A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Errol Flynn Signature Collection - Volume 2

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Volume 2 of Warner Home Video's new release of the Errol Flynn Signature Collection is one of the most important classic releases thus far this year.

    Having been brought up on the Warner classics, and having favored the Flynn productions, this second volume is a welcome gift.

    With a career that went into gear in 1935 with Captain Blood, and ran into the late 1950s, one will find the important Flynn films between Captain Blood and Master of Ballantrae in 1953. Between them are 20 or so fine films, most for Warner, with a couple for M-G-M around 1950.

    The first volume of Flynn productions brought us five wonderful classic films, Captain Blood (1935), Dodge City (1939), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940) and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).

    Volume two adds four great Flynn vehicles, Adventures of Don Juan (1949), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Dawn Patrol (1938), Gentleman Jim (1942) all in top shape and with beautiful transfers plus an "also ran," the 1941 Technicolor Dive Bomber, which is less than stellar shape, with a less than stellar transfer, and not a personal favorite.

    The good news is that there are still enough quality Flynn films at Warner for a third volume, which is sure to some in the future.

    Some of the greatest talent of the era went into the production of these films, which are a true treat for the cinephile.

    The street price for volume one stands at around $45, while volume 2 arrives at under $35 5 films. This is a bargain price for a quality product.

    Especially at under $6 per film, Volume 2 of the Errol Flynn Signature Collection wins highest honors from these quarters.

    If one film stands out from the pack in terms of quality, it would be the newest of the group, the Technicolor Adventures of Don Juan, which I'd love to see arrive on HD in the near future. It would be magnificent.

    I'm thrilled that they've arrived, and come Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I wish there was a film called THE TECHNICOLOR DIVE BOMBER. :)
     
  3. Jim Bur

    Jim Bur Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that Volume two adds 4 great Flynn films, which makes it a superlative set. It's also very welcome to hear your opinion that each of these four films have beautiful transfers I also agree that the fifth film in the set "Dive Bomber" is indeed an also ran, perhaps the weakest action vehicle that Flynn ever starred in.

    It's especially disappointing that they chose Dive Bomber when they had 6 good western films to chose from. I personally would have preferred the technicolor western "San Antonio" for the fifth film in the set, however they couldn't have gone wrong with any of the black and white westerns "Rocky Mountain", "Santa Fe Trail" (which they could have rescued from PD hell), "Silver River", "Virginia City", or the other remaining Flynn color western "Montana".

    I wish they would prove me wrong, however I continue to have the distinct impression that the folks at Warners just don't like westerns very much. Warners seems to have announced most if not all of their release schedule through June, and it appears that through one-half the 2007 year Warners has so far released just 1 western. That one western was the indifferent The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (I know there are some people who like it) which was included in the Mitchum set back in January. When the Mitchum set was released Warners also failed to include any of his classic westerns such as 'Blood on the Moon", "The Lusty Men", etc.

    I guess if one stretches the point, perhaps you could give Warners credit for 2 new to DVD westerns if one counts the announced "Allegheny Uprising", which is set in Pennyslvania in the 1700's as a western. However, Fox released 3 classic westerns in March (Jesse James, The Return of Frank James, and The True Story of Jesse James) and have at least 3 more classic westerns scheduled for release in May, namely "Broken Arrow" (a great western), "White Feather', and "Fury at Furnace Creek". Univeral has 8 westerns (7 of them good) scheduled for release on May 1st, "Canyon Passage (a great western)", "California", "Texas Rangers", "The Man From the Alamo", "The Cimarron Kid", "The Kansas Raiders", and "The Lawless Breed". Univeral has also included a western in the upcoming Hudson set (The Last Sunset with Kirk Douglas), and Unconquered with Gary Cooper is also scheduled for May. Sony/MGM through Fox has also scheduled 3 westerrns for May as part of its Gary Cooper collection.

    WARNERS WOULD APPEAR TO BE IN 4TH PLACE, among the major studios for western releases. So it appears that virtually every major studio is beating the pants off of Warners in 2007 when it comes to releasing classic westerns, and this despite the fact that in its library Warners has more unreleased westerns then probably all the other studios combined. Warners seems to be virtually going out of there way NOT to release classic westerns. What's going on there?

    c Jim Bur
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I am still working my way through the set for my review. I agree that "The Adventures of Don Juan" looks wonderful. Unfortunately ,"The Charge of the Light Brigade" looks like parts of the source element ran a half-a-league gauntlet of Russian artillery, but I'm sure we have the best of what Warner had at their disposal. Right now, I'm about halfway through "The Dawn Patrol", which looks beautiful.

