thu 17/10/2019

DVD: The Last of Robin Hood | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Last of Robin Hood

DVD: The Last of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn's arguably wicked, wicked last days

True romance: Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) and Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning)

Errol Flynn’s final affair was with an initially 15-year-old girl 33 years his junior, procured minutes after he spied her walk through the studio gates. “You know who he is?” his man for such matters asks. “The most selfish man in the world” and “a walking penis” are two suggestions made in Richard Glatzer and Wash West’s biopic. “Sure,” Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning) answers instead. “Robin Hood.”

Kevin Kline’s Flynn is a roué rushing to an early grave behind a seductively hesitant gentleman’s front, even when the sweats and shakes start to come. Flicking whisky onto letters from faraway sets to look like tears of longing, Kline gives fraudulent romance to Flynn’s lust for life. Fanning is equally winning, and matched by Susan Sarandon as Beverly’s fierce, repressed, one-legged stage mother.

Plainly shot and breezily, superficially told, interest lies in the film’s sympathy with a relationship now even more than then beyond social bounds. Flynn’s offer to play Humbert Humbert for Kubrick, on the condition Beverly plays Lolita, is ripely suggestive. In Havana to star his talentless protégé in the pro-Castro potboiler Cuban Rebel Girls, a waiter sidles up to suggest a brothel for “very young” girls. Flynn’s demurral is slightly pained. For him, Beverly brings out “my best work in years” in bed, while for her it’s “the most fun I’ve ever had”. Mention of “statutory rape” barely gives him pause. In the film at least, this is true, harmless love. The rot only sets in after Flynn’s death, when the woman the vicious gossip queen Hedda Hopper calls “the peg-legged scheming mother” can’t let her plots to exploit Beverly or the vodka bottle go, and the moralising, salacious outside world gets to gawp. This subversive subtext surely attracted executive producer Todd Haynes, though Glatzer and West, whose next film was Still Alice, badly lack his vision.

Kevin Kline’s Flynn is a roué rushing to an early grave behind a seductively hesitant gentleman’s front


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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