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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Radio 4 documentary (Sat 9th 10.30 am) about Errol Flynn in his final year spent mainly in Cuba, called Robin Hood and the Cuban Revolutionaries

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Thanks for the heads up

  3. #3
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    This sounds like an absolute cracker - here are the Radio Times details:



    Patrick Humphries tells the little-known story of Errol Flynn's final year, much of which he spent in Cuba, filing reports to Hearst newspapers and producing two Cuban-based movies. One of the leading Hollywood stars of the time thanks to his roles in a series of swashbuckling epics, Flynn found himself at the epicentre of the Cuban revolution. He spent time with Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains and went on to record the revolution in the documentary film Cuban Story, in which he is seen alongside Castro and Che Guevara.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    name='Lord Brett']This sounds like an absolute cracker - here are the Radio Times details:



    Patrick Humphries tells the little-known story of Errol Flynn's final year, much of which he spent in Cuba, filing reports to Hearst newspapers and producing two Cuban-based movies. One of the leading Hollywood stars of the time thanks to his roles in a series of swashbuckling epics, Flynn found himself at the epicentre of the Cuban revolution. He spent time with Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains and went on to record the revolution in the documentary film Cuban Story, in which he is seen alongside Castro and Che Guevara.


    I didn't know that. Doesn't sound like someone who would have been spying for Hitler.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    There's an article on the BBC website about this.





    Errol Flynn's Cuban adventures



    By Patrick Humphries

    Presenter, Robin Hood and the Cuban Revolutionaries



    Newspaper articles written by film star Errol Flynn documenting his last years spent in Cuba with Fidel Castro's rebels have been unearthed in a university library.



    Mention the name of Errol Flynn, and an image of a larger-than-life, swashbuckling screen hero comes to mind. Or the sly grin of a sexual athlete who sparked the saying: "In like Flynn."



    But towards the end of his life, Flynn was at the epicentre of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution.



    It was a surprise to discover the famous actor moonlighted as a newspaper correspondent who wrote a number of articles about his adventures.



    His features "Me and Castro" and "I fought with Castro" for the New-York Journal American remained unread for 50 years, buried in the archives of the University Of Texas at Austin's Center for American History.



    I have always been a fan of Flynn's films and believe he was a far better actor than he gave himself credit for.



    Errol Flynn was cinema's biggest star from the mid-30s until the late 1940s, thanks to his debut in Captain Blood and a series of swashbuckling epics such as The Sea Hawk, The Dawn Patrol and The Adventures Of Robin Hood.



    But even I was unprepared to find the man who was a screen idol as Robin Hood to a generation of movie-goers in the company of revolutionary pin-ups Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. But, ever the hero, he admired those who fought on others' behalf.



    Flynn wrote that he spent five days with Fidel Castro in the mountains

    I was surprised to find there was a serious side to Flynn - he sympathised with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, and set off for Spain "to follow in Hemingway's footsteps" in February 1937.



    While in Madrid, Flynn condemned the fascist General Franco. He was shelled, survived an aerial attack and narrowly avoided being machine-gunned by an over-enthusiastic Republican.



    Errol's daughter Rory Flynn said the public image of her father did not accurately reflect the man who wrote two novels, an autobiography and newspaper reports.



    She said: "It is said that he was a swashbuckling hedonist, but my father was a serious man.



    "He thought about things, he wrote books, he wrote poems and he wrote documentaries, this is not just something that came about.



    "He wrote for the Hearst (news)papers. I think underneath it all, he was a journalist."



    Flynn had been a regular visitor to Batista's Cuba, where the dictator welcomed distinguished tourists, drawn to the island for its brothels and legalised gambling.



    By the time he returned to the country in late 1958 with his teenage girlfriend Beverly Aadland, a lifetime of hard-living had taken its toll, and roles were hard to find - although ironically, during the dog days of his career, Flynn gave two of his best-received performances - The Sun Also Rises and The Roots Of Heaven.



