Captain Fabian : The Ugliest Errol Flynn Of All

Stay At Home orders have meant the consumption of lots of books and movies; the good, the bad and the ugly. This post may surprise you as it pertains to an Errol Flynn movie which I can only describe as the Ugliest Of All Time. You never thought you’de hear that from me, did you?

The Adventures Of Captain Fabian was released in 1951, during which time I suggest rigor mortis had started to set in.

Flynn plays a sea captain (Fabian) whose late father has been defrauded by a wealthy New Orleans family. Upon his return to New Orleans he becomes embroiled in a court case as a matter of revenge in which the Creole servant girl of said wealthy family is up for murder. She too is after revenge and what follows is illogical claptrap

Micheline Presle plays the servant girl. Beautiful looking lass but talk about a whiney, bitchy, evil mess. Definate bi polar. Let’s just say it isn’t her brains that attract Captain Fabian…… (She’s still alive at 98 years so lets leave it at that).

Oh, and she was married to the Director William Marshall at the time.

Flynn is credited with the adaptation of the screenplay. Oh, Errol mate, why would you put your name to that rubbish? What an appalling piece of drivel that makes little sense. Old Errol’s brain was on holidays in this one.

Vincent Price was the wealthy, fraudulent character. Playing a weakling with a murderous streak (literally), his performance must have rated as I was itching to hit him over the head with a cricket bat. That’s a good thing, right?

Back to my boy Flynn. *Still shaking my head in horror.

First of all there’s a bath scene. Flynn stands up and is wrapped in a towel. Looking at him at 42 years of age I likened it to an old man getting a sponge bath at the local nursing home. Sadly, it is an image that I will carry with me forever, though I have to question who was responsible for this exploitation. Shades of elder abuse….

Flynn’s performance lacks energy and indeed cracking a smile even seems beyond him. The youthful spring-in-his-step has gone and I wanted to recommend an orthopaedic surgeon.

At the conclusion of the movie, Fabian’s ship has been blown up and he is a criminal on the run, Vincent Price has been murdered, and the whiney but beautiful Creole dies with “Fabian” “Fabian” “Fabian” on repeat. At least ten times, still lisping to the very end. If that flag pole hadn’t killed her I would have……..

Then the piece de resistance : Fabian goes to pick up the body of the whiney one. Errol’s knees are buggered and it is so very obvious that his stunt double has to do the heavy lifting for him. Doesn’t even look like Flynn from the back except he’s got two arms, legs and black hair.

Or maybe Flynn finally regained his senses and just wanted to escape the whining one despite her ample….err….charms.

Interestingly, Errol made several movies when he was older and even more rugged around the edges such as Against All Flags and The Master Of Ballantrae, which still showed the remnants of his vigour and charm and are worth watching.

Captain Fabian can walk the plank for all I care. Absolute rubbish.

Will I go to Hell for this?

A Week Of War Movies

With ANZAC Day on April 25th and all in isolation I lost a week watching war movies, specifically Errol Flynn war movies.

Errol did battle and lost to the Red Baron in The Dawn Patrol, won the war over Germany in Desperate Journey, had the Japanese on the run in Objective, Burma! and solved all of Norway’s issues working with the Underground movement in Edge Of Darkness. Oh, and Dive Bomber with Fred McMurray. That was 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back. So it was a busy week for Errol, I tell you.

Change of direction last night with Flynn in a delightful little romantic comedy called Never Say Goodbye. Never heard of it? No, you wouldn’t have : critics panned it as “unoriginal”. To quote : It took five writers to concoct this rehash of tired plot machinations, time-worn gags, and padded situations. Bugger the reviews- this movie was never meant to be * high art, just good fun.

