In real life, Errol Flynn was no pushover. Despite devastating good looks and a wickedly easygoing charm, he could hold his own in either a one-on-one fightfight or a barroom brawl. He was, in fact, one of the most feared fighters in Hollywood.
"Gentleman Jim," the story of 19th century boxer James J. Corbett, gave Warner Brothers a chance to put their bad boy on display at his physical best -- exhibiting a lean, mean physique and an undeniable flair for ring work. His toothy grin, devil-may-care charm and boyish glee in a good fight all combined to make "Gentleman Jim" one of the 1940s' most compelling films, and one of Warner Brothers' biggest hits.
It is interesting to note that during the filming of "Gentleman Jim," Flynn collapsed and was carted off to the hospital. He was diagnosed, at the ripe old age of 32, of having had a mild heart attack. His co-star in the film, Alexis Smith, visited him and begged him to slow down his destructive lifestyle. Flynn, she later said, flashed that beautiful smile of his and shook his head.
"I enjoy this side of life," he told her, "and don't care to see the other side." END