The new books shelf in Arts continues to amaze and delight; and occasionally perplex and bewilder! A couple of new books about “Australia’s own” Errol Flynn set me to thinking…..

Errol & Olivia : ego & obsession in golden era Hollywood by Robert Matzen

GoodKnight Books, 2010

GoodKnight Books, 2010

Errol Flynn slept here : the Flynns, the Hamblens, Rick Nelson, and the most notorious house in Hollywood by Robert Matzen and Michael Mazzone

Goodknight Books, 2009

Goodknight Books, 2009

These two large format books about the “Tasmanian Devil” are as fascinating to look at as to read. Packed with previously unpublished photographs, they focus on two very distinct aspects of Flynn’s extravagantly lived life in Hollywood, senasational stories but not sensationalised.

His onscreen partnership with Olivia de Havilland resulted in a series of truly marvellous films such as Captain Blood, Robin Hood (still the best version imho!), The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dodge City, to name just four of the eight. This book explores both their onscreen and off-screen lives together, making sense of their somewhat surprising professional and personal regard.

With co-author Michael Mazzone, Matzen also unveils the secret history of the house that Flynn built for himself on Mulholland Drive in L.A., notoriously designed with secret staircases, sliding panels and two-way mirrors in the guest quarters! Following on from Flynn,  the property was owned by a succession of celebrities, including teen-idol Ricky Nelson, before being torn down in the late 1980s; cultural vandalism indeed!

 

The baron of Mulholland : a daughter remembers : a photo memoir by Rory Flynn ; co-edited with William R. Bremer 

Xlibris Corporation, 2006

Xlibris Corporation, 2006

 This slightly older book by Flynn’s daughter Rory, a well  respected photographer, tells a more personal and intimate story of life within the Flynn family. She reveals yet another side to this truly complex man, as well as paying tribute to her brother Sean who went missing in Vietnam whilst covering the war as a photojournalist.

 

Errol Flynn : Satan’s angel by David Bret

Robson Books, 2000

Robson Books, 2000

This one’s not quite so cosy! Sexual predator, anti-Semite, misogynist, etc., etc., Bret goes full tilt at the things many other biographies just hint at, or leave out entirely. Flynn however tends to have the last laugh, as in his own “scandalous” autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, he owns up to just about all of it anyway!

Which is all just scratching the surface of our Flynniana (sic) collection!  Search the catalogue for Errol Flynn and you’ll find even more books investigating his life and films, soundtracks to some of his greatest movies, two of his own novels and even this rather weird photograph from our Picture Collection titled (dubiously, if you ask me) “Producers? with male actor Errol Flynn lookalike!”

Accession no(s) H92.20/2952

Accession no(s) H92.20/2952

Sure, and I bear a striking resemblance to Zasu Pitts!  If this chap looks like anybody it’s Joel McCrea, don’t you think?

 

 

This article has 1 comment

  1. Definitely Joel McCrea.

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