29 December 2005 | documain-1
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in his best role!
For some reason, this film is not available for purchase anywhere. Strange, since so many worthless products are easy to locate. It is sad that this movie is so disregarded, in that this movie is Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.'s best performance. You could argue that Gunga Din is a better movie, and that is true. Still, Fairbanks' performance as O'Flynn far outshines his work in Gunga Din. He holds together a slim plot line, and has some of the wittiest dialog you will ever find in a movie. O'Flynn's character is a charmer, loved by men and women, and somewhat of a con man. The dialog has many nice touches. For example, O'Flynn knocks unconscious one of the French soldiers (Henry Brandon), who later gets the drop on O'Flynn. In an off-hand remark, O'Flynn says to the Frenchman, "You must have a terrible thick skull." A great touch. Perhaps because Fairbanks was the producer and wrote some of the screenplay, we are getting more than the run of the mill swashbuckler. His pursuit of the almost painfully prim Lady Benedetta (Helena Carter) is full of poetry, romance, and charm, and she even remarks that his words are "
very nimble and very Irish." The supporting cast are all veterans, and good performers. Aside from Helena Carter, Richard Greene portrays excellently the weak and corrupt Lord Sedgemonth. Arthur Shields and J.M. Kerrigan provide great repartee in the lighter moments. Patricia Medina is great as Lord Sedgemonth's paramour, Fancy Free, who "only likes the good life," and says the Lord Sedgemonth must do the right thing by her, "
give me money." Add to this a remarkably good musical score, and you have a great and entertaining movie. It is obvious that this film suffered from a small budget, since it was shot in black and white, and if nothing else, this film screams for color. Perhaps it could be looked upon as a lesson on how to do more with less. Fairbanks, in this film, is every bit of the "presumptuous popinjay" he is accused of being by Richard Greene. You could hardly spend a better 94 minutes.