Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.
Errol Flynn, playing himself as a war correspondent, helps Fidel Castro overthrow Cuban dictator Batista. The film was shot, with Castro's cooperation, while he was still fighting Batista. Written by
Being a completest and a major fan of Errol Flynn's I bought this movie on DVD about 5 years ago, but allowed myself to be swayed by public opinion (describing it as the worst movie ever made) and promptly sat it on the shelf unwatched.
The other night however I finally decided to dust it down and pop the disc in the player for the very first time, and my end verdict? I have seen far worse films than this.
Firstly, the film is well narrated by Flynn and the story is easy to follow. I have seen many movies where the editing and story-telling is so badly handled that you haven't got a clue what's going on. Cuban Rebel Girls is very easy to follow, so there's no problem there.
And about Flynn's narration: It is my understanding that more than anything else Flynn wanted to be taken seriously as a war correspondent. He didn't care about acting, but he did want to be a writer. Well this side of him shines through with this film. Right from the start it feels less like a movie and more like a typical documentary of the period. Some recognition of this from other reviewers would have been nice.
Another aspect of the film that gets savaged by reviewers is the picture quality. I have a brand new Panasonic 50 inch TV that shows up bad picture immediately, and the picture quality in this movie is just fine!
People also maintain that all the acting is abysmal. Well, once again I feel that this is unfair. I've seen far worse acting on a hundred occasions, and in particular the guy playing Aadland's boyfriend happens to say his lines very well!
But there is no doubt that this film is an amateurish effort. Flynn's role is almost pointless - apart from the well handled narration, and he does indeed appear to be inebriated for at least the last scene he's in. To be fair again though; Flynn was drunk through most of The Sun Also Rises, and horrible in The Roots Of Heaven. He was noticeably drunk all the way through that movie, whereas in Cuban Rebel Girls his narration is sober, and so are his first few scenes. Considering this was made in the year he died, and of how much pain I was in watching him in Roots Of Heaven, I was pleasantly surprised by his efforts in this film.
The aspect of this film that I find the hardest to handle is Flynn's seeming obsession with young girls! Of all the things to criticize I would have thought someone would mention this, since it makes him sound every bit like a one-track-minded dirty old man.
One last point to make: before having watched this film I knew nothing about the Cuban Revolution. After having watched it I had at least a small appreciation for the type of things that went on, and the effort the people went through to support it. To say this film is a waste of time and not worth watching is both ignorant and unfair...in my opinion.
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