Adventures of Don Juan
Here we have Errol Flynn as most of us remember him suave, witty and wearing tights. Adventures of Don Juan (1948) is one of those great Technicolor, swashbuckling Warner Bros. films that offered the moviegoing public a lot of bang for the ticket price, with beautiful costumes, epic art direction, court intrigue, swordfights, and a magnificent orchestral score by Max Steiner. Flynn, who was 39 when he made the picture, is devilishly handsome as the famous lover of women, and this would mark the last time he'd play such a role. Having achieved a reputation as a scoundrel due to his little problem of wooing the wrong women, Don Juan's accused by the dour Count de Polan (Robert Warwick) of hurting Spain's chances of reaching a peaceful accord with England. So, back in Spain, Don Juan pledges to serve Queen Margaret (Viveca Lindfors) and King Phillip III (Romney Brent) by teaching fencing to young soldiers. Of course, the King's most trusted confidante, Duke de Lorca (Robert Douglas), has his own scheme. Despite dodging the seduction attempt of the betrothed Donna Elena (Ann Rutherford), Don Juan finds himself back before the Queen, who's disappointed that he can't give up his roguish ways but Don Juan admits that he actually loves the Queen, which ticks her off mightily and gets him banished from the court. As should be expected in such a movie, Don Juan finds evidence of the Duke's treachery, so he has to get back into the castle so the big, final swordfight can happen. Adventures of Don Juan was one of Warner's last big costume pictures, and in many ways it feels like something of a throwback, and a way for the studio to cash in on Flynn's reputation one last time. It was a pretty tacky move, actually, coming three years after his trial for statutory rape, and the film is surprisingly free of romance considering the protagonist. It has its charms, though, especially in the thrilling final sword-and-knife fight, during which Flynn looks genuinely taxed the hard-partying of his off-screen life was starting to take a toll by this time, and the fact that he's genuinely sweating during this workout actually makes the sequence all the more believable.
Warner Home Video's DVD release of Adventures of Don Juan offers a brilliantly sharp and clean full-frame transfer (1.33:1) with super-saturated color, with those famous Technicolor reds and greens popping off the screen. The Dolby Digital 1.0 audio is very clear (English with optional English subtitles). The "Warner Night at the Movies" submenu again replicates an evening in the cinema circa 1948 with the theatrical trailer for the Errol Flynn/Ann Sheridan western Silver River; a newsreel on the 1948 Miss America pageant (1 min.); a travelogue featurette on the Calgary Stampede (18 min.); the comedy short "So You Want to Be On the Radio" about a couple who enter humiliating radio contests (11 min.); and the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Hare Splitter," in which Bugs dons drag to screw with his competitor for a lady-bunny's affections (7 min.). Keep-case, or slimcase in "The Errol Flynn Collection, Vol. 2."
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