with a co-star. It's a brief but lovely little moment and I wish that Errol could have had more of them in this disappointing film.


By the way, Escape Me Never has the final film musical score of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's career, and it's quite magnificent. Flynn benefited more than most actors from great musical accompaniment, and this film, otherwise considered one of the low points of his '40s career, is certainly no exception.

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speedracer, you sound like you may have a bit of a crush on the screen Flynn. I can certainly understand why. But even the off screen actor, even with his myriad character flaws, was a fascinating contradiction in so many ways, and a truly unique being.


Even though his self destructive lifestyle would doom him, making him a tragic figure, in my opinion, he had the courage to take life by the balls and thumb his nose at all figures of authority. I think there's something in a lot of us Walter Mittys in the world that admire him for that.


Short as his life may have been, Flynn lived.


As has Flynn's autobiography. To the best of my knowledge, My Wicked Wicked Ways has the quite remarkable distinction (which I never hear anyone ever mention) of being the longest selling show business autobiography in history. That book has now been in existence for 54 years, four years longer than the life it colourfully represents.


Flynn would have been shocked but also proud as punch about that, if he could have known.

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I do have a crush on him. I'm not embarrassed to admit it. I'm shameless about it. Lol.


I read his autobiography. I borrowed it from the library. I had renewed it three times until I couldn't renew it any more. If I had a large chunk of time, I could have easily read his book from cover to cover in one sitting. Each page was enthralling and hilarious. Some say that a large chunk of the book is total hogwash. I imagine that Errol may have exaggerated things here and there; but he doesn't seem the type to lie or try to hide things. I think he says in there somewhere (maybe when he's suing Confidential for libel) that he'll admit to things (no matter how sordid) that are true; but will fight back if the accusation is false. As I approached the end of the book, I dreaded finishing it. You know a book is good if you don't want it to end. I was down to the last 11 pages and actually dragged them out over a few days (even though I could have easily finished it in a half hour or so) because I didn't want it to end.


Prior to reading Flynn's autobiography, my favorite celebrity autobiography was Desi Arnaz' "A Book." Sorry Desi, but you're now #2, Errol is in first place.

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Speedracer, one of Flynn's charms was that he was a great raconteur. (The final afternoon of his life he was telling stories about W. C. Fields and John Barrymore, among others). The problem is that you never really know how much of it is true.


While the actual "facts" supplied in My Wicked Wicked Ways may be suspect in some instances (and there was so much that he left out-aside from fears about law suits, that is) I feel that Flynn talks from the heart in the book whenever he discusses his emotional feelings and internal conflicts. Those diary selections of his included in the book offer great insights into the man who was, to say the least, a complex being.


Steve Hayes, who stayed at Flynn's home for a month in 1949 (writing about it in his two part series Googies-Coffeeshop to the Stars) considered him to be a great guy, though a completely unreliable one. The great thing about Flynn's charm, Hayes writes, was that after friends were let down by him, they would invariably forgive him. It was all but impossible to remain angry with the man (that, of course, definitely excludes first wife Lili Damita, of course, whose lawyers persued him to his grave).


I know what you mean about Wicked Ways being such a good read that you hated it when the book ended. There are some other writings of Flynn also available. There's his first novel, 1937's Beam Ends, a jolly fun fictional piece about a roustabout and his adventures with three friends on a schooner plying the waters around Australia and New Guinea.


There is also his second book from 1946, a far more ambitious and literary effort called Showdown. It doesn't enjoy the same positive reputation as Beam Ends but it does have some lovely descriptive passages by Flynn that still makes it an interesting read, I feel. Both books, particularly Beam Ends, have autobiographical aspects to their tales.


Finally Tony Thomas, a Flynn scholar and friend, has published a slim collection of Flynn's writings, not just selections from those two novels, but also newspaper and magazine articles that he did, in From A Life of Adventure: The Writings of Errol Flynn.


All of these books can be found second hand on Amazon, though you might have to wait for a good price (particularly with Showdown).


Just to give you a taste of the energy and humour of Flynn's writing in Beam Ends, here's how the novel begins:


"Throw it down on top of the bastard!"


The third mate glared down on me while I lay in the coal bunker. "That ought to bring him round," he added sardonically.


He was right. It brought me round. A barrel load of fine coal hurtling down on top of you from a height of ten feet will either bring you round or take you out. Momentarily debating the wisdom of lying there as if nothing at all had happened, a second and somewhat heavier load immediately solved all doubts about that line of action.


Spitting out a mouthful of black dust, I climbed unsteadily up the hatch and advanced on the mate. That gentleman, waiting dispassionately until the right moment, planted his fist solidly between my eyes. The next thing I knew Trelawny was standing by my side, saying, "Drink this, old man."


That, however, was the next morning.


If you like the flavour of that introduction by author Flynn, you'll have to get a copy of Beam Ends to read more.

