Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Wicked, Wicked Ways by Errol Flynn (1957)

If you are going to talk Australians and their contributions to adventure fiction, there is one figure who should be mentioned - Errol Flynn.

Flynn was a Hollywood star appearing in Robin Hood, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and a number of Westerns and War films.  As I was thinking about what it meant to be an Australian and a writer, I came across Errol's autobiography.

It's an interesting read. If there was any Australian that that could be considered a Pulp hero then Flynn's our man.  Not only did he make Swashbucklers and Westerns but he was also a writer - not only did he pen My Wicked, Wicked Ways but he wrote Beam Ends (1937) about his journey to New Guinea and Showdown (1946) an adventure novel.  But the persona he played in Hollywood was interesting -  he tells of the press conference he gave and had two naked models walk through the room.  The reporters nearly rioted.

Certainly his adventures in New Guinea that start the book are fascinating,  I really want to track down the other two books now.  Flynn tells that when he got to Hollywood nobody realised that he was Australian, they all assumed based on his name that he was Irish and that when he would tell tales from his time in New Guinea no-one would believe him.

Another surprise was that Errol had appeared on stage in England and that one of his roles was Bulldog Drummond. 

Back in the 90's there was an allegation that Flynn was a Nazi spy/sympathiser, nothing in this book backs that up and it covers his trip to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War.  (Although there was one good thing to come out of that now discredited claim - Neville Sinclair in the Rocketeer Movie)

If you love classic Hollywood, get a hold of this book.  If you like adventure yarns, I equally recommend this book.

In a sad co-incidence, on the day I finished reading this book I discovered that Errol's third wife Patrice Wymore had recently passed away.

1 comment:

  1. I love this autobiography. Its honest voice is so refreshing, unlike some PR driven autobiographies of today's famous people I learned a great deal from Errol Flynn. He was a larger-than-life figure.