Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection

Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection (2005)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Errol Flynn
Extras: Feature-length documentary, Featurettes, Cartoons, Shorts, Newsreels, Trailers

They have been sorely absent from DVD so far – some of the greatest films of Errol Flynn that is – and fortunately for fans of classic movies, Warner Home Video is now celebrating the actor with a Signature collection box set, containing five of his greatest movies and the feature-length documentary "The Adventures of Errol Flynn" on a sixth DVD.

The set starts out with the 1935 movie "Captain Blood, " the film that catapulted Flynn to Hollywood stardom and made him the swashbuckling hero he got so famous for. Opposite of Olivia DeHavilland he played the part with a conviction that made it his own. The film, directed by Michael Curtiz, is full of action sequences, high seas sword fighting and Flynn’s witty delivery of the dialogue.

In "Dodge City," he plays a sheriff in the Wild West, once again with Olivia De Havilland by his side and under the direction of Michael curtiz. Showing the same bravado as the swashbuckling hero, here he’s the colt-toting man of the law, dealing with lynch mobs and outlaws.

Michael Curtiz also directed Flynn in the 1939 film "The Private Lives Of Elizabeth Of Essex," a period drama in which he plays Queen Elizabeth I’s ambitious love interest. A bit too ambitious for the queen who fears for her throne and sends him off to a mission of no return. It’s a great movie with Bette Davis as the Queen and a story full of intrigue and drama.

In "The Sea Hawk" Michael Curtiz took Errol Flynn to sea once again, as he plays an English captain under the command of his adoring Queen, determined to plunder every Spanish ship he can find to raise money for the Queen to build up England’s fleet in expectation of the Spanish Armada. Glorious, fast-paced and incredibly dynamic, "The Sea Hawk" is a wonderful sea-faring adventure with a political theme that directly reflected the sensibilities of the time, as World War II was under way.

"They Died With Their Boots On" brings together Flynn and Olivia De Havilland again as the action star portrays General Custer chronicling the cavalryman’s career from its beginnings to the Civil War hero and his ultimate defeat at Little Big Horn.

All films have been restored and Warner is conjuring some marvelous images here once again. Considering that films like "Captain Blood" are 70 years old by now you would not believe your eyes. Without notable blemishes, the transfers are all clean and clear. Occasionally you will find some grain or minor scratches, but overall the quality is top notch and very impressive. The black and white films have wonderful contrast with good fall offs and wide range of grays to bring out every detail in the image. The Technicolor film are awash in luminous color and have the typical look of the era, making them so precious to behold.

The audio of each film has been cleaned up as well and though there are, of course, limitations in the original material, the presentations are never jarring or overly harsh. While the frequency response is still limited, Warner has been able to clean up the tracks, and make sure the presentation is always pleasing and without distortion.

Each of the films is presented as a "Warner Night At The Movies" feature, complete with newsreel, short films, and cartoons that made up the movie-going experience of the time. But also featurettes are included as well as radio productions, trailers and other extras.

The bonus disc found in the set, contains the 87-minute documentary "The Adventures of Errol Flynn" from 2004, created by the Turner Entertainment network. It covers the entire life of Errol Flynn, from his birth in Tasmania to passing in 1959. We get to see the real man and his escapades behind the camera that brought him into a lot of trouble and the boyish charm with which he always lead his life. It is a wonderful tribute to the legendary actor that deserves so much to be seen.

I think every boy admired Errol Flynn at one point or another. Who didn’t want to be a pirate swinging from ship to ship with a sword in his hand, always a witty remark on his lips, the ladies at his feet. Which boy didn’t dream of being Robin Hood one day, charming, helpful and adventurous? Who didn’t want to be like Flynn when he pulled out the six-shooter and became the law in the West? Errol Flynn is one of the icons Hollywood produced that will presumably never die. Even today, Errol Flynn is still in everyone’s mind when they visit Hollywood and hear of his mansion that is reportedly still haunted by his ghost… Humbug, you say? Well, maybe, but one thing is clear. Nothing and no one brings Errol Flynn down, and with this DVD set you can revisit the silver screen hero in some of his most poignant roles.