Title: The Errol Flynn Signature Collection Vol. 2
Silent or Talkie: Talkie
Warner Brothers has released the Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2. Voted the 26th Greatest Movie Star of all time, Flynn is often associated with swashbuckling adventures and romance. The films in the set are as follows: The Adventures of Don Juan (1948), Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Dawn Patrol (1938), Dive Bomber (1941) and Gentleman Jim (1942). This set follows Warner’s fantastic Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 1.
The Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
Flynn stars as Don Juan in this classic tale of love and intrigue! Set in the 17th Century, Don is on the run from an angry husband when he and his friend Leporello (played by Alan Hale) are intercepted by soldiers waiting for a Spanish Duke. Juan poses as the Duke and learns that he is to be married to Lady Diana (Helen Westcott). When the real Duke appears, Juan is arrested with Leporello and set for deportation. Before returning him to Spain, Count De Polan (Robert Warwick) gives Juan a message for Queen Margaret (Viveca Lindfors) and requests that he assist in thwarting a war between England and Spain. Juan returns to a broken country and fights off a group of soldiers sent by Duke de Lorca (Robert Douglas). This makes him a certified hero. Duke de Lorca does not give up that easily, however. After Queen Margaret suggests that Juan become a fencing instructor at the Royal Academy, de Lorca offers him a position as well, which Juan refuses. This rejection angers de Lorca. Juan professes his love for Queen Margaret, but when she refuses him, he returns to his Casanova-like ways. Fantastic sword-fighting and excitement make this a must-see for Errol Flynn fans! The tag line says it all – History’s Boldest Lover … Most Daring Swordsman!! Special features include: Commentary by director Vincent Sherman and historian Rudy Behlmer, Warner Night at the Movies 1948: Vintage newsreel, Oscar-nominated Joe McDoakes comedy short “So You Want to Be on the Radio,” Oscar-nominated travel short “Calgary Stampede,” classic cartoon “Hare Splitter” and the Trailer.
Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
Errol Flynn is Major Geoffrey Vickers, who along with Sir Humphrey Harcourt (E.E. Clive) pay a visit the Amir Surat Khan (C. Henry Gordon) to inform him that his funding from the British government will be discontinued. The Khan is disappointed and angered, but after Vickers saves his life, the two become friendly. Vickers returns home to find that his wife has carried on an affair with his brother Perry (Patric Knowles, who would go on to star with Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood). The two brothers fight relentlessly until Geoffrey is sent on a few more missions, one of which leads him to meet back up with his wife Elsa (Olivia de Havilland) and brother Perry. Elsa confides to Geoffrey that she has fallen in love with Perry. In the midst of an ongoing battle, Geoffrey succeeds to his brother for the love of Elsa and protects him by sending him away from the fighting, which is lead by the Khan’s minions. Geoffrey flies into rage over the killing of Col. Campbell (Donald Crisp) in battle and leads a revolt against the Khan. Geoffrey and the Khan fight to the death in a riveting final sequence that holds the viewer to the edge of their seat! An interesting bit of trivia: During the filming of the charge sequence, a stunt man was killed when he fell off his horse and landed on a broken sword that was lying on the field where the charge was being shot, and was unfortunately wedged in such a position that its blade was sticking straight up. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1936 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage newsreel, Oscar-winning drama short “Give Me Liberty”, Comedy short “Shop Talk” with Bob Hope, Classic Cartoon – Boom Boom, Oscar-nominated travel short “Calgary Stampede,” and the Trailers of The Charge of the Light Brigade and 1936’s Anthony Adverse.
The Dawn Patrol (1938)
This remake of the 1930 feature of the same name stars Errol Flynn as Capt. Courtney, an officer at odds with Maj. Brand (Basil Rathbone) over Brand’s lack of sensitivity for the inexperienced pilots he commands. Brand’s dictator-like attitude has caused a number of rookie flyers to perish. Courtney and his friend Lieutenant Scott (David Niven) deal with the young pilots’ deaths by drinking a toast in their honor and singing before returning to their regular routine of thrill-seeking. A German flyer taunts Courtney and Scott, which prompts them to bomb the enemy camp after stealing two planes. This infuriates Maj. Brand, but he forgives the two men once he learns that they have completely wiped out the German camp. Brand’s sudden promotion leaves Courtney with the position of squadron commander, which he soon learns is too difficult to undertake. In his frustration, he begins to drink uncontrollably. Before long, a fresh crop of new pilot recruits arrive with Lieutenant Scott’s younger brother Donnie (Morton Lowry). Courtney becomes obsessed with his duties, and in his distraction, sends Donnie to his death. Lieutenant Scott places the direct blame on Courtney and volunteers for a suicide mission, as his brother’s death has riddled him with depression. Courtney instead takes the mission himself as a way to right his wrongs. For this 1938 film, the filmmakers needed several shots of the planes taking off and landing. They assembled a squadron of 17 vintage WW1 aircraft, most of them Nieuports. Flying them proved just as hazardous as in WW1. By the time filming ended, stunt flyers had crashed 15 of them. One of the Nieuports used in the movie is now on display at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker Alabama. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1938 Short Subjects Gallery: Vintage newsreel, Musical shorts “The Prisoner of Swing” and “Romance Road”, Classic Cartoon – What Price Porky?, and the Trailers of The Dawn Patrol and 1938’s Four’s a Crowd.
