The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) Errol Flynn Day 4 of 5
Errol Flynn in technicolor! Has to be considered a good thing and for this WB extravaganza Errol doesn’t disappoint his fans.
Flynn as Don Juan had to seem a like a natural fit in 1948 due to his off screen antics and his reputation as a swashbuckler/lover on screen. The film had actually been on his plate for a number of years but due to one reason or another kept being delayed. This time out the film starts in on a light hearted scene with Errol and a would be conquest that goes awry when she announces she has a husband who then turns up catching Errol in the ladies chambers. Preferring to dodge a fight first Errol is out the balcony and down to his waiting horse and servant played by Errol’s long time screen companion Alan Hale. This was the last of their 13 films together as Hale was to sadly pass away not long after this films production. From one close call we go to another as Errol is mistaken as a member of the Royal Spanish family who is enroute to an arranged wedding in London. The comical scenarios continue until Errol is sent back to Spain and the film takes a decided turn towards the serious. Here we have Errol in the court of Spain and loyal to the Queen played by Viveca Lindfors. With plenty of court intrigue and Robert Douglas’ quest for power Errol finds himself battling the evil forces that would undermine the King and Queen of Spain and abuse their loyal subjects throughout the country.
At this point in his career Errol was facing the end of his prime years but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the action and swordplay as there is plenty. All of which is accompanied by a rousing score from Max Steiner. The film is well directed by Warner’s journeyman Vincent Sherman and captures a wonderful duel between Flynn and the evil Douglas at the film’s conclusion. For me when I think of an actor with a sword in his hand I look no further than Flynn. With all due respect to Douglas who makes for a slimy villain I must admit it would have been nice to see a rematch with Flynn and his old nemesis Basil Rathbone just one more time.
There are some great moments here for Flynn from the rousing finale with a bandana on to keep his long hair in place to a teary eyed scene where he professes his love for the Queen. As is customary with WB productions we get a decent supporting cast consisting of Hale, Una O’Connor and a brutish Raymond Burr as a dungeon officer out to do as much harm to our hero as is possible. Andy Hardy’s girl Ann Rutherford shows up as well with eyes only for Don Juan which puts Errol in a rather uncomfortable situation. Viveca Lindfors is very stoic as the Queen and does a nice job of trying to keep her composure and not succumb to the charms of Flynn. Showing up at the very end in a tempting situation for our Don Juan is real life Flynn wife Nora Eddington.
Plenty of trivia for this title including borrowed shots from Robin Hood and Elizabeth and Essex to would be Tarzan Jock Mahoney as Errol’s stand in. Fun film that deserves multiple viewings from the final years of Flynn’s prime.