Friday, 18 July 2008

I am in love with Errol Flynn

I am in love with Errol Flynn. So what? He is possibly one of the greatest film stars ever. Now, notice that I said film star, not actor. Actor is too lofty of a word and profession for such a voracious soul. An actor is Lord Larry Olivier, not Errol. I love him from the moment he steps into the screen effortlessly to only leave within seemingly fleeting moments and leave a void deep within the hearts of his audience, be them male or female. He is a hero, he is a lover, he is a man greater than circumstance would allow. He is, even though he has passed on to the other side, abyss or God forbid, damnable hell. He continues to lighten the lives of those whose eyes are blessed enough to see him on the silver screen, home television or even YouTube clip. As all great men, he was and continues to be one of many contradictions… Film star, but not actor. A great lover who attempted marriage and children. Hollywood’s great physical specimen, yet his body was ravaged by malaria and other severe ailments. Politically active, but no one was certain to which side he leant. This man had been charged with Nazism, communism, homophobia, homosexuality, statutory rape, regular rape, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, large alcohol consumption, prolific seduction, white slavery, modern pirating, along with much, much more. He flew to the battlefront of the Spanish Revolution, befriended Castro, dated a 15 year old at the ripe age of 48 and was supposedly buried with five bottles of whiskey.

Every time he winks, smiles or calls Rosalind Russell a tricky wench, I warm up inside. When he begins some blatantly uplifting speech to his men, I fall for every single cliché word. When he finally can steal a kiss from his current on-screen love, I wish that I could have started such a flame, but all I have to work with now is embers.

Many actors have been compared to Errol. Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Sparrow gave him a nod to the swashbuckler, Warren Beatty was described as Errol Flynn but better by Gene Hackman and even a film critic compared the latest Indy Jones as if Errol had taken up his role again to film a sequel to the Adventures of Robin Hood. The main issue with these comparisons is that most claim the newer surpasses the original by far, which is simply not the case, or why else would they compare these men to him instead of Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckler, or John Barrymore, the notorious drunk, or Gary Cooper, the not as publicly noted lothario. It is because Errol Flynn somehow can capture the minds and hearts of all audiences. He is the hero of legend. The only reason that he is not remembered as a great actor is because the studio system would not let him leave his swashbuckling legacy and he was so great in those roles that the public cannot accept him as a comedic romantic lead or thriller villain, but only as the legging-clad Casanova swinging in on a rope to save the day. But how can I blame them? For that is part of me loving him. He is even greater as the years go on, for although commonly compared he can never be matched.


The Adventures of Robin Hood

Never Say Goodbye

Gentleman Jim

Four's A Crowd

The Sea Hawk

Elizabeth and Essex

They Died with their Boots On

Captain Blood