THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF ERROL FLYNN by Lionel Godfrey

THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF ERROL FLYNN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Britisher Godfrey is considerably more literate and cinema-wise than most movie-star biographers, but what can you say about Errol Flynn? That he was ""impossibly handsome,"" marginally talented (as actor or writer), and ""in the best sense a hedonist."" That he was a lousy father, worse husband, incorrigible womanizer (teens preferred), but probably Not Guilty of those rape and paternity charges. And that he was a liar and embroiderer--as Godfrey shows by exposing the rampant falsehoods and half-truths in Flynn's posthumous My Wicked, Wicked Ways (seising on such nit-picking discrepancies as ""Jewels"" and, later, ""diamonds""). Though there is some attempt to bring out an inner Flynn--sensitive, self-aware, peace-seeking--the familiar ""Flynn-anigans"" blot it out, and the self-destructive plummet (death at 50, with the body of an old man) eludes explanation. Godfrey's relative strength is in analyzing the films--responding, with boyish (over)enthusiasm, to the early swashbucklers like Captain Blood and (especially) Robin Hood; indulging in unnecessary but diverting discussions of film music (his specialty). But Flynn's sad, bad life holds no buried treasure, and--lies or no lies--it's far more entertaining in the Wicked, Wicked version.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's