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25 October 2012

They don't make them like that anymore


New Guinea is forever linked to the phallic immortality of Errol Flynn. The documentary The Adventures of Errol Flynn includes rare footage and revealing interviews with Flynn; his oldest daughter, Deirdre Flynn; his widow, Patrice Wymore Flynn; and Olivia de Havilland, who talks frankly about her relationship with Flynn and the many movies they made together. Also featured are interviews with Richard Schickel, Burt Reynolds, Richard Dreyfuss, Joanne Woodward and many others. The film is a balanced portrait of this larger-than-life figure who became as famous for his off-screen adventures as his on-screen charisma.

I've just read again Roger McDonald's hugely entertaining book FLYNN which is a racy, rollicking tale of this young scoundrel who became a Hollywood legend. And it provides an interesting counterpoint to Flynn's autobiography My Wicked, Wicked Ways, published in 1959, the same year he died of liver failure, amongst other causes [read more].

Another book, dealing more exclusively with Errol Flynn's days in New Guinea, is The Young Errol Flynn Before Hollywood.

My Canadian friend's wife knew Errol Flynn more intimately than any other woman: she was a laboratory technologist at the time of his death and had the dubious honour of putting his liver in a jar for preservation and training purposes after his autopsy was completed. It remains in a preserved state at the University of British Columbia to this day.

Errol Flynn lived for half a century the sort of life adolescents dream of but men dare not attempt.