Errol Flynn & Anita Louise - 29kb


Errol Flynn Filmography

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Tom Reid

The Green Light

In 1937, Flynn's career was soaring. Captain Blood was still playing in neighbourhood theatres in the U.S., as well as first run abroad. Likewise in the states for THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE. Since hitting it big, he had yet to play in a contemporary setting. So Warner felt they had nothing to lose casting him in an adaptation of a Lloyd C. Douglas bestseller with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Spring Byington, and Anita Louise.

The story is about Newall Paige, a young doctor in a medical group. He covers for a delicate operation. When respected senior physician Dr. Endicott - preoccupied with failing investments - arrives late and demands to take over the procedure, he errs with a fatal cut. The finger naturally points to Paige, who refuses to set the record straight out of respect for the man to whom he credits his career.

Phyllis Dexter (Anita Louise) Newell Paige (Flynn), & RN Frances Ogilvie (Margaret Lindsay) - 46kb
The women in Newell Paige's life: Anita Lousie as Phyllis Dexter (l)
and Margaret Lindsay as devoted nurse Frances Ogilvie (r).

The dilemma brings his faithful nurse (a witness eager to tell all to the board despite Paige's decision) to prominent religious figure Dean Harcourt (Hardwicke) for advice. The late patient - Mrs. Dexter (Byington) - was a strong supporter of Harcourt, to whom Paige also pays visit in order to debate fate. When the late patient's mourning daughter Phyllis visits Harcourt, she befriends Nurse Ogilvie, who introduces Paige under an alias. Naturally Phyllis finds out, and Newell leaves town to join a former colleage in an area ravaged by deadly ticks. Phyllis learns the truth and hurries to join Paige, who has infected himself to test a serum.

The film did very well at the box office, no doubt tugging at the maternal urges of Flynns female fans. It's a sappy thing, and if you get a kick out of sappy things, then by all means go for it. Fans should see it anyway for the record. (My personal favourite scene is of a lone coyote on a high cliff, baying at the moon as another local passes beyond the veil of eternity. The scene was undoubtedly shot silent, because there's some human yowling on the soundtrack. It's touching.)

THE GREEN LIGHT is not yet available, but it runs occasionally on TNT internationally and on TCM in the USA.

Phyllis & Newell, with Sylvia - 50kb
Phyllis with Newell and his dog Sylvia.

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