While the Adventures Of Don Juan’s is a charmingly old-fashioned Hollywood swashbuckler, it’s hellish making-of is more interesting than anything onscreen. While Errol Flynn became a star thanks to portraying the titular character in Captain Blood, he’s best remembered for The Adventures Of Robin Hood. Flynn was perfectly cast and the movie is still considered a classic thanks to its witty script and charming performances. The movie was also Warner Bros’ highest budgeted at the time, but it made a comfortable profit.
While Flynn would move on to other successful movie projects, he soon became better known for his hard-partying lifestyle, which included numerous affairs and heavy drinking. This started to affect his work, with stories about his excessive drinking becoming legendary. His career was starting to wane by the late 1940s, with Adventures Of Don Juan intended to be something of a comeback vehicle.
Adventures Of Don Juan is a loose remake of 1926’s Don Juan starring John Barrymore, the grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore (The Santa Clarita Diet). Don Juan is famous for being a film with the most onscreen kisses, and Errol Flynn spent nearly a decade attached to a new take on Don Juan. The movie kept being pushed back and delayed, only to finally receive the greenlight in 1947.
A successful re-release of The Adventures Of Robin Hood convinced Warner Bros of the logic of making another extravagant swashbuckler with Errol Flynn – but the shoot itself was far from smooth. The actor was suffering from a heart condition when production began, which did little to slow down his drinking. Early in his career, Flynn had been famous for performing his own stunts – not unlike Tom Cruise with the Mission: Impossible franchise – but by the time of Adventures Of Don Juan stunt doubles were necessary since he wasn’t physically fit enough to perform them.
Flynn later confessed in his autobiography that to get around the crew preventing him from drinking on the set, he would bring oranges injected with vodka. He frequently fell ill during the filming of Adventures Of Don Juan too, which once included being hospitalized. These delays caused the movie’s budget to swell. It was eventually finished and opened in December 1948. While Adventures Of Don Juan received good reviews and decent box-office, its large budget saw that it wasn’t as profitable as the studio hoped.
Flynn continued to make movies with Warners, but their budgets were decreased following the Adventures Of Don Juan’s performance. One of Flynn’s last films prior to his death in 1959 was The Roots Of Heaven for director John Huston. This movie co-starred Trevor Howard and Orson Welles (Citizen Kane), with Huston having just come off a bad experience working with John Wayne on The Barbarian And The Geisha. He’s said to have come to blows with Wayne on that film, and Flynn also allegedly provoked the filmmaker into a fight; Huston, a former boxer, knocked him out with a punch. Despite this, Flynn claimed it was his greatest experience making a movie.
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