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Errol Flynn featured Film of the Week

Errol Flynn as Captain Fabian - (64kb)
Errol Flynn as Captain Michael Fabian

The Adventures of
Captain Fabian

The title right off is misleading. The alternate title of "New Orleans Adventure" is more apropos. But it really should be called "The Importance of Being Ruthless," because nobody in this film has any redeeming qualities; any initial sympathy one feels for any character is fleeting.

The story is about young maid Lea Mariotte (Micheline Presle), who is dissatisfied with her social position (or lack thereof), yet resentful of the upper class whom she has chosen to serve. When the family goes away on holiday, she invites all her Cajun friends and scruffy Aunt Jezebel (Agnes Moorehead). Lea dons the lady's clothes and beds the lady's fiancé George Brissac (Vincent Price), and she wants to marry him (and into ill-begotten money), but George is obligated to his father's wishes and the family's society reputation to pursue the family business and marry according to his station.

When Captain Fabian sails back into town, the inhabitants are abuzz. he has his eye on Henri Brissac, and suspects him responsible for his father's death and the disappearance of merchant earnings. When he sees Lea putting on airs in the tavern, he buys the establishment for her on a whim. Then he disappears again.

Errol Flynn and Micheline Presle - (58kb)
Fabian's got what Lea wants - or has he?

On the night before George's wedding, he and his fellow drunken pals enter the tavern during their rounds. Lea lures him to his mansion, where they spend the night. Henri is furious, and threatens to strip his no-good son of the family inheritance. For the first time, George asserts himself, but to murder. Lea conditionally helps him bury his father's body, and sees to it that his jacket is mixed in with the dirt.

The enigmatic Captain Fabian rejoined the picture at this point. When he starts to demand a little affectionate payback for Lea's success, something of HIS is found with Henri's body when it is discovered.

This is a bizarre and cheap production, with flat, exaggerated characterisations (especially Agnes Moorehead's Auntie to the point of cartoony), and plenty of plot holes. For example, Fabian's intense desire for Lea late in the film is sudden and unexpected. Earlier in the film, he appeared to regard her with passing amusement. (It could be that this was one of Flynn's walk-thru pictures mentioned in several bios about that time in his life. It's possible that Republic's meager budget would neither allow for more takes nor afford them to stand up to the star.)

The Adventures of Captain Fabian is only available on home video for PAL systems (Europe, etc). However, you might want to seriously consider holding out for its appearance on cable. The movie appears sporadically on UK & USA cable systems. Is it a keeper? That all depends on whether you're either a Flynn completist or the proud owner of a generous sense of humour. I will admit that it wasnt quite as bad as the review found in THE COMPLETE FILMS OF ERROL FLYNN.

The sort of climax of the film - (73kb)

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