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This film might have its critics, but for me it's always a delight to see good-natured humour given a chance to shine in the hands of great actors. Errol Flynn was one of the most underrated comedians of any age. He was always prepared to send himself up as easily as anyone else and few others could have carried this film off especially playing opposite the crackerjack Joan Blondell. Add May Robson, Allen Jenkins and Edward Everett Horton and you've got a great little film that would make anyone forget about the world's woes for a hour or three. Not to be missed by any joker with a heart and most people without one. Give in to a bit of fun now and again and remember that life is all meat and potatoes.
This is not really an 'haha' type of comedy, its more a movie that has
a fun and silly (in a good way) feeling all over it. The events in the
movie are fun and so are the quirky characters that are in the movie.
Basically the story is a fun and simple one. Rich guy played by Errol Flynn, out of a conservative uptight family, has for the first time in his real fun when he runs of with the girl Mona (Joan Blondell). Along their trip the couple meets some quirky characters and get into some silly situations. It seems to me that the movie its story was inspired by the Greek Odyssey.
Errol Flynn is of course perfect as 'the perfect specimen'. I was a little bit worried about his comical talent but he pulls of rather well in this movie. All of the other actors are also fine professional comedy actors who all help to make this movie a fun, simple and non-serious one to watch.
A fun movie, that is very well worth watching.
A very light hearted fun movie . I enjoyed Flynn's performance . He should have done more comedy , ala Cary Grant , he was very good at it . I really think that someone should put it on video for other's enjoyment . There are a lot of Errol Flynn fans out there and I know many of them would like to be able to see this comedy again .
Gerald Wicks is being groomed by his dictatorial millionaire
grandmother to be a responsible pater familias in total seclusion from
the world, "a lily in a hothouse", he calls it. Then one day Mona, a
tough-as-nails female reporter, comes crashing through the gates and
before long Gerald takes off on his own to seek out his newfound friend
and they set out to explore life together.
Admittedly, this is a very small film, and one that doesn't quite know how to hold itself together. The script is filled with loose ends and blind alleys, and a lot of the dialogue must have seemed dated even in 1937. Having said that, this movie boasts Joan Blondell and a very young Errol Flynn, and their easy banter is delightful. She never photographed this well ever again, and Flynn ... well, suffice it to say that the director makes the most of all his chances to have his strapping young star-to-be stripped to the waist, beefcake galore!
AND the movie has a handful of wonderfully quirky bit parts, not many of them exactly organically interwoven in the whole, but they are never less than entertaining.
I have to agree with the other review on the page...The Perfect Specimen
a far better screwball comedy than it's been given credit for. In fact,
it's head and shoulders above Flynn's next screwball comedy, 1938's Four's
It helped that Flynn and Joan Blondell were pals off-screen, because they show a very comfortable and breezy rapport with each other on-screen. Flynn shows a light and pleasant acting touch in this, especially when compared to his ham-handed performances in Four's A Crowd or Footsteps In The Dark.
It's too bad this isn't available on video, because I think both Flynn fans and non-Flynn fans will discover a small treasure.
The Perfect Specimen (Michael Curtiz, 1937) is a fun Warner Bros comedy, with Errol Flynn cast against type as the eponymous figure: a sheltered heir to a small fortune, imprisoned within the ivory towers of his grandmother's estate. One day sassy chick Joan Blondell smashes through the fence and drives off with his heart. Not literally, of course, that wouldn't play so well to a mainstream audience. The film is episodic and slight, but unapologetically so, with some amusing set pieces that include Flynn's roadside punch up with hopeless pugilist Allen Jenkins. The ever-likable Jenkins (later the voice of Top Cat's Officer Dibble) is just one of a heap of well-known character actors turning up here, along with Hugh Herbert, May Robson, Harry Davenport and Edward Everett Horton stealing the film hands down as a pathetically subservient, nervy personal secretary. There's the odd concession to high culture, with a recurring reference to Cervantes' Don Quixote, but mostly this is standard screwball stuff, utilising the considerable charm of its impressive cast.
The Perfect Specimen marked Errol Flynn's first foray into comedy and
while amusing in spots does not work as well as Four's A Crowd or
Footsteps In The Dark. In fact the film almost borders on the weird.
This film is a strange combination of Mr. Deeds Goes To Town and Being There. Errol Flynn has been raised by his tyrannical old grandmother May Robson on the confines of their vast estate which bears some resemblance to stately Wayne Manor. He's been raised like a hot house geranium, given the best education the world could offer, but has not had any human contact.
The premise isn't as strange as it sounds because after the Lindbergh kidnapping there was concern in the ranks of the rich and famous throughout the land. May Robson seems to have anticipated this because she's raised the 20 something Flynn like this away from the world for years before.
Flynn like Sellers in Being There has stayed on the grounds all his life, but he's not autistic. Still certain facts of life have been omitted from his education and given Flynn's reputation which he hadn't achieved when The Perfect Specimen they make viewing of the film a bit strange. Not the fault of Warner Brothers, who knew in 1937 that Errol Flynn would become synonymous with sexual prowess.
Anyway the same way Jean Arthur another reporter came crashing in on Gary Cooper's life, so does reporter Joan Blondell on the estate where her brother happens to be a gardener. Tyrannical old May Robson has even got a suitable wife picked out in Beverly Roberts whose a cousin, but Beverly likes the gardener Dick Foran.
When Flynn decides to go out in the world he borrows Foran's car who tells no one. His absence causes a panic in Robson who launches a nationwide manhunt for Flynn. Meanwhile he and Blondell are having a great old time on the road where his education about nearly everything else but social relations comes in handy.
The Perfect Specimen also boasts such folks as Edward Everett Horton, Allen Jenkins, Hugh Herbert, and Harry Davenport all in roles that are suitable to their type. Just their mention conjures up certain images and they perform right to image. The Flynn and Blondell team however was never asked for a repeat performance, they never really quite mesh.
The Perfect Specimen is amusing in a few places, but Flynn and Blondell were better showcased in a lot better films.
May Robson is getting her grandson a total education and molding him into "The Perfect Specimen," with knowledge in all subjects and how to do everything a man should. The title will of course lead many female viewers to think of the obvious - great looks and a great bod. But who inhabits all these qualities and attributes?! Errol Flynn, of course, who has never been more perfectly coiffed. Many of the 1930s female viewers were probably not surprised and very heartily agreed. But here Errol is somewhat bummed that he is kept against his will, during this course of learning, and not able to break free and live and be wild and crazy. That is, until he meets Joan Blondell, who crashes in through the fence to meet him. Then they have numerous escapades together. Anyone who likes the stars will enjoy the film, but moments into this, one can tell this won't be as good as other films of its ilk. It boasts an impressive and colorful supporting cast with May Robson, Edward Everett Hobson, Dick Foran, Allen Jenkins and Hugh Herbert. But here May's character is ingratiating and loud and the others, while usually good, don't add much pizazz to this. But Hugh Herbert who is introduced midway into the film does interject some life and speaks in rhyme. The film does get better as Errol and Joan go on the run and get more romantic and quiet moments together. "The Perfect Specimen" has not been seen or shown on TV in years due to legal issues, but, if you're determined to get yourself "The Perfect Specimen," a dvr copy can bought off of eBay for a minimal cost. This little undemanding film is a very pleasant and feel-good experience but tries too hard in the very beginning to grab your attention and therefore its humor feels contrived and outlandish but the leads' chemistry and good looks can get under your skin and make you ignore all the flaws. Flaws!! What flaws?! With Errol Flynn as "The Perfect Specimen," what more do you need?
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