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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)
They truly don't make 'em like this anymore (more's the pity). Errol Flynn plays the role he spent his whole life "training" for -- Don Juan -- in this spectacular Warner Brothers adventure film. There is so much to recommend this film; it's a shame American audiences didn't respond to it the way European audiences did at its initial release. Flynn does his best work in years as Don Juan, ably supported by perennial sidekick Alan Hale and Robert Douglas as the evil Duke De Lorca. The costumes are amazing, the sets splendid, the Technicolor never looked better -- but to top it all off, the swordplay, choreographed by the legendary maestro Fred Cavens (Adventures of Robin Hood, The Mark of Zorro) is second to none. From the brief duels with jealous husbands to the scenes in the fencing academy to the final rapier and dagger brawl (capped by a spectacular leap performed by stuntman Jock Mahoney) the sword work here is awesome. (btw, historical fencing fans should note the use of Thibaults' Mysterious Circle on the wall of the fencing school, completely appropriate since this is the Spanish school of rapier play). Future Perry Mason Raymond Burr has a memorable role as one of the villains in this court intrigue adventure, and Viveca Lindfors is excellent as the Queen, but it is Flynn, with his wit, panache and blade skill, who dominates, just as it should be. For terrific entertainment in the classic Hollywood tradition, take a look at The Adventures of Don Juan! UPDATE 2/9/07 This film will soon be available on a new DVD in the second Errol Flynn collection box set, along with another good Flynn film, The Dawn Patrol.
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