6 October 2007 | blanche-2
Good documentary on a colorful actor
Errol Flynn has always been grist for story mills - his off-screen life was as outrageous as his on-screen antics, so it's no surprise that a documentary about him appears from time to time on Turner Classic Movies, which owns the Warner Brothers Library.
What made this Flynn story particularly interesting was the input from the family, ex-wives Patrice Wymore and Nora Eddington, and daughter Rory. They described him as a robe and slippers man who loved his home. That may come as a surprise to some people, but you can't booze and womanize 24/7, and it's clear from photographs that he loved his three children. The documentary fails to mention the death of Sean Flynn, probably because it happened after his father's death.
The other element that puts this biography one step above is the interview with Olivia de Havilland, who speaks quite frankly about the attraction she and Flynn had for one another and how the romance was never to be. de Havilland's affection for Flynn, spoken of so emotionally when she was in the U.S. to receive an award at the time of her 90th birthday, is an indication that there was more to Flynn than young girls, drugs, and liquor. The classy de Havilland obviously saw something special in him, beyond the physical.
The film clips from Robin Hood, Captain Blood and Flynn's other films are fun to watch. He was unique in that while other actors did musicals, dramas, comedies and adventure films, Flynn primarily did adventure films throughout his career. He was a tremendous natural athlete with great flair and charm, born to play the Robin Hoods and Captain Bloods. He could have been excellent in comedy, but his attempt didn't catch on. The problem for Flynn was that while others at Warners could act the big roles and play comedy as well as Flynn, no one at Warners was as adept at playing swashbucklers. This frustrated him, as a similar situation frustrated Tyrone Power at Fox, though Power had many more opportunities to do different types of films than did Flynn.
The wonderful thing about this documentary is it debunks Charles Higham's Nazi premise (which had already been debunked) and, as one poster mentioned already, the homosexuality/bisexuality assertion is ridiculous. Flynn's big problem was underage girls. It's certainly possible that he experimented with the opposite sex under the influence - probably everybody did! Why this is considered noteworthy is anybody's guess.
Flynn was embarking on a career as a character actor at his death, and again, like Tyrone Power, he would have been happy with the meatier roles that supporting roles offer. Neither man lived to fulfill that potential. Flynn had a particular heartbreak in a film version of William Tell that was never finished and IRS problems. The end of his life was a sad one for someone with so much charm, beauty and humor.