TCM Spotlight: Errol Flynn Adventures DVD Set

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Turner Classic Movies and Warner Brothers have teamed up to issue a new edition of the TCM Spotlight series, this time a five-film set of WWII-era action pictures starring Errol Flynn. Although highly propagandistic on the surface, these films are quite entertaining and admirably made. Four out of the five are directed by the perennially unsung Raoul Walsh, a filmmaker of great force and economy who presaged the work of Don Siegel (who did the montages for a few of these pictures as well as Casablanca before coming into his own as a director). Walsh had an understated style but he knew how to capture complex movement and character interaction with a minimum of set-ups and cuts. His kind of talent was rare within the studio system, which forced directors to work cheap and fast, and Walsh’s ability to create a fluid narrative within such constraints is enshrined here in this release just as effectively as Flynn’s star power and unmatched charisma.

Unlike so many boxed-set tributes to actors, this one’s actually got a tight, logical theme: Errol Flynn Adventures  offers five World War II pictures made at Warner Bros. during Flynn’s reign as a top leading man. Four of the films were directed by one of Flynn’s favored collaborators, the robust Raoul Walsh, and all of them have an urgent wartime commitment that puts them in a zone between entertainment and propaganda.

This DVD has some wonderful extras. Each film is complete with “A Warner Night at the Movies” segment, which gives you the same pre-show features that a film of the forties would have had. A cartoon; a newsreel; short subjects and other little treats make each disc a tribute to the golden age of films when they were accompanied by several extras.

Desperate Journey (1942)
American pilots stranded in Germany during World War II fight their way to freedom. Also stars Ronald Reagan as Flying Officer Johnny Hammond. Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Special Features:
Warner Night at the Movies 1942 Short Subjects Gallery:
1. Vintage Newsreel
2. OscarÒ-Nominated** Patriotic Short: The Tanks Are Coming
3. Musical Shorts: Borrah Minnevitch and His Harmonica School and The United States Army Air Force Band
4. Classic Cartoon: The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall
5. Trailers of Desperate Journey and 1942’s Murder in the Big House
Northern Pursuit (1943)
Icebound wilds and ice-blooded Nazis! Canadian officer Flynn infiltrates a cadre of Nazi saboteurs, pretending to guide them toward their destination while unraveling their scheme. Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Special Features:
Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery:
1. Vintage Newsreel
2. Wartime Short: The Rear Gunner
3. Musical Short: All-Star Melody Masters
4. Drama Short: Over the Wall
5. Classic Cartoon: Hop and Go
6. Trailers of Northern Pursuit and 1943’s The Constant Nymph
Edge of Darkness (1943)
Resistance fighters battle the Nazis in occupied Norway. Directed by Lewis Milestone.
Special Features:
Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery:
1. Vintage Newsreel
2. Musical Short: The United States Service Bands
3. Classic Cartoons: Hiss and Make Up and To Duck….or Not to Duck
4. Trailers of Edge of Darkness and 1943’s The Hard Way
Uncertain Glory (1944)
A French playboy gets serious when his country is threatened during World War II. Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Special Features:
Warner Night at the Movies 1944 Short Subjects Gallery:
1. Vintage Newsreel
2. Musical Short: United States Coast Guard Band
3. Classic Cartoons: Brother Brat and Russian Rhapsody
4. Trailers of Uncertain Glory and 1944’s The Mask of Dimitrios
Objective, Burma! (1945)
An American platoon parachutes into Burma to take out a strategic Japanese outpost. Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Special Features:
Commentary by Historians Rudy Behlmer, Jon Burlingame and Frank Thompson
Warner Night at the Movies 1945 Short Subjects Gallery:
1. Vintage Newsreel
2. Joe McDoakes Comedy Short: So You Think You’re Allergic
3. Classic Cartoon: A Tale of Two Mice
4. Trailers of Objective, Burma! and 1945’s Pride of the Marines

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