The Errol Flynn Westerns Collection


Virginia City (1940)      San Antonio (1945)

Montana (1950)      Rocky Mountain (1950)

 

From the back cover: Montana: Big Sky Country is cattle country! But sheep rancher Flynn has other ideas in this gun-blazing range-war saga. Alexis Smith co-stars. In Technicolor. Rocky Mountain: The Civil War comes to California, and rebel leader Flynn finds that marauding Shoshones may be fiercer foes than the Union Army. With future Mrs. Flynn, Patrice Wymore. San Antonio: A man is only as good as his aim when Flynn rides into ol' San Antone to hunt cattle rustlers. A landmark of Western excitement with an amazing saloon shoot-'em-up... and the lovely Alexis Smith. In Technicolor. Virginia City: Union officer Flynn goes undercover to stop a gold-laden Nevada wagon train rolling to Dixie. With Randolph Scott and, yes, Humphrey Bogart as a pencil-mustached desperado.

Titles

 

 


 

Virginia City (1940) - Though not as strong as Dodge City, a Flynn/Curtiz picture from the year before (and certainly not as strong as other collaborations like Captain Blood, 1935, or The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938) Virginia City was still a lavishly produced western which proved quite profitable for Warner Bros. The production's backstory, however, is arguably even more entertaining than the film! Flynn plays a Union officer who escapes from a Confederate prison and then tries to prevent a Nevada gold shipment from reaching the Confederate army. Humphrey Bogart is severely - though amusingly - miscast as a half-breed bandit named John Murrell (!) with a Spanish accent and a pencil-thin moustache, and Miriam Hopkins is also out of her element as a saloon singer who's really a Southern spy. Randolph Scott, on the other hand, playing the Southern prison commander and orchestrator of the gold shipment, seems a natural for the part.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


San Antonio (1945) - Errol Flynn disliked the idea of doing Westerns, certain he was far too "British" and sophisticated for the genre. Yet the Australia native - describing himself as "the rich man's Roy Rogers" - was convincing enough as a Western hero to make a successful string of them between Dodge City (1939) and Rocky Mountain (1950). His greatest Western role was as George Armstrong Custer in They Died with Their Boots On (1941), but despite his success in that he was not eager to strap on a holster again for San Antonio (1945), the tale of a cattleman who returns to Texas from Mexico. Armed with proof that one of San Antonio's leading businessmen is the head of a well-organized gang of cattle thieves, he sets out to clean up the town. Along the way he falls in love (and does a little South of the Border-style dancing) with an entertainer from New York, who at first he suspects of being in cahoots with the rustlers. Filmed mostly at Warner Brothers' Calabasas Ranch in California, the movie includes a rousing shootout in the deserted Alamo.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE
 

Montana (1950) - At the outset of Warners' "Montana," which came to the Strand yesterday, "cattle is king" in that territory in which this Technicolored western is supposedly laid. Cattle is king—and Douglas Kennedy and Alexis Smith are the powers behind the throne. And apparently their lives are dedicated to keeping sheep-herders out of the place. But before the picture is over, not only has Errol Flynn moved in with a vast flock of sheep to dethrone the cattle, but Miss Smith has been set to thinking of other things. Let's not dwell too long on the details. They're as plain as the nose on your face. Mr. Flynn can out-shoot, out-ride and out-punch any single cow-poke around the place. He can also make music with a gee-tar and sing cozy duets with Miss Smith, all of which have a powerful influence in changing her opinions with respect to sheep.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
 

Rocky Mountain (1950) - Errol Flynn is an ever gallant fellow, but he seems to carry gallantry too far in Warner Brothers' "Rocky Mountain," which came to the Strand yesterday. So far, in fact, does he carry it in guiding a beautiful dame from a horde of ravaging Indians that he ends up as full of arrows as a war-bonnet is full of feathers. And that's about as far as one can go. The only valid explanation for (Mr. Flynn's conclusive gallantry is that he here represents a Confederate captain and therefore a Southern gentleman. And it seems that a standing rule at Warners is that a Southern gentleman will lay down his life for a lady, even though it means disobeying Robert E. Lee.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Releases: Various from 1940 - 1950

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC
Time: Virginia City - 2:00:56 / San Antonio - 1:48:28 / Montana - 1:16:21 / Rocky Mountain - 1:22:54
Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English (CC), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

Virginia City - 2:00:56 Dual-layered
• Commentary by Historian Frank Thompson

• Vintage newsreel
• Technicolor shorts: Cinderella's Fella and The Flag of Humanity
• Making of Featurette: The Lightening Brigade Rides Again
• Classic Cartoons: Cross Country Detour and Confederate Honey
• Trailers of Virginia City and A Dispatch From Reuters

San Antonio - 1:48:28 Dual-layered
• Vintage newsreel

Variety Shorts - Story of a Dog, Frontier Days and Peeks at Hollywood
• Classic Cartoons: A Tale of Two Mice and Wagon Wheels
• Trailers of San Antonio and 1945's The Corn is Green

