|Errol Flynn as Mike Campbell in The Sun Also Rises|
|Errol Flynn as Mike Campbell, Eddie Albert as Bill Gorton, and Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes|
It has been said that the character of Mike Campbell was so much like Flynn himself that it did not require much acting on his part. To my mind, that criticism shows incredible ignorance of acting as a craft as well as a gift. Yes, the part of Mike Campbell is that of an aging, alcoholic playboy, but even if an actor drinks in his personal life, he cannot work if he is really drunk, and no director would put up with it. People who are truly intoxicated are unobservant, clumsy and not sharp enough to work. Actors have to remember lines, make the mark required for the shot, act with subtlety when required -- Flynn was acting. It could not have been easy for him either. Mike was a man of great charm whose looks and fortune were gone, who was no longer receiving the easy attention his youth and beauty once gave him, a man forced to question all of the decisions of his life. Flynn at this time was also dealing with the ultimate experience of all people reaching the latter part of life -- seeing the mistakes of our youth catch up with us and trying to deal with it.
|Even in his older years, a "colorful fragment in a drab world."|
(Pictured here in Crossed Swords)
*Quotes credited to Flynn's own writings and the Internet Movie Database*
|Flynn with Ava Gardner as Brett Ashley|
That is all I could find out. You know, I'm sure that the incredibly handsome, don't-give-a-damn-what-you-think type of man like Flynn grated a lot of people the wrong way. I'm sure he could be difficult to deal with, as are many people. I'm certain men felt a jealous hate because their women wanted him -- women felt similar emotions because they couldn't have him exclusively. I would bet the family farm that many of these were the very people in the movie industry who had the ability to deny him a well-deserved chance at an award. Flynn had always wanted very much to be considered a serious actor, and official recognition of this role would have done it for him.
The 1957 Best Supporting Actor nominees would have provided stiff competition for Flynn that year. Red Buttons, who won for Sayonara, and Sessue Hayakawa, nominated for The Bridge On The River Kwai, both gave fantastic performances. Vittorio de Sica was excellent in A Farewell To Arms. Flynn had given a performance of a stature that clearly belonged with those. But do you know who the other two nominees were? Russ Tamblyn and Arthur Kennedy for Peyton Place! No disrespect intended to those actors, but for that movie and those performances, it was an absolute joke. Somebody wanted to be sure Flynn was left out, and did so in such a manner that they may as well have knocked on his door and slapped his face. Shameful.
Even today, when our culture is supposedly more tolerant and open, and when Flynn is loved more than ever before by classic film fans, the movie industry still refuses any tribute to him. His loving daughter Rory has been trying to get a tribute to her Father from the Oscar people, and recently had to post on her aforementioned website: "Dear supporters, We have all struggled to have the Academy of Motion Pictures award a posthumous Oscar to Errol Flynn. I am sad to share with you that the academy will not be able to do so. The president of the Academy, Mr. Sid Janis has informed me that the academy will not and has not given the award posthumously. It is a sad moment for me personally and I know to the many who share with me the joy and happiness that Errol Flynn brought to the screen and to our hearts. Thank you for your support. Rory."
Janis's statement that the Academy does not give posthumous awards is just not true. My blogging friend Caftan Woman advised me that the great Edward G. Robinson had never been awarded an Oscar, and he was dying when the Academy decided to give him an honorary award. Robinson died before the Oscar ceremony was ever held, yet he was posthumously given the honor he definitely deserved. Selective regulations do not sit well with me, and I think the Academy's reasoning about Flynn shows incredible hypocrisy in denying this wonderful actor the recognition from his peers that he hoped for during his life.
I am providing a link to Youtube so that any interested readers who have not done so, can see first-hand the quality of Flynn's performance in The Sun Also Rises. Actually, the link is to the entire movie, which surprised me to find. I am providing here the beautiful opening credit, and 3 particular scenes in which Errol Flynn just shines, with the exact places for you to forward and easily find them. If you choose to watch these, the short time it takes is worth every second.
Opening credits with composer Hugo Friedhofer's magnificent score:
From the very beginning to the director's credit.
Cafe scene after bullfight:
1:16:20 - 1:19:16
Outdoor cafe after the fiesta:
1:34:20 - 1:37:10
My favorite of Flynn's scenes, very short, revealing Mike as he truly is, when no one is looking:
1:51:20 - 1:53:22
*I wrote and published this article originally on the Classic Film and TV Cafe movie blog of which I am a member. I would also like to thank Caftan woman, whose tip about the posthumous Oscar situation was so valuable. Links to both sites can be found on my blogroll at the sidebar*