Friday, September 5, 2014
The release of actor Kevin Kline's new biographical movie about the aging Errol Flynn (1909 - 1959) entitled The Last of Robin Hood brings to mind the charismatic matinee idol's long and entertaining career. He was heartbreakingly handsome as well as immensely talented despite a breezy exterior that may have made it seem as if he didn't take his gift seriously. He certainly didn't take himself very seriously, living life with a gusto and perpetual wanderlust that made his off-screen antics surely as memorable as anything he played in the movies.
Those antics belied the other side of Flynn, the side that loved the sea, science, politics and lots of other things besides drink and romance. He was a fascinating guy, a man's man and also a lover of the ladies, lots of them, right down to his final romance depicted in The Last of Robin Hood.
Here's the trailer to the new film. Honestly, Kline is a bit too old for the role even considering Flynn's rambunctious lifestyle and slight dissipation; Flynn still looked pretty darn good even though he looked older than his actual age. And one thing that no actor can match is the twinkle in Flynn's eyes, but Kline tries::
Towards the end of his career TV came along and provided him with a few more chances to perform, though he had surely spent the best years of his life already and looked older than he should have. But the Flynn charm never left him and the audience goodwill he had accumulated over the past twenty years of film stardom kept his name alive, that and the scandalous aura that remained from his rape trial in the early forties.
In 1952 Flynn -- hard to believe he's only 43 years old here -- guest-starred on an episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour:
In 1956 Errol lent his name to and served as host on the dramatic anthology series The Errol Flynn Theatre which ran for 26 half-hour episodes. (He also starred in two of the episodes):
In June of 1947 he appeared with former co-star Ann Sheridan -- they had starred together on the big screen in Dodge City, Edge of Darkness and Silver River -- John Ireland and Julie London in a Playhouse 90 western entitled "Without Incident":
In early 1957 he made a couple of appearances on variety series The Steve Allen Show, including this comedy sketch spoofing contemporary game shows:
In March 1957 he was one of the panelists on the popular game show What's My Line?:
In December 1957 he was the Mystery Guest on What's My Line?:
Errol Flynn became involved in the Cuban Revolution. In January of 1959 he was a guest on Canada's Front Page Challenge where he was interviewed about his experiences with Fidel Castro (if the video doesn't show up please click on this link):
The plot of the new movie The Last of Robin Hood deals with this period in Flynn's life, when he took up with much younger actress -- jailbait, in fact -- Beverly Aadland and they appeared together in Flynn's last movie Cuban Rebel Girls and on TV on The Red Skelton Show (no clip available, alas!):
He also lent his presence to a documentary Cuban Story: Truth about Fidel Castro Revolution which disappeared after its Moscow premiere in 1959 and finally resurfaced in 2001, It was his last screen appearance:
As for Flynn's very last personal appearance anywhere, here's a weird little story from Canadian TV:
I highly recommend reading about Flynn and watching his classic films -- he's magic, unlike any other movie star and simply the best of the best.