Never Say Goodbye (1946) tells the story of a divorced man (Errol Flynn), whose profession is drawing beautiful women for magazines who is trying to win back the love of his ex-wife (Eleanor Parker) with the help of his daughter, a restaurant owner (S V Sakall) and an unsuspecting GI (Forrest Tucker) home on leave. Errol Flynn’s mother in law and Eleanor Parker’s current boy friend, who just happens to be the couples divorce attorney, try to sabotage all efforts in reuniting the couple. The couple’s 8 year old daughter lives 6 months with Dad and six months with Mum, has two imaginary friends and writes to a marine for morale boosting purposes though includes a swimsuit photo of Mum.

Errol is at his most Flynnesque and doesn’t have to extend himself in this movie : he flirts beautifully, the banter is quick and fun, and he looks damn fine. Parker is absolutely beautiful as the society girl and there is no doubting “still waters run deep”.

Yes, the critics are right, we’ve seen the dining with two different women at a restaurant at the same time before, and we’ve seen the mimicking of someone else in a pretend mirror. Does it matter if it’s done well and we are entertained?

When Forrest Tucker makes moves on Parker, Errol pretends he’s a tough guy, which makes the daughter laugh.

Flynn : Well, you believed me as Robin Hood, didn’t you?
Daughter: Yes, but that was just make believe.

Errol also mans up against a six foot five Tucker by morphing into Humphrey Bogart , with Bogie doing the voice over. Not high art but good fun! Interestingly, Errol was not a little fella. With his shirt off in Gentleman Jim he looked simply delicious, hang on, I have to sit quietly for a few minutes to catch my breathe…………Next to Tucker Flynn looks a right weed, especially when he is picked up off the floor like a rag doll.

Of course there is a happy ending. After a week in the trenches it was well deserved.

* Also watched a movie made after 1962. I know, some of you just wont believe it. Most boring film I’ve ever sat through. Hated it, and laughed at the actors who thought they were doing Shakespeare. 1917 : don’t bother. Life is too short.

Rabbit Proof Fence

Indigenous Author Doris Pilkington was born Nugi Garimara under a Wintamarra tree in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. At four years of age Doris, her mother Molly, and her baby sister were taken against their will to the Moore River Native Settlement in Western Australia. This is where many children of mixed race families were interred in the early 20th Century to be trained as domestic staff and which we now know as the Stolen Generation.

It wasn’t long before Molly escaped the Settlement with her baby, though Doris remained incarcerated until she was twelve years of age at which time she  was transferred to a nearby mission. Conditions at the mission were worse though she was given the opportunity to train as a nursing assistant in Perth. 

It took 21 years before Doris was reunited with her mother and some time after her Aunt Daisy shared the story of how her mother Molly had previously been a captive of the Settlement as a child and had escaped with her half sister, Daisy, and cousin Grace. These three little aboriginal girls trekked over 1600 klms following the rabit proof fence, a massive pest-exclusion fence which crossed WA from north to south, in order to return home.

Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence, released in 1996, is the true story of Doris’ mother and her Aunties. Three little girls pulled from their families, desperate to return to the only world they knew, walking across rugged outback terrain, often eating off the land and chased down by black trackers. The book includes copies of Government documentation and newspaper clippings from the 1930’s which confirm the story of these three brave children. It’s a confronting, shameful story and one which should be shared.

The film, Rabbit Proof Fence, directed by Hollywood-based Australian, Philip Noyce, was released in 2002 and is based on the book. Both the book and movie are worth while visiting – just ensure there is a box of Kleenex handy.

Interestingly, after having raised her family, Pilkington completed secondary education, going on to complete a Degree in Journalism. She was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to the arts in the area of Indigenous literature, particularly through the genre of life-storytelling to raise awareness of Indigenous history, culture and social conditions.

TRIVIA:

Rabbits were an introduced species and were both devastating and destructive. The Australian Government decided to build a barrier fence from a point on the south coast through to a location on the north coast which became known as the No.1 Rabbit-Proof Fence. Completed in 1907, the Rabbit-Proof Fence was the longest unbroken line of fence in the world. Today, long sections of the original fence are still maintained as a barrier against wild animals, particularly the Emu.