Dive Bomber (1941)
Flynn is Lt. Douglas Lee, a naval doctor who recommends immediate surgery for Swede Larson (Louis Jean Heydt), a pilot who crashed his airplane over the waters of Hawaii. Larson is part of a trio of pilots who share a close friendship, the other pilots being Joe Blake (Fred MacMurray, three years before his memorable role in Double Indemnity) and Tim Griffin (Regis Toomey). Larson does not survive the surgery, which causes Blake and Griffin to be hostile towards Lee. Blake later becomes a flight instructor, and when Lee enrolls in the flight surgeon’s training program, Blake is less than enthused. Lee also has slight difficulty with Lance Rogers (Ralph Bellamy), the senior flight surgeon. After learning that Rogers can no longer fly due to medical issues, the two men become friends. Lee graduates and joins Rogers in San Diego to assist him in researching. Lee volunteers as a test pilot in order to devise a way to prevent pilots from blacking out while diving in flight. Lee and Rogers solve the problem shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, Rogers grounds Tim Griffin from flying, a warning which Griffin ignores and is subsequently killed during a flight for the Canadian branch of the Royal Air Force. Lee and Joe Blake reconcile after Griffin’s death and the two work together to develop a flight suit, which combats the effects of flying at high altitudes. Together, they test their suit but another tragedy soon ensues. One of the pilots who flew the planes in the film footage was Navy Lt. Edward “Butch” O’Hare. O’Hare served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific and shot down five Japanese planes in his first battle, earning ace status and the Medal of Honor. O’Hare would go on to down 12 planes total and become one of the top heroes of the war before he was killed in action off the Gilbert Islands in November, 1943. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago was later named for him. Special features include: New featurette – Dive Bomber: Keep ‘Em in the Air and the Theatrical Trailer.
Gentleman Jim (1942)
As with the rest of the set, Gentleman Jim is a story about fighting. This time however, the fighting takes place in the boxing ring. Errol Flynn is Jim “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, a bank employee who is busted during a raid on an illegal boxing match along with Walter Lowrie (Jack Carson). Judge Geary (Wallis Clark), a member of the bank’s board of directors is also caught in the raid. Because boxing has been banned, Geary arranges for boxing matches to be held at the Olympic Club. Jim and Walter think they are going to be fired when they see Geary enter the bank the following day. Geary is actually there to thank Jim for his discretion about the illegal match. Jim meets Vickie Ware (Alexis Smith) at the bank and is taken with her. He accompanies her back to the Olympic Club where they have lunch. Vickie gives Jim a tour of the club, and when he does some impromptu boxing in the gym, he manages to impress the trainer. Jim becomes a member of the club, which boosts his ego to radical heights. The other club members are turned off by his attitude, so a boxing match is arranged between Jim and Jack Burke (Art Foster). Jim defeats Burke and a celebration ball is held afterwards. Jim’s old friend Walter gets drunk at the ball and is asked to leave. Jim leaves with him out of loyalty, and the two men wake up hung-over in Utah the next morning. With no money, Jim has no choice but to box enough to earn the fare back to San Francisco. He wins his matches and turns professional after a series of victories. His newfound fame brings him a lot of money, and he moves to an upscale neighborhood. His ego continues to grow. Vickie grows impatient with Jim’s smug attitude, but anonymously puts up the money for him to fight John Sullivan (Ward Bond), the heavyweight champion. She hopes that Jim will get beaten and lose his pride. Instead, he wins and is surprisingly gracious. Vickie is impressed and the two eventually marry. Errol Flynn did all of his own boxing stunts in this film, and although production was shut down for a time after Flynn suffered a mild heart attack, he came back and finished the picture without ever using a double. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1942: Vintage newsreel, Sports Shorts “Shoot Yourself Some Golf” with Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman and “The Right Timing,” classic cartoon “Foney Fables”, Trailer and an Audio-only bonus: radio show adaptation with Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, and Ward Bond.
The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2 is a fitting tribute to a man who left his mark on film, despite dying at the young age of 50. Flynn’s last words are said to be: “I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Thanks to this wonderful set, we can continue to enjoy Flynn’s larger-than-life adventures for years to come!
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