Flynn Sails With Universal-International --- Part One
Among the unexpected to show up on Region 2 Blu-Ray comes Against All Flags, a costume actioner Errol Flynn did for Universal-International shortly before truest career plummet began. Did U-I maintain standing sets for repeated pirate forays their contract and guest players took? Certainly these had polish, if not lasting value, of Warner, or even Fox, sailings. I watched Flags close for economies, there in abundance, but not once does it openly cheat, as pretender sword pics oft-would. Errol looks surprisingly preserved as well --- did he behave in hopes of continued Uni work and more percentage pay like Alan Ladd, Jim Stewart, and Tyrone Power were getting?
|So Far as Errol Figured, Those Scars on His Back Were Ones Slave-Driving Warner Bros. Left|
Flynn was represented by MCA agent Lew Wasserman, lately responsible for getting Stewart 50% of profit flowing from Universal's
|Errol at Maureen's Mercy --- She'd Write Later That He Was a Pleasure To Work With|
|Flynn Rehearses Swordplay on Universal Soundstage|
There is Maureen O'Hara as a lady pirate, loath to kiss Errol unless it's her idea. Was she any sort of feminist role model ... ever? ... or did too many pairings with (and spankings from) John Wayne scotch O'Hara placement among icons for gender equality? She's actually good with a sword, near so as Flynn. Small wonder Universal touted their teaming as one that had to happen. Blu-Ray supports O'Hara's rep as a (no, the) Queen Of Technicolor. With lards of damaging make-up they used to put on stars, especially for Tech work, I'm surprised her complexion stood up to years of such application (and maybe it didn't, as unretouched stills of any Gold Age femme star are hard to come by).
|Errol Flynn's Most Dependable Companions --- A Good Book|
and a Faithful Dog
|Among Universal's Junior Varsity Pirate Crew --- Philip Friend and Yvonne De Carlo|
Universal's were otherwise the dime comic books of pirate movies. Looking at one was same as watching six for as much as they varied. Star potential was tested, option pick-ups determined by how (mostly) kid/teens responded to new faces. Some clicked, like Yvonne De Carlo as titular Buccaneer's Girl in 1950, but opposite number Philip Friend, "introduced" here (despite being in pics ten years), didn't register and walked the plank. Such product serviced what was left of a movie-mad public, down principally to youth, enough of them fortunately there to generate profits so long as Universal kept costs at bay. Technicolor was a common thread through postwar U-I actioners, westerns and costume piece alike. Whatever deficiency lay in script or direction saw compensation for being at least pretty to look at. With proper DVD delivery, many still are.