Screenwriter Christine Olsen felt that the fence was very symbolic in that “the fence is always such an amazing symbol for the Europeans’ attempt to tame the land: to draw a line in it to keep out rabbits, the pests they had introduced. It is such a magnificent symbol for a lot of what’s happened to Australia.”

Rachael Maza , drama coach, said the three central young Aboriginal (untrained) actresses had an innate understanding of the story. “That’s one thing I don’t have to teach them. I don’t think there’s an Aboriginal in this country who doesn’t understand this story, if not them personally, their parents or their very immediate family. It’s something we all share.” 

Nothing Beats An Arrow Through The Neck

Survived Easter thanks to an in-house Russell Crowe Festival and the odd cheese platter.

I do like Russ. He’s very normal. And look what he achieved for a languishing football club in the south of Sydney. Talk about cultivating societal change. Kudos for helping the * Firies too. Sure beats flogging coffee machines on the tele.

Just love Cinderella Man, a loose account of the rags-to-riches story of boxer, James J. Braddock. A day labourer during the Depression he flukes a win in the ring which sees him go on to challenge the heavyweight champion, Max Baer. And win. (Like duh).

Must admit that I also enjoy Crowe’s Robin Hood. It must say something when every time the movie comes to the finish line the entire lounge room erupts into cheer when a certain baddie cops an arrow through the neck. Now that’s satisfaction.

Talking of Robin Hood, recently received a lovely little Corona 19 Survival Pack. It ‘s also known as a stimulus-package-without-the-stimulus.

Now that certainly beats a coffee machine, doesn’t it?

The only issue is that I’ve had to rearrange the She-Shack, which came very close to becoming The Flynn Room, except it is now full of projects for the duration. Didn’t your parents drum into you that idle hands were the devil’s playthings?

Watched Desperate Journey last night with Alan Hale and Ronald Reagan.

Laughed my head off which probably isn’t a good thing in a war movie though the comic book ease with which these downed Allied airmen outwit, out maneuver, and out punch the Nazis is good fun. Just leave your brain at the front door and go with it.

The last scene has the surviving heroes fly into the setting sun over England, thousands of Nazis on their tail, when Flynn, in very Flynnesque mode says, “Now for Australia and a crack at those Japs!”

Errol won the war – again!

*Firies, or Fire Service. We’re a slack lot and abbreviate everything. Cya.

Up Lit and Movie Musicals

One of the fastest growing genre of books is Up Lit, or Uplifting Literature, which can help to elevate your mood. The cause of its current popularity is not rocket science.

It has been said that the trend started in response to the current climate leading for a desire to read about “everyday heroism, human connection, and love.” 

Generally Up Lit books “track quirky, offbeat protagonists on their journeys to creating a fulfilling web of relationships.” The books keep any possibility of saccharine sentimentality in check by also offering up healthy doses of melancholy.

So although there may well be tears and disappointments by the final pages of books of this genre “you’ll be left with an appreciation of the good in the world, and the wonderful people in it.”

Think A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, two really good reads (although with the former there was a period where I considered cutting my wrists during the first few chapters. Thank God I was not listening to Leonard Cohen at the time.)

Here’s a list from Goodreads of the most popular Up Lit titles:

www.goodreads.com › shelf › show › uplit

My attention span is that of a gnat lately. Minimal focus. My study program has been pushed aside, so I’m giving Up Lit a go.

Ditto my movie watching habits. You know, I nodded off in the chair during Casablanca last week, did not shed a single tear when Heath Ledger died by the sword in The Patriot, and cannot even contemplate a swashbuckler at the moment. These are bad days…..

You know what’s soothing the beating heart?

Movie Musicals from the 1940’s and 50’s. Bizarre, I know. I guess there is a correlation as these were popular in Hollywood during the Depression and after World War 2. They were light, colourful and importantly for some of us – ME – you could leave the brain at the front door.

I’m finding myself singing some of the songs when I get up first thing in the morning. Today it was “ Take Me Out To The Ball Game”. Sure beats listening to the news.