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I agree about Flynn being a great raconteur. I think that is the main reason why his autobiography is such a great read. None of the anecdotes shared are lame or boring. Each one is hilarious. I could tell though that he was holding back details and such, for example, Hollywood actresses he may have "rendezvoused" with, as I'm sure most of those women were probably still living at the time that his book was published and probably wouldn't want to be included as a sordid detail in his book. He at least showed some class when he held back names. Unlike some other actors/actresses out there who do name names just to sell more copies of their book, i.e. Shelley Winters.


I have heard about his other literary efforts. I tried locating "Beam Ends" and "Showdown" at the library. Alas, they did not have it. My local bookstores within my area did not have it either. I want to obtain copies of both books; but I don't want to spend $100+ on a copy. I know he was an amateur journalist... or maybe he was a journalist since he did cover stories for I believe The New York Times though, I may be wrong on that. He stated that he went to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War.


I was also very impressed with his writing style and vocabulary. It is apparent that Errol was a very intelligent man. He has a very extensive vocabulary. I admit that I used a dictionary to look up a few of his words. There were also a lot of words that I can imagine are either Australian slang words or maybe words that are common in Australian English.


From what I've read, his first wife sounds like the worst. The worst part of the whole thing, is in his book, it sounds that even though he liked her, he didn't want to get married. When describing the whole quickie wedding in Yuma his voice is seeped with feelings of regret and unhappiness. He just married her because he didn't want to hurt her feelings. The fact that she continued to haunt him his whole life makes the whole situation sadder.

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Yes, the marriage to Damita was pretty much a disaster for Flynn. She was a passionate, controlling, extremely jealous individual (not good when your husband is an out-of-control philanderer) with whom Errol had little in common intellectually. Yes, the bedroom activity between the two of them was very hot, possibly even addicting for him, but what a final financial price he paid the rest of his life as a result of that divorce settlement.


However, there is also a strong feeling by many that without Damita's connections (she was good friends with Jack Warner's wife) Flynn might not have had the opportunity of a lifetime to be cast as Captain Blood. Certainly he was able to make the rounds in Hollywood prior to his stardom and start to establish connections thanks to her influence. And the marriage did produce a son, Sean, of whom Flynn was very proud.

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I think the 3 of us have a crush on Errol....he's an exceptional guy.


>My Wicked Wicked Ways has been in existence for 55 years, four years longer than the life it represents. Flynn would have been shocked but also proud as punch


Is there anything better than his distain writing about his wife? "Oh Fleeen" made me LOL every time. His fractured relationship with his parents is certainly believable considering the time period & place. It obviously had a negative impact on him, yet he smiles and sails on! Exaggerated? Maybe, but his point comes across nonetheless & we all connect to his story.


I have requested Gentleman Jim and Errol Flynn Adventures box set from the library based upon recommendations here. Glad there's more Errol out there to see!

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If I had to go with one Flynn performance as my favourite, it would be that in Gentleman Jim.


Never, in my opinion, was Errol more exuberant, more of a swaggering c--k-of-the-walk, a role in which the actor's assertive charm is perfectly in sync with his characterization as an ambitious bank clerk turning boxer and proclaiming to a doubtful world that he will one day be heavyweight champion.


And the film is chock-full of Irish blarney humour. Some regard the humour as a bit corny and certainly stereotypical, at times. Perhaps, but it's also affectionate in nature.


This largely fictionalized account of James J. Corbett, a Gay '90s legendary boxer (who had only died nine years before the film was made) doesn't have a mean bone in its celluloid body. Director Raoul Walsh is in peak form, with both the excitement of the boxing sequences (and, yes, that's really Flynn in the ring there, doing most of the boxing choreography) as well as the broad comedy to be frequently found in the production, as well.


The film also presents an interesting presentation of boxing in the years in which it was an outlawed sport (at one point one of Corbett's fights, staged on a waterfront barge, getting raided by the police).


That waterfront barge fight, by the way, raucous, exciting and funny, with Flynn at one point getting knocked through the ropes of the ring and into the water, is an extraordinary action set piece, in my opinion, with director Walsh and his editor at the peak of their skills.


Flynn's Corbett is a born hustler (a far more extroverted character, by the way, than was the real life soft spoken boxer). At one point an eager Flynn, always on the make for any advantage he can get, charms a hotel clerk into giving him a free cigar.


Flynn lights up the cigar, and the clerk asks him how many of them he has a day.


"Oh," Flynn responds, "Any given number."


He has a burst of laughter at his own comment and quickly walks away. And that moment is a nice illustration the aggressive charm of the actor playing this ambitious hustler. It also captures much of the light hearted infectious spirit of this production.


Aside from Flynn, the film also has one of the actor's best leading ladies in Alexis Smith (with whom he is always verbally sparring, of course), and a pair of classic performances in the supporting cast, from Alan Hale as Corbett's father, and Ward Bond, as the great John L. Sullivan, whose proud boast is that he can beat any man in the world. This may, in fact, have been the performance of Bond's career.


