The Uniqueness of Flynn

In this clip, film historian Christina Lane offers her perspective on Errol Flynn’s place within the Hollywood studio system of the 1930s and 1940s. As she points out, the swashhbuckling Flynn was very much the exception at Warner Bros., a studio that specialized in urban themes, gangster pictures, and noirs, and whose other signature male stars included Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (seen here in The Public Enemy), neither of whom would have looked good in Robin Hood’s tights. Indeed, it could be said that Flynn was an exception across the studio system, the only star of his era who successfully pulled off swashbucklers, westerns, and war films.

Christina Lane is a professor in the Cinema and Interactive Media Department and the director of the Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies at the University of Miami.