Exciting News : Part 1. Or Something Positive The Week The Media Tried To Break Us.

My eldest daughter, Pocohontas, thrilled me with the news that Bentley, my Grandfurbaby, is going to have a sibling in Spring. The two legged variety.

Bentley walking his mother down the aisle.

Of course I’m excited, though also living in trepidation. You see, I’m too young to be a grandmother according to my head. The calendar may suggest otherwise but I’m definitely no Nanna nor Grandma.  I think I will be a Meemaw

I do not knit or sew. Since retirement I’ve been very fortunate to attend numerous Workshops to learn new skills. Like making gravy boats out of clay and building bee motels and fantasy writing workshops. I have no compunction whatsoever to learn how to use a crochet hook or a sewing machine.

I do paint ceramics. But how many egg cups does a child need?

I like painting and working with colour though am not good at it and blame those early school years when the teachers used to hit us on the knuckles with a ruler for colouring outside the lines.

The old brain is creative enough,  it’s just that my body parts don’t seem to connect. A platter I painted as a wedding gift makes a fine dish for their pot plants.

She sent me a copy of the scan to put on the fridge door. We didn’t have scans back in the day. They were the days you could eat Camembert cheese and eat shellfish which was just as well as I craved prawns. It was an expensive pregnancy.

Apparently, it’s unacceptable to proclaim “ oh, so you’re having a penguin”.

So when I asked my daughter if it was acceptable to start a collection of Errol Flynn movies for the imminent eminent she said “ of course Mo, Errol and Audreys please. You can never start with the classics too soon”.

This Little Person will be in good hands.

The Tin Man, Cujo and Sue Grafton.

I’ve just finished The Wizard Of Oz jigsaw that I actually bought to gift to my youngest and I’m preparing to hang it in the She-Shack. Cat Balou hates this movie, as in DETESTS. Which is why over the years I have sent socks and stationary and anything else remotely TWOO to her through the post. It’s called Mother’s Payback.

When she was visiting recently she saw me working on it and despite now being in her thirties she insisted on covering the Tin Man’s face with a cloth. Six months living and eating in China, six months living and eating in India, and she can’t manage the Tin Man. Odd.

My nephew nearing 40 hasn’t forgiven me for putting him in front of the movie, Cujo, before he was school age. A nice little movie about a dog. What kid doesn’t like dogs?

These young things are a bit of a worry. Need a little more concrete in their diet.

So I’ve started a Sue Grafton puzzle whereby you also have to solve the crime. I always liked reading about the exploits of PI Kinsey Millhone, but not so any more. This is a tough one with no illustration for guidance.

Visited the Little Library today and was rather taken by the newly donated book with the yellow cover. Didn’t look between the covers just in case.

Oh, and a book review.

Somebody That I Used To Know by Bunkie King.

I’ve only ever thrown one book into the bin – a tasteless biography that detailed having to break the bones of a dead Mario Lanza to fit him into his coffin.

This was my second.

It is just so wrong. So wrong on so many levels.

Bunkie King is the sister of Leona King and together they shared a relationship with Australian actor, Jack Thompson for 15 years. “Nothing kinky” as they never all shared a bed.

This raised too many questions that I just didn’t need to ponder. Oh, and although she denies being a druggie having hash oil on toast for breakfast kind of says something, doesn’t it?

I’m sorry she suffered a failed marriage and a breakdown. If this was her idea of superannuation she failed that too.

New At The Australian War Memorial, The Dambusters and A Dog Named Judy.

The 24th of February was in recent years declared National Day for War Animals.

This is because animals have played vital roles in the support and protection of Australian soldiers during war and warlike operations.  Horses and camels provided transport, birds aided communication across enemy lines, dogs tracked enemies and protected soldiers from improvised explosive devices, and a range of animals served as companions or unit mascots across all conflicts. 

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra unveiled a new memorial dedicated to military working dogs and their handlers on the day.

