While every Errol Flynn fan has individual titles they will champion as 'Essential' Flynn, "The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2", combined with the first volume, offers a pretty complete collection of the premier screen cavalier's most memorable screen appearances...and two of the films in this collection ("The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "The Adventures of Don Juan"), are absolute MUSTS!
"The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936): Flynn's follow-up to "Captain Blood" is a tour-de-force of adventure, romance, and spectacle, climaxing in, arguably, the greatest (and bloodiest) cavalry charge in screen history! More Rudyard Kipling than Tennyson, most of the story occurs in India, with noble Flynn saving the life of a genocide-minded tyrant, losing Olivia de Havilland (for once!) to future 'Will Scarlet' Patric Knowles, and chumming with doomed best friend (both on and off screen), David Niven. Eventually the action moves to the Crimea, and the infamous Charge, an astonishing spectacle that, sadly, cost the lives of at least one stunt man, and hundreds of horses (Flynn, himself, would be so distraught by the carnage that he helped establish the present standards against animal cruelty).
"The Adventures of Don Juan" (1948): Warner's attempt to resuscitate Flynn's sagging career failed, but the film is an absolutely enchanting, tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler many consider his last 'great' film! Looking a bit worn (he fell off the wagon early in the production, which ended up taking nearly a year to complete), Flynn is the immortal roué, too often caught during trysts (a familiar real-life dilemma for Flynn!). Returned to Spain in disgrace, accompanied by loyal Alan Hale (in the last of his 12 films with Errol), he eventually wins the heart of the Queen, foils a plot to overthrow the monarchy, and fights a furious duel with villain Robert Douglas, all to one of the GREATEST of Max Steiner's scores!
A real TREAT!
Two other films of the collection are also great Flynn; "The Dawn Patrol" (1938) re-teams Flynn with David Niven and Basil Rathbone (a VERY sympathetic 'villain', this time!), in one of the BEST WWI dramas, of burnt-out fliers pushed to their limits; "Gentleman Jim" (1942), one of Flynn's own personal favorites, is a funny, light-hearted biopic of boxer James J. Corbett, father of 'modern' boxing, with fabulous turns by Alan Hale (as Flynn's FATHER!), and Ward Bond (unforgettable as the aging John L. Sullivan).
The only (slight) disappointment is "Dive Bomber" (1941), in the collection, I suspect, because it was filmed in color! A dated tale of the Navy's research into the effects of high altitude flying on pilots, the film boasts a first-rate cast (including Fred MacMurray and Ralph Bellamy), and Flynn at his most handsome, but it lacks the charm and excitement of the other titles...Still, this isn't a bad film!
Happily, Flynn is BACK...and with his five WWII-themed films still to be released, perhaps a Flynn 'War' collection will be next!