Hollywood's most notorious Golden Age star, Errol Flynn, will undoubtedly be the subject of a major motion picture, someday. Laborer, jewel thief, gigolo, ship's master, slave overseer, hobo, boxer, repertory actor, movie star, writer...an astonishingly handsome 'bad boy' whose sexual prowess was legendary (even landing him in court on rape charges, more than once), and whose physical 'perfection' in his prime hid malaria, heart problems, severe alcoholism, and drug addiction. That he died at fifty wasn't as surprising as the fact he lived THAT long! Beneath everything, however, was a shy, tortured romantic, who never felt himself appreciated for more than 'superficial' things, like swinging a sword, riding a horse, or looking at ease in tights (He once tried to convince Clark Gable to make a dramatic film with him, and Gable laughed in his face). In time, Flynn would give up much of his ambition, and settle for simply playing the roué that audiences expected, while squandering his health and fortune. But rarely an opportunity to really act would appear, and Flynn proved he was far better than people realized.
That was the 'real' Errol Flynn...but THIS "Flynn" manages to ignore nearly all of it, offering, instead, a callow youth (pre-stardom Guy Pearce), whose unhappy childhood and early sexual misadventures leads him to robbing his 'true love', gold mining in New Guinea, becoming sexually involved with an older German man, killing a native, being convicted of murder, and fleeing to Sydney, where, in desperation, he assaults and robs a male lover, takes another man's identity, bluffs his way into an audition for "In the Wake of the Bounty", becomes a STAR, overnight, then journeys to Hollywood and 'legendary' status. All of which is, fundamentally, pure hokum!
Pearce is no substitute for the 6'2", robust young Flynn, and he resorts to nearly caricatured posing (particularly late in the film). While the portrayals of his parents are somewhat accurate (although there is no record of Flynn, the child, 'catching' his mother cheating on his father), his short academic career was more likely the result of wanderlust and poor academics than being caught making love to a local wench on campus.
Flynn did, in fact, journey to New Guinea to make his 'fortune', but he worked in a variety of (legal and illegal) jobs, while there, before his father paid his way back home. If young Flynn had killed anybody, it would have been the screenwriter who concocted the whole sequence! As for homosexual encounters...it has long been a subject of controversy, but has never been proved.
As for the "Bounty"...Flynn (who was NOT starving on the streets at the time) was recommended BECAUSE he was Fletcher Christian's descendant, and the movie, despite being the first full-length Australian feature film, barely made a ripple, anywhere else. Flynn, himself, called his performance 'completely wooden', and decided to leave for England to study stage acting. It was while there that he caught the eye of Warner Brothers, who brought him to America as a 'contract player'...
As a time-killer, "Flynn" is passable...but don't expect to find the 'real' Errol Flynn in it. THAT film hasn't been made, yet!
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