PG, 1 hr. 42 min. Directed By: Michael Curtiz, Alan Hale. Release Date: May 14, 1938. DVD Release Date: Sep 30, 2003.
I’m beginning to think that there isn’t anything Errol Flynn might have done in his life that I wouldn’t be a fan of. I have to respect a man that brings a sort of pre-Jack Sparrow flair to swashbuckling that is both fun and totally unapologetic. I said after I watched Captain Blood that I knew where Johnny Depp got his inspiration for Jack Sparrow, but I’m betting that there’s a little bit of ALL of Errol Flynn’s characters in ole Cap’n Jack.
But it isn’t just Johnny Depp that borrowed from this movie. Just about every Robin Hood movie I’ve ever seen borrowed heavily from this movie. Prince of Thieves mirrors it about 80% of the time, and Disney’s version of Robin Hood was so closely influenced by this classic that I have no doubt why Prince John was drawn as a sniveling lion, and Robin Hood as a preening fox. They even took Robin’s costume in the archery contest DIRECTLY from this movie. When I saw Flynn appear in the costume, I immediately looked at his legs to see if he was walking on stilts like the “Spindle-Legged Stork” of Yorkshire or wherever.
I am; however, beginning to think that no matter how ridiculous the role, that Flynn’s roles are always so beguiling charming that I’ll root for them regardless of the cause. It might just be truth. It’s certainly been the pattern to date. I always like Flynn’s characters, even when I’m groaning a little inside at his wink wink, nudge nudge routine. He’s funny without feeling like you’ve gotten strafed by a Jim Carrey routine, and the movies are so family friendly that the kids will love this stuff, although I’m betting you’ll hear comments about the weird clothes and people “talking funny.” Even accounting for the “British” English the speech patterns are odd, but I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be.
I don’t have much to complain about. I love seeing a movie like this, that’s a classic for a reason, and that is also vaguely familiar because it’s influenced and inspired so many other movies that I’ve liked over the years. Granted the inspiration tale isn’t exactly foreign, but it’s very cool seeing a much older (and in many ways, better) version of movies I’m familiar with. I also have to respect how comfortable these guys were with being this goofy. Not for the first time, I wish more movies of this sword and swashbuckler type were not only being made, but were uncorrupted by The Matrix.