    Flynn claimed Castro invited him to Cuba at the very dawn of the revolution.



    Beverly Aadland said: "Errol had talked to Hearst newspapers in New York about interviewing Castro, and through some contacts in the 'Havana Hilton', went up into the Sierra Mistra mountains to talk to Fidel."



    Beverly was installed at the capital's prestigious Commodore Hotel, while Flynn went off to the mountains with the rebels, spending five days with Castro and interviewing him.



    In his articles, he described how Fidel Castro told him that "no American knew him or his brother Raul better than I did" and how he gave Cuba's leader lessons in public speaking.



    Castro is quoted as saying to Flynn: "I feel that the citizens will know who you are... and it will cheer them to know that someone from the United States, whom they perhaps have seen on the screen, is interested enough to come and see them."



    Flynn also reportedly had a brief encounter with Che Guevara, who did not recognise the bloated and faded film star when they met.



    In other articles he described gun battles and how he was shot in the leg. He also witnessed Castro's swearing-in as president in February 1959.



    But Flynn was criticised for spending time with the rebels, and had to defend his allegiances.



    He wrote: "Ever since boyhood I have been drawn, perhaps romantically - to the ideas of causes, crusades."



    Beverly said she felt he did not realise Castro would go on to be a Communist.



    "I think he was a hero-worshipper, and I think Errol thought that Castro was a good guy trying to free the country for everyday citizens. I guess Castro fooled him too," she said.



    Cuban exile and author Carlos Eire said: "At that point when Flynn was there, Castro's policies were purely democratic. His goal was to remove Batista and stabilise the nation politically.



    "For a Hollywood actor who has played Robin Hood, could there be any more sort of perfect matchup than Fidel in the mountains fighting against a corrupt dictator?



    "Fidel Castro and his men knew how to work the publicity machine, and there was freedom of the press.



    "This is one sign of how inefficient Batista's repression was, basically if any foreign journalist or big star like Errol Flynn wanted to go and end up in the mountains, they'd end up there."



    Flynn was impressed with the vigour of the revolution, and was behind two films made in Cuba at the time.



    Looking bloated and ill, he starred alongside Beverly in Cuban Rebel Girls, in what turned out to be his final film appearance.



    'Pathetic swansong'



    But the film was panned as "a truly pathetic swansong to a mighty career" by critics.



    He also appeared in the documentary he made, Cuban Story, which was a far more substantial piece, and in hindsight, has become one of the key accounts of Castro's revolution.



    In the last months of his life, Flynn was beset by financial woes and ill health, his third wife Patrice Wymore wanted to divorce him and he was being sued.



    He died in Vancouver, aged 50, on 14 October, 1959, where he and Beverly had travelled to sell his beloved yacht Zaca to try and pay off some of his debts.



    Errol Flynn's life was one of contrasts - a star who wanted to be an actor; a legendary hedonist who wanted to be taken seriously as a writer and a man who deliberately placed himself in the heart of two revolutions.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Errol Flynn died 50 years ago today







    Here's to you Errol - still the greatest film star that ever lived.



    "He was all the heroes in one magnificent, sexy, animal package. I just wish we had someone around today half as good as Flynn." - Jack L Warner.




  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: Australia wadsy's Avatar
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    name='SirOllyBolly']Errol Flynn died 50 years ago today







    Here's to you Errol - still the greatest film star that ever lived.



    "He was all the heroes in one magnificent, sexy, animal package. I just wish we had someone around today half as good as Flynn." - Jack L Warner.







