Don Juan de Marana damages Spanish prestige in diplomatic circles with his indiscreet womanizing, but he attempts to rehabilitate his image after he meets the beautiful Queen Margaret, trapped in a loveless arranged marriage with the weak and feckless King Philip III. The Queen becomes the love of Don Juan's life, and although she is obviously attracted to him, the relationship remains appropriately platonic. Becoming caught up in court intrigue, Don Juan uncovers a plot by the King's minister, the ruthless Duke de Lorca, to become the power behind the throne. After de Lorca is exposed by Don Juan, he brazenly intimidates the cowardly king into compliance and threatens to execute the uncooperative queen. Helped by his friends, his servant Leporello, fencing master Don Serafino, and court jester Sebastian, Don Juan tries to foil the Duke's evil machinations. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The most eagerly awaited Flynn movie has at last made it to DVD! Unavailable for some years except on a VHS tape and an obscure over priced Korean disc it, thankfully, is back in the Warner Bros. stable where it belongs. The wait was worth it for the disc is simply pluperfect! With rich vibrant three-strip Technicolor and sharply defined images it is a joy to behold! Flynn is terrific in the title role of the great lover and roue. Not withstanding perhaps a nod to the actor's own lifestyle the part was nevertheless taylor made for him. And although it was said at the time that he was slowing down and that he hit the booze while filming there is no evidence of it on screen. The great swashbuckler cuts a fine figure in his many fabulous costume changes throughout the picture. These costumes - designed by the great Travilla - won the 1948 Acadamy Award for best costume design.
The supporting cast were well chosen too! Robert Douglas is great as Flynn's adversary - the evil Duke DeLorca. His dark eyes blackened even more to make him look that bit extra villainous. Alan Hale is once again Flynn's faithful sidekick but after 12 movies this was to be their final picture together. He died the following year. The female lead is taken by the beautiful Swedish actress Vivica Lindfors. Here she plays Margaret Queen of Spain and the one true love of Juan. Lindfors' final film was "Stargate" in 1994! She died in 1995 at the age of 75.
"The Adventures of Don Juan" is well directed by Vincent Sherman and is probably his best remembered movie. The atmosphere, the colour and the sets in the court scenes are really very impressive. But now and then the film gets a little bogged down with some palace intrigue until the picture's famous set piece - the brilliantly staged sword-fight on the magnificent palace staircase. It ranks as one of the cinema's finest duels and Flynn will always be remembered for it even though that amazing leap with the knife was performed by stuntman and B picture actor Jock Mahoney.
Then, of course there is the music by Max Steiner - one of his very best scores! Particularly splendid is his music for Juan's Parade into London with its masterful use of bells and chimes. Also the wistful Ballade which accompanies Juan on his many and various balcony climbings, the driving action music for the fight in the palace and the gorgeous love theme for the scenes with Juan and the Queen especially for the sequence near the end. Here the theme is heard in full bloom as the lovers say farewell to each other forever ("I shall be the only one who knew, for just a little while, that there was no Queen"). Interestingly Flynn's usual swashbuckling composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold - who had served him brilliantly on past successes such as "Captain Blood", "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" and "The Sea Hawk" -was originally slated to score "The Adventures Of Don Juan" as far back as 1945, but by the time the picture went into production the esteemed composer had left Hollywood and returned to his birthplace Vienna. As brilliant a composer as Korngold was it's difficult to imagine he would have topped Steiner's exceptional score. But alas we will never know!
So quite a wonderful disc all round with good extras consisting of a commentary by director the late Vincent Sherman and Flynn authority Rudy Behlmer, a trailer and some instantly forgettable old fashioned shorts but the movie is all, so enjoy. En Garde!
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