Gentleman Jim has always enjoyed a good reputation as a film. I have always been a bit baffled, though, that more people don't talk about it. It was Flynn's last great star vehicle, I feel, until he played Don Juan six years later.




TikiSoo, after you see Gentleman Jim, I hope you tell us what you think. Is this a great film or what?

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Based on that review alone, I want to watch that movie, like right now. Lol. I have heard of the movie and know that Flynn considered it his favorite role of his career. I haven't seen it however. I want to get the Errol Flynn Signature Collection Vol. 2 box set. I believe Gentleman Jim is in it, along with 'Don Juan.' I have the first volume of his box set. I have also watched bloopers from this film where his trainer (or maybe just some random old man, lol) is giving him a rubdown before his fight and he gets carried away. This rubdown elicits giggling and cursing from Errol-- it was of course, very charming.


Hmm... now over to the barnes and noble website to see how much the vol 2 box set is and to see how cheap I could get it using my coupons and membership... I can't get enough of Mr. Flynn.

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speedracer, the Errol Flynn Signature Collection Vol. 2 is an must for any Flynn fan. Four of the five films in the collection rank among the very best that he ever did, in my opinion, with Errol giving at least three of the great performances of his career: Gentleman Jim, Dawn Patrol and Adventures of Don Juan.


And Charge of the Light Brigade, his fourth great film there, is a terrific piece of blood 'n thunder adventure, with one of the great action set pieces in film history as the movie's horse falling, canon blasting climax. Since you read Flynn's book, I'm sure that you remember he complained about the treatment of the horses on this film to the American Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society. Flynn was a lifelong animal lover.


Knowledge that many horses had to be destroyed as a result of the climax of this film is a painful reality. That still doesn't mean it isn't a genuinely rousing piece of action filmmaking, though, among the best that Hollywood ever produced.










Fans are always referring to how great Robin Hood was. This collection of DVDs proves that there was far more great adventure and romance to be found in Flynn's career than in just that one film.

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Thank you. I haven't made it over to bn.com to peruse the movies yet; I've been distracted by other threads on the message board. When I procure this box set, I know I'm going to love each and every film included. I think this also includes a film with Flynn and Fred MacMurray correct? "Dive Bomber" I believe it was it is called. I love Fred MacMurray (not in the same way I do Flynn though) so I think that sounds good as well.


I remember reading Flynn's disgust with how the horses were treated during the filming of the film. It endeared me to him knowing how vocal he was about it and that he lodged a complaint. It sounds like "The Charge of the Light Brigade" was quite the eventful film shoot. I think that was also the film where Flynn put a snake in Olivia De Havilland's panties as a means to tell her that he had a crush on her (Errol, what are you 12? Just tell her. If she's anything like me, I know that I wouldn't turn you down!) and the prank backfired. Isn't that also the film where a friend was impaled on his sword right in front of him? Or was that "They Died With Their Boots On?"

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>Isn't that also the film where a friend was impaled on his sword right in front of him? Or was that "They Died With Their Boots On?"


speedracer, it has been well documented (including by stunt man and Flynn pal Buster Wiles) that there was a terrible accident during the filming of They Died With Their Boots On in which a stunt man lost his life when his horse stumbled, he threw his saber clear, the saber landed hilt up on the ground and then went straight through his body when, incredibly bad luck, the stunt man landed on it, dying in hospital soon afterward. (Wiles was the man who rushed him to the hospital).


But when Errol wrote about it in his book he named a different stuntman in a different film, Charge of the Light Brigade. Unless there was a similar incident in the earlier made production, as well, I suspect that Flynn got his stuntmen and titles mixed up when he was talking about it with ghost writer Earl Conrad. (In case you didn't know it, even though his name is nowhere to be found in the book, Earl Conrad was Flynn's ghost writer on My Wicked Wicked Ways, helping him pull the book together).

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"Even the great Bette Davis herself dismissed his talents when co-starring with him in "The Sisters" and "Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" saying that he wasn't really anything more than a pretty face and not much of an actor. Years later, when viewing 'Elizabeth and Essex,' she admitted that she was wrong and that he really was a great actor. If that doesn't say something about his talents, I don't know what will."


No, Davis never stated that Flynn was a "great" actor, but she did allow that she thought he was quite good in the part. Coming from Davis, especially when one considers how adamant she was in wanting Laurence Oliver as Essex, that constitutes a rave review.













"I thought it was called "That Forsythe Woman" and saw the title pop up on TCM and thought: "Ugh! TCM spelled the name of the movie wrong." Then I was looking up trivia about the movie on imdb and realized that it was spelled without the 'h.' Haha."


Robert Osborne obviously thinks it's "Forsythe," too, as that's how he kept pronouncing it throughout his introduction and closing comments. Somebody's GOT to start correcting that man.

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