I cannot help but blog about one of my favorite movie icons, Errol Flynn, even if for just a little bit. The man is a true Hollywood legend, a man of the Golden Era who came to define a genre, and who’s boundless energy and swordsmanship I aim to emulate this January in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the University of Central Florida.
That genre of course is of the swashbuckling hero- notably in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Captain Blood (1935) and The Sea Hawk (1940) among others.
But just as he defined the genre, he was also typecast as such. And although he is damn good in those flicks, it is other ones that make the grade for me. His human dramas played with such subtle honesty or any one of his delightful comedies that just make you wanting more.
I’m talking about the chilling portrayal of the squadron officer in The Dawn Patrol (1938) where he has to order men to their almost certain death in the fighter planes of World War I, his sobering role in The Sun Also Rises (1957) also comes to mind, as well as my favorite Flynn film- They Died With Their Boots On (1941) where he plays General George Armstrong Custer with brilliant humor and intensity.
The early years of Hollywood were often stocked with grandiose individuals who too often overlooked the art that acting should be. Flynn certainly had other interests, yes, but there’s no denying the immense fun he is having in any one of those pictures. You can SEE it! In the way he laughs, smiles, and plays the moments aptly.
This my friends, inspires me in my own work. To enjoy the hell out of it because no matter how much homework you do, the biggest thing that can translate from stage/screen to the audience is your energy. So give a hearty laugh I say and give the audience their money’s worth! Because when you see me onstage in Les Liaisons I’ll be doing just that (except laughing, I don’t do too much of that; what with the character’s intentions and all that acty stuff).
Therefore, what I’m saying is to go watch Errol Flynn in any one of those aforementioned movies (or others) and you too would put him in the same league as James Cagney, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, or Clark Gable for sure when discussing chops.