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Peter Lee Lawrence,
The Best Guy To Show The Prince How To Sow His Wild Oats
In the Citadel Films book The Films Of Errol Flynn, Errol was quoted as saying he felt that the distribution of Crossed Swords in America was not handled properly as the reason the film flopped. After finally viewing the film, I think he may have had a point up to a degree.
Certainly he's not moving with same grace as he did in Captain Blood or The Sea Hawk, but his interpretation of Don Juan is of a more mature swashbuckler who's getting kind of weary of his life of romantic adventures. Not unlike The Adventures Of Don Juan which he did for Warner Brothers a few years earlier or of the real Flynn himself.
Crossed Swords has the older Don Juan taking on a pupil in Cesare Danova who is the heir to the duchy of Sidonia. Cesare is wanting to some wild oats and Flynn is certainly the best guy to show him how. When they return the first minister to Cesare's father, Roldano Lupi is proposing a new law outlawing bachelorhood among the male population. It's felt that it's the man's patriotic duty to get married and start sowing some seed for the population to grow.
Now that's something that will definitely cramp Flynn's style and he isn't having any of it. Neither is his pupil Danova who has a duty to provide an heir, but not just now. But Lupi has far more sinister schemes afoot and these two have to stop him.
Gina Lollobrigida is Danova's sister who Flynn interests up to a point, but not if it involves matrimony where Flynn is concerned. And Danova has a certain protective attitude toward his sister not unfounded where Flynn is concerned. For some reason her voice is dubbed in Crossed Swords and that was a surprise since so many American viewers had heard her real voice in later films. That year she also did Beat The Devil in her natural accented speaking voice so familiar to us.
I'm inclined to believe Flynn might have something of a case. The film which is done on location in Italy photographed beautifully by Jack Cardiff might have been better handled had it's more comedic elements been showcased in the advertising campaign. It certainly isn't up to the standards of his Warner Brothers years, but Crossed Swords is all that a fan of Errol Flynn would wish and considerably more.
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