|Errol Flynn as Mike Campbell in The Sun Also Rises.|
Errol Flynn died at the age of 50, a little over two years after appearing in 1957's The Sun Also Rises. Ernest Hemingway's novel is a story of people whose lives had been changed forever, some ruined, by the horrors of World War I. Hemingway's characters were damaged human beings who had lost their personal centers of identity with their war experiences, and they wandered in disillusionment and disenchantment. Flynn's character, Mike Campbell, is the most heartbreaking, and his performance was superb. The Sun Also Rises was not his last film, but it was his last significant performance, one which should have put to rest once and for all the ridiculous question of whether or not Errol Flynn was a real actor.
|Errol Flynn, Eddie Albert and Tyrone Power|
It has been said that the character of Mike Campbell was so much like Flynn himself that it did not require much acting on his part. To my mind, that criticism shows incredible ignorance of acting as a craft as well as a gift. Mike Campbell was an aging playboy, a man of great charm whose looks and money were gone, a man forced to question all of the decisions of his life. Flynn was at this time toward the end of his life and learning what we all learn -- the mistakes of our youth catch up with us.
|Even in his older years -- always a dash of color in a drab world|
(From Crossed Swords)
|Errol Flynn and Ava Gardner|
He might have not have won because he would have faced stiff competition that year -- Red Buttons, who won for Sayonara, and Sessue Hayakawa, nominated for The Bridge On The River Kwai, both gave fantastic performances. Vittorio de Sica was wonderful in A Farewell To Arms. But do you know who the the other nominees were? Russ Tamblyn and Arthur Kennedy for Peyton Place! No disrespect intended to those actors, but for that movie and those performances, it was an absolute joke. Somebody wanted to be sure Flynn was left out, and did so in such a manner that they may as well have knocked on his door and slapped his face. Shameful.
Even today, when our culture is supposedly more tolerant and open, and when Flynn is more loved than ever before by classic film fans, his loving daughter Rory has been trying to get a tribute to her Father from the Oscar people, and recently had to post on her aforementioned website: Dear supporters, We have all struggled to have the Academy of Motion Pictures award a posthumous Oscar to Errol Flynn. I am sad to share with you that the academy will not be able to do so. The president of the Academy, Mr. Sid Janis has informed me that the academy will not and has not given the award posthumously. It is a sad moment for me personally and I know to the many who share with me the joy and happiness that Errol Flynn brought to the screen and to our hearts. Thank you for your support. Rory. What the hell? But then, Flynn himself probably would have said, "What the hell - I lived a man's life and loved it all. They know what they can do with their award." (I made that up, but it sounds plausible!)
I am providing a link to Youtube so that any interested readers who have not done so, can see first-hand the quality of Flynn's performance in The Sun Also Rises. Actually, the link is to the entire movie, which surprised me to find. I am providing here 3 particular scenes in which Flynn just shines, with the exact places for you to forward to to find them. If you choose to watch these, I hope you enjoy them. It is worth every second.
(Opening credits with composer Hugo Friedhofer's magnificent score:)
From the very beginning to the director's credit.
Cafe scene after bullfight:
1:16:20 - 1:19:16
Outdoor cafe after the fiesta:
1:34:20 - 1:37:10
Flynn's best small scene, very short, shows Mike as he is in private
1:51:20 - 1:53:22