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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Errol Flynn: Signature Collection Volume 2



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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 26 2007 - 05:29 PM

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Errol Flynn: Signature Collection Volume 2

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)/The Dawn Patrol (1938)/Dive Bomber(1941)/Gentleman Jim (1942)/The Adventures of Don Juan(1948)

Ken McAlinden
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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Jim Bur

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Posted March 26 2007 - 05:40 PM

Thanks for the excellent reviews Ken. There is one typographical error in the first paragraph that'll you no doubt want to correct. I'm sure you meant to say that The Charge of the Light Brigade came on the heels of "Captain Blood", not the "The Sea Hawk".

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 26 2007 - 05:43 PM

Thanks Jim - corrected. At least I got my "Sea Hawk" reference correct in the part on "The Adventures of Don Juan". Posted Image

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#4 of 14 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 26 2007 - 09:36 PM

Thank you for the excellent review, I should have my boxset today and will probably start off watching The Charge of the Light Brigade. The final charge has always been one of my favorite action scenes.




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#5 of 14 OFFLINE   CineKarine

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Posted March 27 2007 - 12:23 AM

Thank you for another truly excellent review. Looking forward to receiving my set with even more anticipation now!
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#6 of 14 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 27 2007 - 01:36 AM

Just found out that my boxset won't arrive until tomorrow, but at least I'll have it soon.Posted Image

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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted March 27 2007 - 04:30 AM

Thanks for the review Ken. BTW, I could be wrong, but isn't Flynn's character in Light Brigade named Geoffrey Vickers?

Also, as to the film's historical accuracy, (or lack of the same). It is not as bad as it at first seems. At least it used entirely fictional characters to tell the stories in the film, so it bothers me less than Flynn's Custer film.

The Chakoti (I think that's what they called it in the film?) massacre was obviously based on the Cawnpore massacre which occurred in the Sepoy rebellion. However, it occurred historically after the Crimean War. We know the "reason why" for The Charge in the film is entirely fictional, but the charge itself looks like famous paintings of the era (and much more exciting than in the more accurate remake from the 60's). So, basically, the film depicts two historical events somewhat accurately, (though out of order), but heavily fictionalizes the circumstances, which is the hallmark of historical fiction.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 27 2007 - 04:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_B_K
Thanks for the review Ken. BTW, I could be wrong, but isn't Flynn's character in Light Brigade named Geoffrey Vickers?
You are correct, and I updated the review. "Charles" was the name of the character who played Flynn's superior
whose orders he alters.
Quote:
Also, as to the film's historical accuracy, (or lack of the same). It is not as bad as it at first seems. At least it used entirely fictional characters to tell the stories in the film, so it bothers me less than Flynn's Custer film.

The Chakoti (I think that's what they called it in the film?) massacre was obviously based on the Cawnpore massacre which occurred in the Sepoy rebellion. However, it occurred historically after the Crimean War. We know the "reason why" for The Charge in the film is entirely fictional, but the charge itself looks like famous paintings of the era (and much more exciting than in the more accurate remake from the 60's). So, basically, the film depicts two historical events somewhat accurately, (though out of order), but heavily fictionalizes the circumstances, which is the hallmark of historical fiction.
I would argue that the hallmark of "good" historical fiction is to interweave fictional characters and events with documented facts. While the recreations of the Charge and the quasi-Cawnpore massacre are staged impressively, presenting them in a context so divorced, and even contrary, to the real circumstances that led to them does something of a disservice to the memories of those who actually were involved. They might as well have made the film as a cowboys and indians western and called it something else. Who would want to see a movie where Millard Fillmore gives the Gettysburg Address after the battle of Yorktown standing atop the Alamo where he is shot by Lee Harvey Oswald? ... Okay, maybe I would, but I'm a sick person ...Posted Image

On the other hand, setting all of that aside, there's still a lot to enjoy about the film on its own terms (which is also kind of how I feel about JFK, but that's another thread entirely Posted Image).

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted March 27 2007 - 11:41 AM

Great review, Ken. Thank you. I look forward to seeing these DVDs.

