He’s the original swashbuckler — Errol Flynn ruled Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s and made wearing tights look really manly. He played pirates, courtiers, soldiers, cowboys, and was always a dashing leading man. His off-screen life was full of excess and indulgence in booze, drugs, and sex (including trials for statutory rape), and he died relatively young at age 50.
While Errol Flynn’s historical costume movies don’t stick too close to historical fact and the costumes tend to be cartoony, I love watching them as pure entertainment. Hollywood used Flynn for big, brash flicks that jumped from sword-fighting action to romance and back again, and everything was wrapped up in a flashy ye-olde-timey bow. Let’s have a Man Candy Monday that’s in like Flynn!
Captain Blood in 1935 was Flynn’s first big hit.
Charge of the Light Brigade was the first of nine movies Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn were in together.
“My job is to defy the normal.” — Errol Flynn
The Adventures of Robin Hood was Warner Bros. most expensive film ever made at that point, but it ended up being the studio’s biggest money maker in 1938.
Dashing and dapper as Essex.
Bette Davis wasn’t convinced of Flynn’s acting abilities for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex until she saw the finished film.
1940’s Santa Fe Trail was just one of Flynn’s many Westerns.
Another 16th-c. flick, different Queen Elizabeth for Errol Flynn. In The Sea Hawk (1940), he played opposite Flora Robson (who had previously played QEI in Fire Over England, 1937).
Courtier by day, swashbuckling pirate by night!
A little older, a little wiser? 1948, Adventures of Don Juan.
I may have play-acted Maureen O’Hara’s role in Against All Flags (1952) after first seeing this as a kid…
“I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” — Errol Flynn’s last words.
What’s your favorite Errol Flynn historical costume movie?