    Totally agree !!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: England billy farmer's Avatar
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    Errol Flynn is one of my favourite Movie Stars and he has always been in my top 5 of all time favourite Movie Stars, he was great in many films playing memorable characters like Robin Hood, George Armstrong Custer and Don Juan.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK Dadwasinflame's Avatar
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    Can anybody point me in the direction of a Good biography there are loads of amazon but no idea which are crap and which are not

    cheers

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: England waldo_lydecker's Avatar
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    You should avoid the Charles Higham one. Like other dodgy books by him, it makes all kinds of dubious claims without any real evidence.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: Ireland Edward G's Avatar
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    Agree that Flynn was way more complex than the pigeon-holing popular media gave him credit for.
    Who could forget his delivery of the "Welcome To Sherwood, My Lady" line from The Adventures Of Robin Hood" or his charismatic turns in "Captain Blood" or "They Died With Their Boots On".

    Waldo, what's your opinion of Flynn's own autobiography "My Wicked Wicked Ways"?
    Would that not be a good place for Dawasinflame to start?

    Great value DVD compilation with 6 superb films here : Errol Flynn Collection 6 Disc Captin Blood, Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, They Died With Their Boots On, Dodge City, Dive Bomber DVD: Amazon.co.uk: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill, Basil Rathbone, Ross Alexander,

  12. #12
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    Does anyone have a copy of the Flynn radio programme 'Robin Hood and the Cuban Revolutionaries'? I have been trying to get hold of this for ages now.

  13. #13
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    You should avoid the Charles Higham one. Like other dodgy books by him, it makes all kinds of dubious claims without any real evidence.
    His book 'Trading With The Enemy: The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949', written in 1983, was denounced as hype at the time. We now know that he was spot on with that book.

    The notorious Flynn biography?. I have read it several times, and it is certainly an interesting book. Leaving the Nazi allegations aside, it certainly shows that if not a Nazi, then he was frankly a coward, who tried everything humanely possible to avoid military service in Australian, British and American uniform. Flynn had no intention of going to Australia or here to help fight the war. This at a time when British, Canadian and Anglo-American actors were putting their careers on hold to fight.

    Higham shows that he submitted forms for military service exclusion straight after Pearl Harbour. Ironically, his rather debauched lifestyle left him with a 4F category unfit for active service. Higham also shows that Flynn was so selfish that he wouldnt even do USO tours until forced in 1943, and even then it was in Alaska. And even then he bitched and moaned about having to do it. He also avoided even the safe at home celebrity drives for War Bonds etc and again had to be forced to do even one celebrity appeal.

    So no, he may not have been a Nazi.

    But he damn sure was no patriot or hero either.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Australia wadsy's Avatar
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    I read he was declared 4F because of his recurring bouts of Malaria which he first contracted in Papua New Guinea way before his

    acting career! He was also turned down by the Army & Navy in 1942 because of an "Athletic Heart" which had caused him to collapse

    while filming "Gentleman Jim"!

    If he was such a coward why would he put his life at risk by going to Spain during the civil war?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    The point is that he was submitting deferment forms as early as 16 Dec 1941, just nine days after Pearl Harbour. And had shown no interest in the plight of Britain or his native Australia from 1939-41. As I said, when he did do his medical in Feb 42, everything was rendered moot as he was deemed 4F, but the evidence shows that he was trying to avoid service straight off the bat, when he and no one knew his health status. Compare that to a David Niven, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Robert Montgomery. And as I pointed out, Higham's book shows that he frankly couldnt be bothered to do even safe USO tours and Liberty drives.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England
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    I don't have 'Robin Hood/Revolution' darkavenger but do have the brilliant BBC Radio 2 programme 'William Tell The Lost Epic'...lots of anecdotes and interviews with Flynn's agent and friends.I say 'brilliant' because it was Produced by me and written by Steve Archer!
    Film Man.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the offer Film Man but I have the William Tell programme and yes, it was brilliant. I wrote to Steve Archer in regards to the programme a few years ago but never received an answer.

  18. #18
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    I have 'William Tell The Lost Epic' too. I recorded it when it was first aired.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: England billy farmer's Avatar
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    A very interesting Documentary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13mW7vQKIKQ

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Ireland Edward G's Avatar
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    Billy,
    Is this documentary included on any of the DVD film releases of Errol Flynn?

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