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Errol Flynn Filmography

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Dive Bomber

Errol Flynn plays Doug Lee, a Navy medic who pursues aviation medicine to seek solutions to altitude-related illnesses. With the aid of a veteran flier Joe Blake (played by Fred MacMurray). In a research project supervised by flier-turned-doctor Ralph Bellamy, the trio devise the means for planes to safely reach higher altitudes than the Axis powers overseas.

This is an engaging film, with exteriors shot on location at a San Diego Naval base. Alexis Smith is Flynn's would-be girlfriend Linda Fisher, and comedy relief is provided by Al Jenkins and Dennie Moore (Some of you might remember Pinky & Clarabelle in The Perfect Specimen?).

But the medical boffos in the film are hysterical, and for the most part destroy the serious ambitions these characters devote their lives to. For example, Dr. Rogers (Bellamy) and Lee take an X-Ray apparatus around a large dormintory of men, taking it from cot to cot photographing recruits' arms. Aviators dying of circulatory problems and heart failure are given a comforting smoke. In fact, this movie seems to be one big cigarette ad, so much so that I started laughing. It's pretty funny.

Ralph Bellamy & Errol Flynn run tests on Fred Macmurray - 50kb
Skeptic turned guinea pig Joe Blake (Fred MacMurray) submits to
tests run by Drs. Rogers (Bellamy, left) and Lee (Flynn at right).

This was Mike Curtiz' final film directing Errol Flynn. The two were at odds with eachother from day one; there was no compromise between Curtiz' abusive demands on the set and Flynn's cavalier behaviour. This film marked a new high in annoyances the director exercised at the naval base and on the aircraft carrier, and Errol said no more.

The film itself does not suffer as a result of this stresses. With the Technicolor AND a rallying score by Max Steiner, this film remains a worthwhile 2½ hours, despite the silly activities in the name of cutting edge medicine.

Dive Bomber is available from MGM/UA

Errol Flynn & Fred MacMurray - 45kb
Dr. Lee takes in some flight training with Commander Blake.

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