All posts tagged: 2017

The King of the Swashbuckler: Errol Flynn and His Early Screen Persona

The dashing, daring Errol Flynn was certainly not Hollywood’s first swashbuckling hero. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. originated the swashbuckler type in the silent era, starring in films such as The Mark of Zorro (1920) and Robin Hood (1922), but Flynn would go on to establish his own distinct and definitive hero, particularly in the historical action films of his early career. While his films are still significant, Errol Flynn as the ailing, troubled figure of his tragic later years pervades the public’s understanding of him today. A common belief posited by actor Christopher Lee in the 2007 documentary Tasmanian Devil: The Fast and Furious Life of Errol Flynn, asserts, “[Flynn’s] films are the least interesting thing about him.” It was his films however, that captured the public’s attention and fascination in the first place; his image and persona augmented by Warner Bros. construction of his real-life adventures.  It was those real life experiences and Flynn’s adventurous spirit that were used to the studio’s advantage to add a larger-than-life air to his films. Were his films not …

The Decline in Popularity of the Western Film Genre

For a long time, the Western was one of the dominant genres in the American film industry. After getting off to a good start in the silent film era, it declined throughout the 1920s and 30s before experiencing a resurgence in the 1940s. At that point, it became extremely popular in the United States and helped create such iconic stars as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. However, beginning in the 1970s, audience appetite for the genre began to wane. Nowadays, very few Western films are produced. Unlike many other genres, even when a Western becomes popular and is financially successful, it does not necessarily lead to a rush from the studios to make more or a clamoring from audiences to see more. Although, even among the few Westerns that are produced, true financial successes are few and far between. Additionally, the way critics and audiences respond to the Western, and the way studios have begun to regard the genre, has changed dramatically over the last several decades. I am going to look at two films, …