Film Title: Errol Flynn Adventures (TCM Spotlight)
Studio: Turner Classic Movies/Warner Home Video
Silent or Talkie: Talkie
- Errol Flynn
When most people talk about Errol Flynn, they think of swashbuckling and daring adventures. One can hardly hear the name Don Juan or Robin Hood without conjuring images of Flynn gallivanting across the screen. But there was another hero in Flynn, and it was a war hero. During World War II, many studios churned out storylines that echoed the reality of those serving in the armed forces. It was both a show of patriotism and a way of redirecting the anxiety of being engaged in conflict.
In a partnership with Turner Classic Movies, Warner Brothers has released TCM Spotlight: Errol Flynn Adventures. The five-disc set aims to show Flynn at his toughest, systematically battling enemies from the Axis powers while maintaining the charisma and charm of a Hollywood playboy.
There are pros and cons to this collection. Though Flynn is a well-known actor with a versatile career, his star has been highlighted numerous times in recent years. He has already been given two Signature Collections, a Western Collection, and his films have been included in the collections of fellow actors and directors. To date, there are many big stars who were under contract to WB and MGM, such as Edward G. Robinson and Jean Harlow, whose films are sitting in the vaults, having never received a single collection or a fair amount of attention. Some films, which would easily warrant a large release with a restored print and bonus features, are instead pushed through the Warner Archive line. There are films that receive multiple releases in restored, re-restored, and ultimate edition formats, while scores of others collect dust and remain unseen. This is both personal and popular opinion. There seems to be little criteria for determining which films and stars are emphasized other than financial motivation. This is not to say that these Errol Flynn films are undeserving of preservation. They are a part of classic cinema and should be enjoyed. This collection covers Flynn’s career from 1942 to 1945 and includes a good number of extras.
1942’s Desperate Journey pairs Flynn with Ronald Reagan and involves American pilots who are stranded in Germany during World War II and must fight their way to freedom. The film, which depicts the heroes going head-to-head with the Third Reich, went on to gross $2 million for Warner Bros. Bonus features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1942 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage Newsreel, Oscar-Nominated Patriotic Short: The Tanks Are Coming, Musical Shorts: Borrah Minnevitch and His Harmonica School and The United States Army Air Force Band, Classic Cartoon: The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall, and Trailers of Desperate Journey and 1942’s Murder in the Big House. 1943’s Northern Pursuit again throws Flynn in the path of Nazis, as he infiltrates a squad and masquerades as one of them while thwarting their plans.
Bonus features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage Newsreel, Wartime Short: The Rear Gunner, Musical Short: All-Star Melody Masters, Drama Short: Over the Wall, Classic Cartoon: Hop and Go, Trailers of Northern Pursuit and 1943’s The Constant Nymph. 1943’s Edge of Darkness, directed by Lewis Milestone, who also directed the 1930 war film All Quiet on the Western Front, stars Flynn as Gunnar Brogge, a resistance leader fighting in Nazi-occupied Norway while juggling involvement with Karen (Ann Sheridan), the daughter of a local doctor struggling to live under the stressful circumstances. Bonus features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage Newsreel, Musical Short: The United States Service Bands, Classic Cartoons: Hiss and Make Up and To Duck or Not to Duck, Trailers of Edge of Darkness and 1943’s The Hard Way. 1944’s Uncertain Glory stars Flynn as Jean Picard, a convicted killer who escapes the guillotine, only to be recaptured. But instead of being led back to execution, Picard strikes a deal with Inspector Marcel Bonet (Paul Lukas) to let him pose among a group of saboteurs in order to rescue hostages being held by the Germans. Bonus features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1944 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage Newsreel, Musical Short: United States Coast Guard Band, Classic Cartoons: Brother Brat and Russian Rhapsody, Trailers of Uncertain Glory and 1944’s The Mask of Dimitrios. Lastly, 1945’s Objective, Burma! is an Oscar-nominated war film directed by Raoul Walsh. Errol Flynn is Captain Nelson, the leader of a group of Army paratroopers dropped into Burma to locate and destroy a camouflaged Japanese Army radar station that is detecting Allied aircraft flying into China. This film was remade six years later as Distant Drums (1951) with Gary Cooper, Richard Webb and Arthur Hunnicutt and set in the Florida Everglades. Bonus features include: Commentary by Historians Rudy Behlmer, Jon Burlingame and Frank Thompson, Warner Night at the Movies 1945 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage Newsreel, Joe McDoakes Comedy Short: So You Think You’re Allergic, Classic Cartoon: A Tale of Two Mice, Trailers of Objective, Burma! and 1945’s Pride of the Marines.
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