Montana - 1:16:21 Dual-layered
• Vintage newsreel
• Joe McDoakes Comedy Short - So You Want a Raise
• Classic Cartoon: It's Hummer Time
• Trailers of Montana and 1950's Chain Lightening

• Bonus gallery of Santa Fe Trail Series Western Shorts  - Oklahoma Outlaws, Wagon Wheels West, and Gun To Gun

Rocky Mountain - 1:22:54 Dual-layered
• Commentary by Errol Flynn Biographer Thomas McNulty
• Vintage newsreel
• Joe McDoakes Comedy Short - So You Want to Move
• Classic Cartoon: Two's a Crowd
• Trailers of Rocky Mountain and 1950's The Breaking Point

• Bonus gallery of Santa Fe Trail Series Western Shorts  - Roaring Guns, Wells Fargo Days West, and Trail By Trigger

DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

4 standard keep cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters:
various

 

Comments:

The 4 main features of this boxset are housed in individual keep cases (see images above and below) but are NOT sold separately at this time. All four are coded for regions 1,2,3, and 4 in the NTSC standard and all four discs are dual-layered and progressively transferred in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Each have original English audio and options for English (CC), or French subtitles (no Spanish) in an off-white font with black border (see samples below). Each offer the the ability to start the feature - Warner Night at the Movies - being able to experience watching the film, as many did originally with newsreel shorts and/or a cartoon or two, trailers etc. ('Play All' option). This is kind of simulating an original vintage theatrical viewing with those shorter 'B' supplements preceding the main feature. I endorse the concept and this manner of viewing - it's very nostalgic and great to set the mood. Two of the features are supplemented by an optional, expert, audio commentary. Bitrates are steady ranging between 5.25 to 5.73 mb/s. Audio is original mono or 2.0 channel stereo.

Image: Pretty strong all around with age being the only determination of differential weaknesses. The dual-layering appears to have benefitted the image quality on all four. Contrast is excellent. The older Virginia City is a shade less detailed but the set is remarkable for its minimal damage and clean look. Warner's patented restoration process has given these films a wonderful, watchable appearance on SD-DVD. I can't speak to the colors on San Antonio and Montana but they looked fairly good to me - bright and reminiscent of Technicolor I have seen from this period. There are no surprises - these DVDs look and sound as good as previous Warner offerings from the same era. I don't expect that any fans will be unhappy with the quality of the image an hope the screen grabs below give you a good indication of how it will look on your system.     

Audio - All original (monaural or 2.0 channel) and are as comparative to the image quality. Dialogue was always clear and consistent. Warner can boast strength in this area - they rarely issue DVDs with substantial audio deficiencies. I noted no excessive gaps, pops or hisses just remember how old these films are and they never sounded like our current state-of-the-art to begin with. The dialogue is supported by subtitles (English CC and French) in a clean, readable font (samples below). 

Extras - Aside from the previously mentioned 'Warner Night at the Movies' section and some theatrical trailers for the feature film, outside of that group (fully listed in the features section above) - the most in-depth supplements belong to the two optional commentaries. Historian Frank Thompson (on Virginia City) and Errol Flynn Biographer Thomas McNulty (Rocky Mountain) give well-prepared dissertations on the specific films. Information flows freely and I enjoyed both - possibly the latter more as it was Flynn's last western film so certain summations could be reached. I am always keen to hear tidbits on the supporting performers from Bogie to the Flynn's sexy friend Alexis Smith. Fans of the era should enjoy greatly.

Overall impression: Well, these are rated as lower tier Flynn but they still have character and charm creating viable entertainment for his fans or appreciators of the western genre. Virginia City was interesting to see as an early bridge to the later works and I enjoyed the similar imperfect black and white feature from a decade later - Rocky Mountain. I had not seen a lot of Alexis Smith and she carried a strong feminine presence to the films having a resounding chemistry with Flynn - yet she was never weak which appears as rather forward thinking. I like the Warner Night extras concept but can see a lot of fans simply passing them by - which is a shame because they really invoke the right attitude prior to viewing. It's like stepping back in time.

I guess, unfortunately, that everything in the world is in accordance with price - and I, personally, think this set has value although the price seems a shade high for what is being offered film-wise. The DVD package is exceptionally competent so fans need not be afraid to indulge on that front. I love having these western films in my library as I revisit this genre constantly.              

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


Sample of Supplements

 


 

Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Starring Errol Flynn Miriam Hopkins Randolph Scott Humphrey Bogart and Alan Hale

 

Screen Captures

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Directed by David Butler, Robert Florey (uncredited) and Raoul Walsh (uncredited)

Starring Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, S.Z. Sakall, Victor Francenand Florence Bates

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

 

Directed by Ray Enright and Raoul Walsh (uncredited)

Starring Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, S.Z. Sakall, Douglas Kennedy and James Brown

 

Screen Captures

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Directed by William Keighley

Starring Errol Flynn, Patrice Wymore, Scott Forbes, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams and Slim Pickens
 

 

Screen Captures

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC




 

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