    Regards,
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The b&w productions are typical of the era with either entire duped shots for printer functions, or cut-ins of short lengths. Dawn Patrol is inclusive of some stock from the earlier version. Interestingly, Don Juan appears to include some LS stock of riders which may come from Robin Hood.
     
  6. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    It's been awhile since I've seen Don Juan, but didn't it also make some use of Essex's entrance from Elizabeth & Essex as well?
     
  7. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

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    Yes on DON JUAN the shots of the soldier chasing them on horseback is from ADV OF ROBIN HOOD. And the shots of the town people celebrating the arrival of the person they think is royalty but is really Don Juan are indeed lifted from ELIZABETH AND ESSEX. If Mr Harris reads this have you seen the question about THE GANG''S ALL HERE asking you if you knew what caused the terrible dvd transfer of that title from the otherwise outstanding ALICE FAYE BOX? Do you have any idea what went wrong on that title?

    THANKS
     
  8. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Yes. I believe almost all of the aerial shots are from the 1930 Howard Hawks version, and they shot some new second unit stuff of the planes on the ground and taking off. Could you imagine the outcry if someone remade a movie from eight years ago (e.g. "The Matrix") today and even re-used some of the more expensive footage? [​IMG] It was a little easier to pull-off when there was no video ... or even television ... to keep the original fresh in audience's minds, and in the case of "The Dawn Patrol" it certainly worked well.

    The 1930 version came out the same year as "Hell's Angels" and "All Quiet on the Western Front". It must have seemed to audiences like a hybrid of the two with its aviation action and pacifist theme.

    Regards,
     
  9. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    And add to that that it was rarely an issue anyway, like scratchy old newsreel footage, the occasional hair in the gate, a bit of poorly dubbed post-synch, it was just simply part of the movie landscape that audiences accepted.

    There's also some footage of Captain Blood in The Sea Hawk (one of the reasons for shooting in b&w), and lord knows how many movies have filched bits of The Four Feathers. On and on; I wonder what pre-war audiences would have made of all today's internet angst and breast beating?
     
  10. Jim Bur

    Jim Bur Stunt Coordinator

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    Speaking of the 1930 version of The Dawn Patrol, I wonder why it was not included along with 1938 version on the upcoming DVD release, as it has been the current trend to include the original and the remake (i.e The Prisoner of Zenda, Les Miserables, etc) together as part of the same DVD release. Was it just a cost issue?-that they just didn't want to have to spend any money to get it in any kind of shape for a DVD release?

    I've seen the original 1930 version on TCM under it telivision title of Flight Commander, so it still exists. Since Warners missed the opportunity to include it as part of this DVD release, it would make a good candidate for release as part of a boxset of Howard Hawks films (i.e. The Crowd Roars, Ceiling Zero, Today We Live, The Big Sky, Tiger Shark etc), or early aviaton themed films (i.e. The Last Flight, The Lost Squadron, Central Airport, Ceiling Zero, Ace of Aces, etc).

    c Jim Bur
     
  11. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    I wonder why THAT FORSYTHE WOMAN is never mentioned as a potential candidate for Flynn boxsets, or Garson or Literary Masterpieces. Flynn gives a restrained and thoughtful performance as Soames--it's quite unlike anything he ever did (other than maybe CRY WOLF). It's got gorgeous Technicolor and a terrific supporting cast in Walter Pidgeon, Janet Leigh, and Robert Young.
     
  12. serenapowell

    serenapowell Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with you in wanting THAT FORSYTHE WOMAN, Charles. [​IMG] Such a great cast! I'm a fan of all of them. And I'm always for showcasing actors' versatility in their Signature Collections.

    I wish the earlier version of THE DAWN PATROL had been included too... as the Oscar Winning/Nominated Films Not On DVD thread proves, studios are less willing to release movies from the 1930s. Having the 1930s version included as an extra with it's remake, might be the only way to get these movies out there on DVD...so if the studio thinks a film isn't commercial enough to get it's own release, I wish they'd be considerate and give it to the fans as a bonus feature when the opportunity presents itself! I feel sorry for fans of the first version of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA as well...there seems to be no hope for it now that the 2 later, better known versions are out. [​IMG] I would've loved a triple feature set for ZENDA similar to THE MALTESE FALCON special edition with all it's earlier versions (love that release!)

    Anyway...looking forward to getting my copy of Errol Flynn vol. 2, and I really hope we see (along with THAT FORSYTHE WOMAN of course [​IMG]) THE PERFECT SPECIMEN (with one of my favorites, Joan Blondell!), FOUR'S A CROWD, VIRGINIA CITY, SAN ANTONIO, CRY WOLF, and SILVER RIVER released soon. [​IMG]

    P.S. Jim Bur - I wonder if Warner's saving these Flynn westerns for a reason? Perhaps they want to group them all together in a set to make it easier for westerns fans to get 'em all in one place? I would've spread 'em out over a few boxsets, for the sake of variety, but who knows...
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    That certainly is not the case with Warners for the last few years.


