An interesting assortment of films that shows Errol Flynn's interesting range.
How do short subjects that have nothing to do with movies in this collection qualify as extras?
Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 serves up five films from this acclaimed actor's screen legacy. As someone who lived a life seeking adventure that rivaled his adventures on the big screen, this set does it's best to capture the essence of the kind of performer Flynn was. The following are the films in the collection:
- Adventures of Don Juan
- The Charge of the Light Brigade
- The Dawn Patrol
- Dive Bomber
- Gentlemen Jim
Adventures of Don Juan follow this legendary swashbuckler (Errol Flynn) as he swings from adventure to romance and back again. In The Charge of the Light Brigade, Errol Flynn leads the British Lancers as Major Geoffrey Vickers in this action epic. Flynn continues on with the military in The Dawn Patrol. In this film he plays Captain Courtney a pilot who must reconcile the dirty business of war. The Dive Bomber sees Flynn as Lt. Douglas Lee in the United States Navy. Confronting the problems of high altitude in which certain pilots black out, this film features some of the most amazing aerial footage ever committed to film. Lastly, James C. Corbett (Flynn) changes the game of boxing in Gentlemen Jim.
Errol Flynn was a lot like today's actors in that he got almost as much attention for his offscreen antics as he did for his on-screen ones. Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 is an interesting look at this debonair actor who seemed to truly embody the adventurous roles he played.
Radio Show Adaptation
Sadly, the sound for the feature is a bit up and down but the good news is that you can fast forward and go back if you want to. The reading of this Gentlemen Jim radio show is quite good, as is the music and sound effects that accompany it. The only problem that I have with this is that sometimes they let the music run too long in between people saying anything. Also, they haven't cleaned this up that much so there is a lot of that audio hiss, some mistakes in the reading, and even hits on this track as well.
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Warner Night at the Movies 1936 Short Subjects Gallery
Adventures of Don Juan
Vincent Sherman and Film Historian Rudy Behlmer talk through this track providing some interesting anecdotes. It's a good thing that Sherman has Behlmer on here simply because sometimes Sherman will start a story, and he tells it in such a way that it makes no sense. That gets annoying very quickly. There's also too many times where they just let the movie play and don't say anything. Sherman discusses directing Errol Flynn, how the actor always had people doing jobs for him (reconstructing his pool for instance), and Behlmer is quite helpful when he discusses the history of Don Juan. All in all, I think you can skip this track unless of course you loved this movie.
The Dawn Patrol
Warner Night at the Movies 1938 Short Subjects Gallery
Keep 'Em In the Air Featurette
This features Film Historian Robert Osborne (who appears on a lot of the Turner Classic Movies featurettes and the TCM TV station) and Rudy Behlmer among others, as they talk about how Dive Bomber got made, how involved the Navy was in this production, and how much this movie looks like a documentary. They also pointed out how this movie featured an Errol Flynn that audiences really hadn't seen before. Lastly, apparently Jack Warner loved the musical compositions of Max Steiner who scored a lot of films for the studio.
All of the films in this collection are: Standard Version presented in a format preserving the Aspect Ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. All of the films in this set are in black and white except for Dive Bomber and the Adventures of Don Juan. For the most part the color films look pristine. The black and white films are strong but on some of them, notably Gentlemen Jim, the picture seemed to shake a little bit on my screen. Beyond that, these movies all looked to be well compressed but I don't think Warner Bros. went through these movies frame by frame.
Dolby Digital. English Mono. The sound on these movies was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I haven't had really any bad experiences with these Warner Bros. collections, but I guess I was more impressed with how little I needed to turn the audio the up on these DVDs. These things weren't even leveled half way up on my TV and they played really nicely. I didn't get any audio hiss and I didn't notice any pops in the soundtrack.
A tuxedoed Errol Flynn appears on the front of this slipcase cover which is embossed with his name and the name of this collection. The back portion of this release lists out all the movies and offers up very tiny descriptions of each. There is even a small mention of some of the special features. On the bottom of this slipcase is a listing of this collection's system specs. Each movie is nicely stored in a slim case which showcases the films original one sheet. The back covers list out more in-depth information on each movie. All in all, this packaging has an air of class about it, much like the person for whom this collection is about.
I enjoyed Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 but it wasn't one of the best collections I have ever reviewed. I liked the movies, I just wish that they had better plots. For the most part, it seemed like Flynn pretty much played the same character in each film, however he did stand out quite well in The Dawn Patrol. That movie also went a little bit deeper on a character level than most of the others in this collection. Still, it was nice to get to look at some of the films that Errol Flynn made, I just wish I could have seen him star in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Too many times it seems like Warner Brothers puts together these collections around one or two movies. The other films merely seem like filler to fluff up the rest of the set. It isn't that these movies are bad, I just think if you are going to go to all the trouble to put together a collection, you might as well make all the films within the collection as strong as they can be.
In closing, I would say maybe rent Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2, or just pick a couple of the movies you really want to see.
The Dawn Patrol was released July 10, 1930.