This study of Cuba--partially written by renowned poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko--captures the island just before it made the transition to a post-revolutionary society. Moving from city to ... See full summary »
I recently read Charles Higham's notoriously unreliable biography of Errol Flynn because I picked it up for about $1 at a secondhand bookshop. I had long refused to read it because of Higham's infamous claims that Flynn was a Nazi and because the dust cover displayed a swastika. The copy I picked up didn't have a dust cover. Higham's spurious claims are based on his knowledge of the mysterious Nazi character Erben, a one-time associate of Flynn's, who later recanted his Nazi views. Higham also refers to Flynn's affairs with Nazi women. I'm not sure politics had much influence on Flynn's sex life. Nevertheless, it struck me while reading this drivel that you could just as easily construct a convincing portrait of Flynn as a communist. He secretly joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain and, of course, he made two pro-Castro films about Cuba. "Cuban Rebel Girls" is a bad film whichever way you look at it with an unusually poor performance from Errol (who was simply brilliant only recently in "The Roots of Heaven", "Too Much Too Soon" and, of course, "The Sun Also Rises"). I have watched "Cuban Rebel Girls" several times because I nevertheless find it a fascinating and curious film. Director Mahon directed some right-wing Cold War films so I am not sure why he was involved with this one. In any case, the direction like the script, was poor. The script should have been handed over to producers like Samuel Z. Arkoff or Albert Zugsmith for better results. It's the sort of film Mamie Van Doren would have spiced up wonderfully. "The Cuba Story" is another mess of a film, but like "Cuban Rebel Girls" at least its heart is in the right place. Sad to see Errol Flynn in failing health in both these films. He looks old and weary after a lifetime of living it up. But the point to be made is that no Nazi would be associated with these pro-Castro films. Or if Flynn did have Nazi sympathies or allegiances at some stage(and like Erben, recanted), then it is instructive that he chose to be involved with these Cuba films. And as for those Nazi women Flynn was supposed to have slept with? Maybe he was just pumping them for information.
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