    Regards,
     
  14. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    The glimpses of TOO MUCH, TOO SOON offered in "The Adventures of Errol Flynn" documentary look awfully tempting, particularly considering Flynn's relationship to Barrymore. Perhaps a collection of show biz biographies: INTERRUPTED MELODY (Marjorie Lawrence), MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (Annette Kellerman)(, THE HELEN MORGAN STORY, THE STORY OF WILL ROGERS, THE EDDIE CANTOR STORY, MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (Annette Kellerman), LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING (Marilyn Miller), THE LADY WITH RED HAIR (Mrs. Leslie Carter), SO THIS IS LOVE (Grace Moore). I wish that WB would do/have access to the type of bio-documentary that Fox does (e.g., LILLIAN RUSSELL, the WILL ROGERS COLLECTION).
     
  15. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Agreed, Ken. The same is now true for Fox which has released an impressive number of '30s films with more on the way. Given the disasterous 1937 fire that wiped out many of their holdings, its a minor miracle that Fox is able to release any 30s product at all. Even Universal has dipped into the 30s well with the Marx Brothers and WC Fields.

    Warners really dominates the '30s market though since so many genuine classics came from that era and the relatively high quality of surviving materials.

    I agree with the decision to exclude the earlier DAWN PATROL. If this were a standalone release, maybe, but not in a Flynn centered collection.

    Thanks to RAH for his comments. I'll second the motion for an "authorized" SANTE FE TRAIL at some point in the future. Historically accurate it is not, but, in my opinion, it's a fun film nonetheless.

    Steve
     
  16. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    Volume 3 would look like this:

    -Silver River
    -Virginia City
    -That Forsythe Woman
    -Edge of Darkness
    -Uncertain Glory
     
  17. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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    I would buy all the titles mentioned in the previous posts in a wink, but would also add 3 of my very favorite Flynn movies: Desperate Journey (42), Escape Me Never (47) and The Green Light (37). [​IMG] That would be splendid!
     
  18. serenapowell

    serenapowell Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't really see a problem with including the early version of THE DAWN PATROL, as a bonus feature, even in an Errol Flynn Collection. I think Flynn fans might be curious to see a version of the story without Flynn - even if only to confirm to themselves how very essential he was in the role. [​IMG]

    Besides, it's not like Warner DVDs have never included even totally unrelated bonus features, like Pete Smith Specialties, Joe McDoakes shorts, etc, that have no real connection to the film in question. So I don't see why the inclusion of a much more relevant extra, like the earlier version of DAWN PATROL, in this case, would be inappropriate... but that's just me. [​IMG]

    And if it really would be wrong to include this related curiosity, as some of you say, well then THE DAWN PATROL could have been released as a standalone double-feature DVD, and another Errol Flynn movie could've taken it's place in his Signature Collection, right? After all, there's plenty more great films of his to choose from! [​IMG] Btw, I like your suggestions, CinéKarine.
     
  19. Jim Bur

    Jim Bur Stunt Coordinator

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    Serena: A boxset exclusively devoted to Flynn westerns would be an excellent idea. However, I'm not very confident that Warners has any such plans. Unless you are dealing with John Wayne, fans of the western genre can consider themselves lucky if Warners deigns to include 1 or 2 westerns in a box set, and even when they do include a western they often chose the weakest option (example: the Robert Mitchum boxset when they chose The Good Guys and the Bad Guys as the only western in the set over the excellent westerns Blood On the Moon, The Lusty Men, and Rachel and the Stranger, or the Gary Cooper boxset when they chose to include the weak Dallas instead of the classic The Hanging Tree). Warners has shown they are outstanding in almost every category except for westerns, where they seem to have a real blind spot. However, I do hope they will turn around and prove me wrong.
     
  20. Jim Bur

    Jim Bur Stunt Coordinator

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    Ken: Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. The fact that Flynn has no part in the Bugs Bunny or Porky Pig cartoons or other special features in his box set, doesn't stop those from being included. Outside of another movie or short feature starring Flynn himself, I can think of nothing more relevant than a presentation of the source material on which the Flynn film was based, in this case the original version of The Dawn Patrol. Even more so in this case, since much of the flying footage from this film was included in the Flynn version. What other opportunites are there going to be in the near future for the original version to come out on DVD? I have heard of nothing which would suggest that Warners has any plans to release the original version either on its own or part of a boxset. Not getting it included with the Flynn version for all practical purposes means not getting it period!
     

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