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Errol Flynn Filmography

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Thank Your Lucky Stars

This wasn't an Errol Flynn movie per se - it was in part an Eddie Cantor vehicle to promote his latest protege Dinah Shore, as well as another wartime all-star extravaganza. But - along with many major Warner stars - Flynn makes an appearance and gets to do something he's not known for: performing in a musical comedy sequence.

At least the feature has a plot - albeit a strange one. Committeemen played by S.K. Sakall and Edward Everett Horton want to get Dinah Shore for their Cavalcade of Stars. But since Eddie Cantor has Miss Shore under exclusive contract, they'd have to include Cantor in the show. They submit, and as expected, Cantor's taken over their show and the production is a disaster.

Enter Joe, a poor actor with an uncanny resemblance to Eddie Cantor. His looks break people up and sabotage any chance of his landing dramatic roles. As luck would have it, a young singer (Dennis Morgan) and a wannabe composer (Joan Leslie) also want in on the show. With the aid of their friends, they assist in kidnapping Eddie Cantor and substituting him with the unobtrusive Joe so that the show can commence.

In his sequence, Errol Flynn plays a Cockney vet trying to snitch ale while distracting pubgoers with tall tales about his wartime exploits in THAT'S WHAT YOU JOLLY WELL GET. "Hooray!" the men cheer, "He's won the war!" "An' I won the won before!" he replies with reckless abandon. He might not have a musical ear, but his timing is excellent and that inimitable Flynn charm carries through an impressive performance before he (or rather stuntman Buster Wiles) gets thrown out the window.

Among the film's participants are Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Hattie MacDaniel, and Spike Jones' City Slickers. Worthwhile performances include:

  • Spike Jones & His City Slickers doing their version of the Volga Boatman in HOTCHA CORNIA.
  • Olivia De Havilland and Ida Lupino hamming it up with George Tobias in a scat parody of one of Shore's tunes (if you ever want to see DeHavilland crosseyed with her tongue hanging out, then this is the place)

  • Bette Davis being jitterbugged off the ground during her rendition of THEY'RE EITHER TOO YOUNG OR TOO OLD

  • Alan Hale & Jack Carson singing and dancing as snowward vaudevillians

  • Ann Sheridan crooning to a dorm of virgins about love and men

  • Hattie MacDaniel trying to get GI Willie Best (the latter in a respectable performance for a change) hitched to his fickle girlfriend before heading overseas

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Alex's Smith's assignment, who only gets to ballroom dance during a dream sequence. She has a strong voice, and would have been best fronting another musical sequence (rather than three with Dinah Shore. Okay I know she was hip stuff then, but...). What a waste of talent.

But overall, TYLS is one of the better all-star movies of the period, and a must-see for fans of any of these actors - especially those of Eddie Cantor.

Flynn was alleged to have taken off from the dual statutory rape trial in early 1943 to fulfill his commitment to this movie. You'd never guess from his cheery appearance. Even his reprise is the best of them, as he parodies the shortcomings of his own voice for the job (you'd have to see it).

THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS is available from MGM/UA. You might want to rent if first, but it's advisable not to miss it. It has been known to run for Eddie Cantor and WWII Canteen-type retrospectives in revival theatres (which was how I first saw it).

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