Thanks to Warners for use of the slimcases and including some really great extras. Early Bob Hope is always welcome as is Joe McDoakes and those wonderful "historical" shorts. When Warners came up with the "Night at the Movies" concept several years back, it immediately had me hooked and I look forward to releases like this where it is utilized. I'm glad that even at age 80 Rudy Behlmer is still cranking out those wonderful commentaries.

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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted March 27 2007 - 02:02 PM

Today I bid a fond farewell to my last commercially produced VHS tape -- "The Dawn Patrol." I can't believe it's taken this long for the film to come out on DVD or how long it took for the Errol Flynn catalog to be released in general but the wait is finally over. I plan to sit down and watch it tonight. Hopefully these volume 2 discs won't have the same problem as the volume 1 titles where the Warner Night at the Movies "Play All" button is missing forcing you to wade through all the features separately.
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 27 2007 - 04:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Warner
... Hopefully these volume 2 discs won't have the same problem as the volume 1 titles where the Warner Night at the Movies "Play All" button is missing forcing you to wade through all the features separately.
The "Play All" feature is present and accounted for on the four discs with "Warner Night at the Movies" content.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted March 28 2007 - 03:04 AM

Thanks for the confirmation Ken.

Just noticed you're in Livonia. I grew up in Redford right next door.
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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted March 30 2007 - 12:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
Who would want to see a movie where Millard Fillmore gives the Gettysburg Address after the battle of Yorktown standing atop the Alamo where he is shot by Lee Harvey Oswald?

Thanks for a big laugh!
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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted March 30 2007 - 01:16 PM

Quote:
Who would want to see a movie where Millard Fillmore gives the Gettysburg Address after the battle of Yorktown standing atop the Alamo where he is shot by Lee Harvey Oswald? ... Okay, maybe I would, but I'm a sick person ...

Well, we are talking about, at most, a 3 year swing of events in the movie. Balaclava occured in 1854, and the Cawnpore massacre in 1857, and, yes, the order is reversed in the movie. So Millard Filmore and Yorktown and Gettysburg, covering approximately 80 years, and at least two distinct historical periods (Georgian and Victorian) is really a bit much as an example. I'm going to ignore the reference to Oswald (who I believe killed JFK alone-but that's another thread), which would make for a 180 year swing.

At least the events in THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE are both set during the period of Queen Victoria's wars, and both the Crimean War and the Sepoy Mutiny were part of the struggle between Russia and Great Britain that was called "The Great Game". The Charge itself is accurate as it depicts light cavalry attacking Russian artillery positions (albeit for the wrong "reason why"). And the Chukoti massacre is an accurate version of the Cawnpore massacre down to the smallest details. In terms of "history", I do believe one can learn something from the movie-a sense of Victorian colonial atmosphere if nothing else. I daresay that seeing that movie when I was a kid probably spurred me to read up on the subject to find out the real story.

It's probably no more innacurrate than, say, Stanley Kubrick's SPARTACUS. That movie moved events around as well, and Crassus's character was obviously based more on Sulla the Dictator ("the age of the dictator was at hand", intones the narrator at the beginning) than on the historical Crassus. And Charles Laughton's "Lentulus Gracchus" was obviously based on the brothers Gracchi, whose careers as populist tribunes occurred 60 to 70 years before Spartacus' revolt. Even more egregious examples would be Shakespeare's history plays, in which wrong characters are depicted performing deeds others performed, and characters are sometimes depicted as adults when they should have been children (and vice-versa). But one can probably get a better feel for the Wars of the Roses from Shakespeare than from a history book.

I do not want to defend THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE overly much as history. I simply meant that it is not quite as big a mess as it is sometimes depicted.

BTW, on another note: I mentioned in one of the threads about Essex's entry being used in DON JUAN as an entry for Flynn as Don Juan. Surprisingly, Flynn is quite visible as Essex when he gos through the portal, so you get to see a shot of Flynn from 1939 followed closely by a shot of him as Don Juan 10 years later. And the color alignment issues in that scene on the ESSEX disc are absent on the DON JUAN disc.


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