Saturday, June 11, 2016

They Died With Their Boots On

Raoul Walsh's They Died With Their Boots On is somewhat more focused that Michael Curtiz's films starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. While Curtiz focused more on spectacle, Walsh was more interested in grit. But even amid the brutish nature of some of his other films, Walsh was capable of depicting poignant moments just as well.

In regards with They Died With Their Boots On, these moments are the ones between George Armstrong Custer (Flynn) and Elizabeth Bacon (de Havilland). As with their previous films, Flynn and de Havilland have a strong rapport, the kind only found in a select few screen pairings. Oh, if only they did one more film together...

Flynn was in other Walsh-directed films following They Died With Their Boots On but it's this one that added further depths to his career. As he proved two years prior with The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, he certainly had potential as more than the swashbuckling leading man. (A shame moviegoers had to wait until The Sun Also Rises sixteen years later to see Flynn be an actor again.)

With this being their final film together, They Died With Their Boots On almost has Flynn and de Havilland knowing that fact. Did they know while filming their final scenes they were to parted forever on screen? Regardless, it makes several scenes of theirs (the balcony scene in particular) all the more moving.

They Died With Their Boots On has the rare effective combination of action and romance thanks to Flynn and de Havilland. And from Walsh's direction, they prove their' viability as actors. (At least Hollywood soon took notice with de Havilland.)

My Rating: ****1/2

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie also! Great charisma, lots of charm and humor coming from Flynn's performance.


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