Category: Errol Flynn

Flynn Meets Fidel

Flynn biographer Thomas McNulty (Errol Flynn: The Life and Career) discusses the improbable meeting between Flynn and Fidel Castro in late 1958. Flynn was in Cuba to cover the revolution for the Hearst newspapers and joined Castro just as the rebels were preparing their final push toward Havana. In this excerpt from his interview, McNulty recounts a particularly memorable moment between the two men, when Flynn must have felt he was looking at a real-life version of his younger swashbuckling self. The encounter between Flynn and Castro has inspired at least one novel (Boyd Anderson’s Errol, Fidel, and the Cuban Rebel Girls) and serves as a backdrop in the upcoming narrative film The Last of Robin Hood (starring Kevin Kline as Flynn). While we look forward to the latter, we don’t need fictional license. The real story is unbelievable enough.  

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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.

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Actors and Aliens

Actors and Aliens

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the release of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), the National Archives at Riverside — which maintains thousands of federal records from Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, Nevada — has published the naturalization records of the film’s two leads, Errol Flynn (Robin) and Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian).

We reproduce them here as a reminder that Golden Age Hollywood, so adept at exporting American culture around the globe, was an immigrant community, from the Eastern European moguls who founded the studios, to the German emigre directors of the 1930s and 1940s, to numerous other continental types who found work in front of and behind the camera.

Note, by the way, Flynn’s stated profession of “actor-author.” He wrote three books: Beam Ends (1937; an autobiographical account of his sailing exploits), Showdown (1946; an adventure novel), and My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959; considered by many to be the classic Hollywood autobiography). And, of course, there were his journalistic stints, including his coverage of the revolution in Cuba.

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Flynn’s Last Fling

Flynn’s Last Fling

Errol Flynn’s Ghost is inspired in part by a story that writer-producer Gaspar González penned for Cigar Aficionado magazine in 2007. Titled “Flynn’s Last Fling,” it chronicled Flynn’s Cuban exploits, from filming the noir crime thriller The Big Boodle in Havana in 1956 to his real-life role as the only American correspondent with Fidel Castro when the revolution triumphed on New Year’s Day 1959.

Read  “Flynn’s Last Fling.”

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An Unlikely Observer

An Unlikely Observer

In 1958, Errol Flynn, his screen career mostly behind him, traveled to Cuba as a war correspondent to cover the advance of Fidel Castro’s rebels on Havana. As he always had in the movies, he ended up in the middle of the action — side by side with Castro, as dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country.

Errol Flynn’s Ghost will chronicle this little-known episode in the life of Hollywood’s most famous swashbuckler, while delving into a related, equally overlooked phenomenon: the proliferation and cultural impact of Hollywood movies in Cuba from the earliest decades of the 20th century.

Weaving together film history, cultural analysis, and the real-life adventures of this legendary leading man, Errol Flynn’s Ghost will make an important contribution to our understanding of U.S.-Cuba cultural relations.

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Errol Flynn’s Ghost

Errol Flynn’s Ghost

Errol Flynn’s Ghost: Hollywood in Havana is a new documentary film examining the cultural impact of American movies in mid-20th century Cuba. As Errol Flynn’s Ghost will show, to be Cuban in the mid-20th century required active engagement with — and negotiation of — American westerns, gangster films, and swashbuckling epics. This project is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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