Errol Flynn: Signature Collection, Vol. 2 [5 Discs]: AMG Review

  • The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), MPAA Rating: NR
  • The Dawn Patrol (1938)
  • Dive Bomber (1941)
  • Gentleman Jim (1942), MPAA Rating: NR
  • The Adventures of Don Juan (1949)

    The Charge of the Light Brigade
    The film that cemented Errol Flynn's reputation as the most dashing leading man in Hollywood, The Charge of the Light Brigade is a notoriously inaccurate recounting of a key battle in the Crimean War. It's very loosely based on the famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson that recounts the battle of Balaclava, in which Russian resisters swamped the British. It depicts the charge as the outcome of an old grudge against an Indian leader who has joined the Russians. Most of the film takes place in India and involves a battle for the affections of a character played by Olivia De Havilland. An extremely popular and successful film, this 1936 Hollywood production was directed by the famed Michael Curtiz, whose second wife married Flynn. A sweeping and monumental piece of entertainment despite its inaccuracies, this Charge of the Light Brigade was superior to a 1968 British version. Curtiz would go on to direct Casablanca. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

    The Dawn Patrol
    The Dawn Patrol is a good example of how a remake can improve on the original version. John Monk Saunders's Oscar-winning story provides a solid basis for the efforts of screenwriters Seton Miller and Dan Totheroh. Though director Edmund Goulding stays safely within the guidelines of the war genre, Dawn Patrol shows the varying attitudes of the aviators toward combat, and particularly toward enemy pilots. Complementing the material is a star-laden cast led by the charismatic team of Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone, and featuring solid supporting work from David Niven, Donald Crisp, and Melville Cooper. Brought to the screen with Warner Bros.' customary high production values, Dawn Patrol provides an excellent showcase for its stars, representing another winning entry in Goulding's prolific career. ~ Richard Gilliam, Rovi

    Dive Bomber
    No reviews available.

    Gentleman Jim
    As usual when making a biopic, Hollywood played fast and loose with the facts in Gentleman Jim -- but for once it hardly matters. Jim doesn't get the facts right, but it captures the spirit of the times and presents a title character who is totally captivating. Naturally, the actor playing that part -- the famous Errol Flynn -- deserves a great deal of credit for the success of the film. Rarely have actor and role been so well suited; Flynn fits the part like a glove, boxing or otherwise, and he dominates the film as Corbett dominated the boxing ring. Brash, cocky, and feisty, Flynn is not afraid to let his Corbett border on the boorish; yet he also has an innate classiness and nobility that are essential to the character. Equally important, Flynn has the necessary physical characteristics and the sheer charisma that the role demands. Graceful and agile, yet clearly capable of delivering a devastating left hook, Flynn's work in the fight scenes is glorious. The success of those scenes, and of the film as a whole, must also be shared with director Raoul Walsh, whose work is exemplary. He brings energy and verve to the proceedings, but also takes the time to show the man behind the fighter and the world to which he has allegiance. The screenplay is extremely well structured and packed with verbal sparring that rivals the physical matches. And the supporting cast, from Alexis Smith's marvelously disdainful love interest to Ward Bond's blustery yet sensitive Sullivan, are a delight. Gentleman Jim is a sports film that even non-sports fans should enjoy. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

    The Adventures of Don Juan
    Accompanied by trusted sidekick Alan Hale and an appropriately lush Max Steiner score, Errol Flynn returns to what he did best, full-blooded swashbuckling romance. And, happily, with the now accustomed tongue firmly planted in cheek. The same, alas, can not be said for leading lady Viveca Lindfors, whose Queen of Spain is unnecessarily arch, or Robert Douglas who, as the villainous De Lorca, hardly lives up to such glorious 1930s predecessors as Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains. Yet despite these caveats, director Vincent Sherman and the Warner Bros. award-nominated set designers craft an exhilaratingly old-fashioned adventure yarn featuring a Don Juan who is more action than amour. Costume designers Travilla, Leah Rhodes and Marjorie Best earned well-deserved Academy Awards and there are amusing cameos by a young Raymond Burr, as an evil captain of the guard, and future Search for Tomorrow star Mary Stuart, as an unfaithful wife. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi