Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Warriors ( 1955 )

By 1955, Errol Flynn, that rakish swashbuckling actor of the 1930s, was no longer the young and frisky new kid on the block. He was a veteran of some fifteen adventure films, and all that vine-swinging, sword fighting, heavy drinking, and wooing of women took its toll on the physical appearance of the handsome lad. In The Warriors, Errol is slightly plumper around the waist and his step is not quite as spry as it once was, but the glint is still in his eyes and he remains as handsome as ever....at least, for this viewer. 

Walter Mirisch, who was production head of Allied Artists, the studio that was releasing The Warriors ( the most prestigious production in the history of the company ) wrote that: "[Flynn] did not look well in the picture. His face was puffy and he was clearly too old for the role, but I hoped careful photography might offset that. It didn't. Before we started to shoot, I asked him to diet and hopefully lose some weight, which he didn't do. There were only traces left of the face, physique and charm that he had brought to The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and all those other great adventure films of his youth."
The Warriors, released in England as The Dark Avenger, tells the story of the 14th-century ruler, Edward the Black Prince, portrayed by Flynn, who quells an uprising plot devised by the French nobleman Comte Robert De Ville ( Peter Finch ). Joanne Dru is cast as the young and comely widow Lady Joan Holland, who takes shelter with her two sons within the walls of the Prince's castle.

Daniel B. Ullman penned the script which, while hardly outstanding, is entertaining enough and easy to follow ( always a plus with "historical" films ). It moves along at a brisk pace and gives you little chance to yawn. The capable Henry Levin ( Journey to the Center of the Earth ) took the directorial helm and the beautiful background scenery was captured on location in England on the grounds of Elstree Studios where they utilized the castle that MGM had erected for Ivanhoe ( 1952 ). 
Rounding out the cast is Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Holt, Michael Hordern, and Robert Urquhart....but, alas, no Alan Hale. He passed away five years earlier.

2 comments:

  1. I think it's an underrated Flynn film and among the best of his 1950s output. The generic U.S. title probably didn't help at the box office. True, Errol looks older, but at least he wasn't trying to play a young guy.

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  2. I feel embarrassed for not even being aware of this title. It was interesting to read the details.

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