Circling Into Sleep was created with help from an Explosive Detection Dog called Billie and her handler. Billie was trained to walk in a tight circle on a bed of soft clay to create the paw-print track which spirals into the memorial, representing the steps of a dog as it circles into sleep.

Circling Into Sleep

The ashes of Aussie, Military Working Dog 426, were interred within the memorial on 4 December 2019. As a military working dog, Aussie served in Australian domestic and international operations including the Solomon Islands in 2004 and four deployments to Afghanistan with the Explosive Detection Dog Team. Described as a tireless worker, Aussie began to slow down after retirement and died in 2017, aged 16.

For more of Aussie’s story go here:

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/aussie-and-the-military-working-dog-scuplture-circling-into-sleep

I will confess that one of my favourite animated films is Valiant, a 2005 effort, that highlights the work undertaken by pigeons during war. Little Valiant flying across the English Channel to the tune of The Dambusters is a classic.

Coincidentally, I just finished reading Judy by Damien Lewis. O.M.G what a tale !

Amazing stuff. Totally amazing.

Dorothea Mackeller Got It Right.

In good news the Currowan Fire burning in the Shoalhaven for 74 days was set to “out” by the NSW Rural Fire Service on Saturday. In Qld’s South East corner, and much of the eastern coastline, I came out of the theatre to wade through foot high rain water surging across the lawn. Not an elegant exit and I expect that I’ll be up for a new pair of shoes. *

I love a sunburnt country, 

A land of sweeping plains, 

Of ragged mountain ranges, 

Of droughts and flooding rains. 

I love her far horizons, 

I love her jewel-sea, 

Her beauty and her terror 

The wide brown land for me! 

Dot Mackeller certainly nailed it, didn’t she ?

Perfect weather for the flicks so saw the 2019 remake of Midway. Quite enjoyable except that I kept looking for Robert Mitchum as General Halsey confined to his hospital bed with shingles. The visuals literally had me on the edge of my seat though the aerial attacks on the Japanese ships in the last battle were way too Star Warsey.

Being stuck indoors made for crafty activities. Easter treats prepared for the kiddies who use the Little Community Library- forward planning is a positive, right? – and pots painted and planted as fund raisers.

Regardless of weather the house requires a major tidy. Child home midweek and she is a neat freak. Hope she remembers how to cope when I hand her a golf club and send her out into the garden to do battle with the cane toads that abound in this big wet………..

* Thoughts with the daughter and a girlfriend on cyclone watch.

Radio Plays : Then & Now

The Argonauts Club was an Australian children’s radio program, first broadcast in 1933 on ABC Radio Melbourne. It became one of the ABC’s most popular programs, running six days a week for 28 years until October 1969, when it was broadcast only on Sundays and was finally discontinued in 1972.

When I was very young, and before my fascination with Daniel Boone, Jungle Jim, and Jim Bowie on the tele I was an Argonaut. It’s what we did in the early sixties. My allegiance switched to the Mickey Mouse Club.

Last year one of the local community theatre groups held an evening of radio plays at the local museum. Originally written by Steele Rudd, the pseudonym of Arthur Hoey Davis (14 November 1868 – 11 October 1935) an Australian author, was best known for his novel On Our Selection.

Staged as a broadcast from a radio studio with one stand-up microphone, actors with scripts in hand and the indispensible sound effects, the four episodes followed the process of Dad’s  deciding to shift from the horse and buggy into a new-fangled piece of machinery, with everyone offering help or an opinion.

It was a fun night with the presentation by The Forgetting of Wisdom, a collective of semi-retired professional actors who made it entertaining as well as educational. Afterall, Dad and Dave were well before my time!

There will be another Radioplay at the Gold Coast Little Theatre on February 26th.

Based on the story by Dashiell Hammett, and the 1936 movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man centres on Nick and Nora Charles, a rich and glamorous couple who solve homicides in between cocktails.

If you’re looking for something to do these are good fun.

Retirement : it’s tough:)