Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Screen Duo

in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland's communal career differed from that of other well-known screen pairs of the era in that despite their onscreen chemistry and the popularity of their pictures, their home studio never really developed movies specifically designed to exploit their joint appeal. Rather, with a single exception (the screwball comedy FOUR'S A CROWD (1938)), their films together are primarily a series of costume adventure films showcasing Flynn as a dashing swashbuckler or heroic cavalryman with de Havilland playing his love interest with varying degrees of character strength and spirit but never-wavering charm and beauty.

Their first film together, CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935) set the standard for future Flynn-de Havilland pairings, and in it, both screen novices quickly established themselves as competent performers whose classic good looks and patrician speaking styles made them well-suited to period pieces.

...As a result, though de Havilland demonstrates as much of a flare for feisty, spirited heroines as Flynn does for mischievous, swashbuckling heroes, her thespian skills are adequately evinced in only half of the films, and it wasn't until the seventh in the series that she joined Flynn with co-star billing above the title.


Unlike other studios which developed film formulas to showcase popular screen teams like Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney, Myrna Loy & William Powell, or Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy, when it came to Flynn and de Havilland, Warner Bros.... Their characters only live happily ever after in four of the films, and Flynn's character actually dies in three of the others. Rather than a conscious effort to give movie audiences what they wanted, Flynn and de Havilland's numerous joint ventures for Warner Bros.(reel

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