charliechaplinfan wrote:does anyone know why Errol got cast by MGM? did they simply see how good he would be in the role)
The long time leading man at Metro, William Powell
, campaigned for few roles, but Clarence Day Sr. in the very popular adaptation of LIfe With Father
was one of them. Mogul Louis B. Mayer traded Flynn for Powell so that the MGM stalwart could play his coveted role at Warners under the direction of Michael Curtiz.
However, Flynn had originally been cast as Philip Bosinney (called "Bosinney-ninny" by Errol), but he was drawn to Soames Forsyte instead. As the actor explained his desire to challenge himself, he pointed out that "I don't know whether I can convey how deep the yearning is of an actor who has been stereotyped, who has that sword and horse wound about him, to prove to himself and to others that he is an actor. I worked hard for this role in That Forsyte Woman
. I think that the picture was one of the few worthwhile vehicles in which I played."
Off camera, people expected the Garson-Flynn working styles to clash but they were disappointed.
“We stalked each other like terriers for a couple of days,” Garson said, “then we found out we had a terrific lot in common.” According to Flynn, "Before I was introduced, I primed myself with about three vodkas. When I was introduced [to Greer Garson], I adopted an air of bravado, the hearty Australian from the outback. I shook hands heartily, than I slapped her on the fanny. 'Hi yuh, Red!' I said. Everybody froze. There was a brief pause. Then she went into a torrent of laughter. That broke the ice."
Given the fact that other leading men such as Clark Gable in Adventure
(1945) and Robert Mitchum (who replaced Robert Montgomery on the movie) in Desire Me
(1947) did not find themselves in sympathy with Garson, it is interesting that Flynn and his leading lady were so friendly. Perhaps their mutual backgrounds in British repertory companies helped cement a common bond?
Btw, Robert Young reportedly loathed his role in That Forsyte Woman
, believing he was too old for the part and too American. I think it's a thankless and tough part to play well. Perhaps a youthful Peter Lawford or Farley Granger might have pulled it off in that period.
[Most of the quotes in this post can be found in My Wicked, Wicked Ways
by Errol Flynn, Errol Flynn: The Life and Career
by Thomas McNulty, and A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson
by Michael Troyan.]