Errol Flynn stars in three films making their DVD debut this week, including his final swashbuckler. (All films here are available online at warnerarchive.com.)
“The Warriors” (aka “The Dark Avenger,” Warner Archive/DVD, 1955). This colorful CinemaScope epic was Errol Flynn’s last outing as a swashbuckling righter of wrongs. Here, he plays the Prince of Wales attempting to rule 14th-century France following the Hundred Years' War. But Peter Finch, as an evil French count, has other ideas. Joanne Dru provides romance.
Flynn is four years away from his death at age 50, and some of his legendary hard living shows on his face, but he’s no less a commanding screen presence, and his sword fights manage to muster the requisite excitement. Co-stars include three unbilled future stars: Christopher Lee, Patrick McGoohan and Ian Bannen.
“Another Dawn” (Warner Archive/DVD, 1937, b/w, trailer). Between the world wars, Flynn is stationed in the Sahara Desert. When his commanding officer and best friend (Ian Hunter) brings his new wife (Kay Francis) to the remote outpost, she and Flynn fall in love. It seems Francis married Hunter on the rebound after losing her fiance in a plane accident, but she plans to honor her commitment regardless of her feelings for Flynn — although fate may have other plans.
“Escape Me Never” (Warner Archive/DVD, 1947, b/w, trailer). This soap opera is filled with credulity-stretching contrivances, but the players, cast in roles that take them out of their usual arenas, are all sturdy. Flynn is a penniless composer torn between two women, a young widow (Ida Lupino), whom he eventually marries, and a wealthy heiress (Eleanor Parker), who becomes engaged to his brother (Gig Young). Set in Venice at the turn of the 20th century.
“Mary Ryan, Detective” (Sony Choice/DVD, 1949, b/w). Marsha Hunt stars as the title character, a female police detective (quite a rarity in 1949) who goes undercover in prison as a convicted felon to track down a gang of jewel thieves. After her release, she becomes part of the gang, but then she’s spotted by someone she once arrested.
“Klondike Kate” (Sony Choice/DVD, 1943, b/w). Ann Savage as the title character arrives in the rowdy town of Totem Pole, Alaska, with a deed for a saloon inherited from her father. But when she gets there, she’s swindled — and that’s just the beginning of the underhanded double-dealing in this low-budget programmer that reunites Savage with Tom Neal, her co-star in the classic film noir “Detour.”
“The Fighting Marshal” (Sony Choice/DVD, 1931, b/w). Tim McCoy vehicle has the Western star breaking out of prison to prove he was falsely convicted, unaware that he was about to be pardoned. He also doesn’t realize that the man who helped him escape is a ruthless gunslinger.