"But this is merely to fall into the trap Flynn set himself: that of devaluing the illusions he offered, underrating their significance and overlooking the skill, ingenuity and talent that went into creating and sustaining them. To be the world’s greatest swashbuckler is not to be nothing; to remain a byword for dash, bravery and athleticism nearly fifty years after your death is achievement of another magnitude again.
Viewed today, his screen persona seems more ambiguous than it once did, certainly more so than, say, John Wayne’s or Clark Gable’s. Beautiful rather than handsome, he appears athletic and virile but not necessarily all that tough. (Screenplays often call upon him to prove himself physically early on, as frequently, it seems, did life.) The little playboy’s moustache warned of frivolousness and unreliability, and he often seems mildly foppish, careful in his manners and dress and vain about his looks (which Flynn in fact was not).
He did not deal in cynical heroes, but, watching him, we suspect a cynical man behind the lustiness and derring do, despite the total absence of irony in the portrayal itself. His characters seem to wink at us, but at us alone, as if keen to reveal to us facets of themselves they never show other characters."
It is a great pleasure to run into a well written blog that is interesting, insightful and a fun read. Matthew Coniam's Movietone News has been a delight. Check out the whole thing here.