Errol Flynn in his autobiography said he never understood his popularity in westerns. He never felt he was suited for them in the way Johnny Wayne was (that's right, that's how he referred to the Duke), but that he went with the flow at Warner Brothers.
In addition to giving Flynn technicolor and his favorite leading lady Olivia DeHavilland, Warner Brothers gave him a script with an Indian attack, a wagon train, a saloon brawl, a cattle drive and the usual results when at the end of a cattle drive the cowboys start celebrating and one blazing railroad train. Lots of western clichés, but served up very well indeed.
Bruce Cabot the town boss of Dodge City and henchman Victory Jory make some big money in many ways by keeping the town as rough and wild as possible. These two guys are pretty standard villains for westerns, but they play it with style.
Since this was Flynn's first of eight westerns, Warner Brothers felt it necessary to explain his Aussie accent by saying he was an international soldier of fortune from Ireland. Later westerns wouldn't even bother.
The climax involves Flynn, DeHavilland, and Alan Hale in a burning railroad car shooting it out with the bad guys. You can see it a hundred times and still be thrilled with how our intrepid heroes deal with their situation.
Mention has been made before of the saloon brawl. Possibly one of the biggest filmed on screen. Stock footage was used from it for years in subsequent Warner Brothers films.
Olivia DeHavilland hated this when it was first being made. She was trying at the time to escape playing the crinoline heroine to Errol Flynn and other stars. In truth that's what she is here. She fought for and eventually got the roles worthy of her talents.
But she related on an interview I saw with her that she was at a revival of this and of Robin Hood and seeing both of them again some forty years later and commenting on how well the audience responded, she felt a pride in the work she did. As well she should.
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