Australasian Cinema > films >


Flynn (Frank Howson, 1993) aka My Forgotten Man; Boulevard Films; wr. Frank Howson, Alister Webb; Guy Pearce, John Savage, Steven Berkoff, Claudia Karvan; Guy Pearce as young Errol Flynn; story of Errol Flynn's early years in Australia and PNG; partly filmed Fiji

Completely dramatised biopic (with Fiji standing in for New Guinea - why?) and so to be compared with Simon Nasht's telemovie Tasmanian Devil: The Fast and Furious Life of Errol Flynn (Simon Nasht, 2007), which is a documentary using actuality footage and interviews (and quotes this film). Watching this, I thought it must be Guy Pearce's first feature film, as he is so bland. But this was generally released after Priscilla, and also after Dating the Enemy (in which he also worked with Claudia Karvan)—tho perhaps made before? Anyway, the fact that such a competent actor phones in this performance can only mean that he had no interest in the story, which must be down to the director. ...
DirectorS, as it turns out. It now seems that I might have been right, and this was Pearce's first role in a feature. The film was first shot in 1989, with Brian Kavanagh directing, in Melbourne, Cairns and Fiji. In 1990, at Cannes, distribution was only agreed to if much of it was reshot with different actors (tho Pearce was retained). The second version, with the additional material directed by Howson, was screened at Cannes as My Forgotten Man in 1993 (hence the date I've adopted above) tho it was only generally released in 1997 or 1998.
Trivia: Actors playing Charles Chauvel and his partner Elsa appears in the film in connexion with the making of In the Wake of the Bounty. I noticed in the credits that Alan Smithee plays a 'man in black' and that the director plays an opium-smoker. Also, all of the Fijian villagers are credited with first names only.
I haven't yet found any professional reviews and will, for the first and perhaps last time, quote an IMDb user's review.

One wonders how Flynn could have failed so badly as a cinema release in 1997 with Guy Pearce aptly in the lead role. It is not often that the casting of someone so famous is so exactly right. Flynn was a stumbler at the box office and did not end up on cinema screens in Australia ... even after La Confidential ...! From a dazzling nude scene in the first few minutes (presumably by Guy Pearce) Flynn gets off to a fairly robust and interesting start. Sadly, Flynn runs out of steam after about the first 35 minutes and with the entrance of hammy Steven Berkoff in a detour to New Guinea, (looking and acting like he wanted the Klaus Kinski role in Fitzcarraldo) the film starts to resemble a telemovie rather than a major cinema biography. Believe it or not, by about the 70 minute mark, it is boring and you are glad to see it over. ... the movie caused a mutiny at the box office and unlike The Bounty sank without trace. ptb-8, IMDb.

Garry Gillard | New: 12 December, 2012 | Now: 5 April, 2020