"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" ... Bogart, Shakespeare, The Maltese Falcon, Those Great Movies

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Errol Flynn Adventures - Movies of World War II

I am the happy owner of a wonderful boxed set featuring my favorite actor, Warner Brothers release “Errol Flynn Adventures”. These are Flynn's World War II era movies, and they have been beautifully restored and are crystal clear in quality.  The set includes war-time newsreels, Warner Brother cartoons, military band shorts, and theatrical trailers..

The 5 films are a picture of an era and of Hollywood’s propaganda in bolstering the morale of a suffering citizenry. Some are more realistic than others, but all share a common bond of hope and determination to win that terrible war. Errol Flynn took some heat due to the fact that he did not fight in the war, and it did not help that the studio did not want it to be known that Flynn had tried every branch of the service and was turned down. He had a bad heart, malaria, history of tuberculosis and an injured back. The studio did not want their macho star’s image tarnished with any kind of disability, and this was a source of embarrassment to Flynn through the war years. It was his desire to make films to help the war effort, and he did so very effectively with the following movies:

Uncertain Glory (1944) is the story of Jean Picard (Errol Flynn), a thief and murderer sentenced to the guillotine in Nazi-occupied France. Inspector Bonet (Paul Lukas) has been chasing him down for years and is determined to bring him to justice. Through a series of circumstances, Picard and Bonet find themselves on the same side of a very strange exploit. In my opinion, this movie, although not very well known outside of classic movie buff circles, is one of Flynn’s finest performances. He is not dashing, not very charming, unshaven most of the time, a thoroughly reprehensible man. Flynn really shows his acting chops and gives a marvelous performance.
Director: Raoul Walsh. Music: Max Steiner

Edge of Darkness (1943) is the story of Gunnar Brogge (Flynn), a fisherman in a small village in Nazi-occupied Norway. Along with his love Karen (Ann Sheridan), her doctor father (Walter Huston), and the rest of the small village, underground activities against the Nazis are the focus of their lives. A really nasty Nazi Captain (Helmut Dantine, probably the most beautiful male villain on screen) has no conscience in his desire to blot out all patriotism and hope in these people. This film is strong, serious and very spiritual in nature.
Director: Lewis Milestone. Music: Franz Waxman

Objective Burma (1945) was Flynn’s personal favorite. A stirring and true story of a squadron trapped in the Burmese jungle trying to make their way out for rescue, the movie is hard-edged and quite realistic for the time. James Brown and Henry Hull co-starred. Flynn enjoyed it because he did not have to be a romantic lead this time, just a man in a man’s world.
Director: Raoul Walsh. Music: Franz Waxman

Desperate Journey (1944) is probably the most propaganda-type of any war movie I ever saw. It’s a Hogan’s Hero type of romp through the German countryside by a group of flyers trying to get out of Germany. Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Arthur Kennedy and Alan Hale are comrades in arms.  Most of the Germans are pretty stupid and easily tricked by our guys. Even the great Raymond Massey as a Nazi Major is made to look foolish. Even though a bit unrealistic, I just love this movie. It is full of humor, has enough pathos to keep it respectable, and was good for war-time morale.
Director: Raoul Walsh. Music: Max Steiner/Hugo Friedhofer

Northern Pursuit (1943) has Flynn playing Steve Wagner, a Canadian Mountie who stumbles across a Nazi colonel (Helmut Dantine again) who has landed in Canada to mount an offensive. The film is quite lovely in its portrayal of a snowy, icy Canadian wasteland, and the story is well-done.
Director: Raoul Walsh. Music: Adolph Deutsch

These movies have it all – wonderful actors, creative cinematography and soaring music that includes our own Anthem, La Marseilles and God Save the King -- patriotism in its purest form.  Flynn at his finest.


  1. After reading your reviews, I'd like to watch Uncertain Glory or Edge of Darkness. Do you still have a copy of the movie. Perhaps we can have an Flynn night soon.

  2. Becky, I loved "Edge of Darkness". Thanks for posting this article. I would've never thought to have seen it had I not discovered it through your blog!

  3. I enjoyed discovering your site!

  4. Thank you, David ... I hope you visit again soon!