Errol Flynn as Brian Hawke


Errol Flynn Filmography

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Against All Flags

Errol Flynn plays Brian Hawke, who goes undercover to join a syndicate of pirates off Madagascar. Hawke even orders himself lashed in the opening sequence in the event that he is examined; they use a stunt body for this as Flynn's own physique was starting to sag.

The two gang leaders - played by Maureen O'Hara and Anthony Quinn - each have their own ideas as to the sincerity of Hawke's alleged defection from the British Fleet. Brasiliano (Quinn) wants him dead, and Sptifire Stevens (O'Hara) wants beauty advice. Hey, you think I'm kidding???

Plans for Hawke grow complicated when the pirates raid a royal ship from India and unknowingly include a princess among their hostages. Hawke knows of course, and so he tries his best to protect both her virtue AND identity.

When Brian Hawke is discovered for a traitor, he is left to die by severe crab nipping at the beach. Spitfire discretely cuts him loose, and he rejoins the fleet to launch a raid against the cutthroats. In the end, he gets the lady pirate - and the waters are safe for trade once again.

No offense, but I'm rather miffed at this film being posted with 3 stars in the USA'd TV-Guide. Considering they give the same number of stars to THE SEA HAWK, wouldn't that warrant this one-and-a-half? The story's not particularly unpredictable, the characters unconvincing in their roles and Flynn looks ill and slurs his speech something awful. Regarding the latter, few will disagree that he seemed a lot more coherent and even a little healthier one year later in THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE.

Also, they have a stunt man perform a scene immortalised by Douglas Fairbanks Sr in THE BLACK PIRATE back in 1926: riding down the sail while holding a knife to slash the material in two; you just don't touch something like that.

The shining star here is Maureen O'Hara, in top form as a lady pirate. This was a role she was well-acquainted with, having previously appeared in THE BLACK SWAN opposite Tyrone Power (pardon the lack of professionalism here, but I seem to recall Anthony Quinn in that one as well); she handles a blade well.

Interesting anecdote to the filming is that Flynn broke his ankle towards the end. During his convalescense, Universal re-arranged the sets to be used in YANKEE BUCCANEER, then put everything back to complete shooting months later.

Well, it's not the WORST film I've ever seen - and many fans of the genre count AGAINST ALL FLAGS among their favourites. It's just that as a film it isn't anywhere near the best, and as its star, neither is Flynn.

AGAINST ALL FLAGS is currently unavailable on home video. However, it appears to enjoy an occasional appearance on cable-TV internationally; in the USA look for it on AMC.

Brian Hawke (Flynn) woos ladypirate Spitfire (O'Hara)
Brian Hawke (Flynn) woos ladypirate Spitfire Stevens (O'Hara)

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