Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cuban Rebel Girls (1959)

Director: Barry Mahon

Writer: Errol Flynn

Composer: ???

Starring: Errol Flynn, Beverly Aadland, John McKay, Jackie Jackler, Marie Edmund, Ben Ostrowsky, Reynerio Sanchez, Andres Fernandez, Esther Oliva, Tod Scott Brody, Allen Baron, Clelle Mahon, Ramon Ramierez

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Flynn's Latest! A dramatic moment in his mad dash thru life...bursting with romance and adventure!

Plot: Errol Flynn, playing himself as a war correspondent, helps Fidel Castro overthrow Cuban dictator Batista. The film was shot, with Castro's cooperation, while he was still fighting Batista.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Barry Mahon was a fighter pilot in WWII and, after being shot down, his new residence as a P.O.W. was at Stalag Luft III, the one you know from THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) and he helped dig one of the tunnels used in the famous escape.  Steve McQueen's role in that picture is based on Mahon!!! After the war he became Errol Flynn's personal pilot and manager.  Think about that for a moment. Errol Flynn was the world's most adventurous movie star.  Of course he's going to have someone with badass credentials like Mahon working for him as his personal pilot and manager.  It's seems Mahon was a better Nazi killer and prison camp escapee than he was at helming this picture.

OK, that might seem a tad harsh but in fairness, it's not that good of a picture.  Lead actress, Beverly Aadland, was only 17 at the time (two years into her affair with the then 50 year old Flynn!!! Do the math, he was fucking her at 15!) and it's clear she doesn't have the acting chops worthy of an Errol Flynn picture but then she delivers what you'd expect for a forgettable low budget B picture which is exactly what this is.  The difference is Errol Flynn, one of the biggest movie stars ever, wrote, starred and narrates it.  That's all.  And being how it's Flynn, it comes as no surprise that it's called Cuban Rebel Girls, focusing on the gals instead of, well, any other aspect of the Cuban resistance led by Fidel Castro.

The picture is probably filled with people of varying talents ranging from very little acting experience to no acting experience.  It plays exactly like a low to no budget action movie of the 50s would except that it's filmed entirely in Cuba before Castro took power and the United States placed an embargo that holds to this day.  It's a curiosity mostly because of Flynn's involvement AND because it was the last film he made before his death later that year.  Ever since I saw THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) as a kid (my favorite action movie of all time second only to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)) I've been a huge fan of Flynn.  His off screen persona was equaled only by his on screen characters.  He was as dashing and as charismatic as they came.  In this picture he's 50 and he looks at least a decade older.  His adventurous life of booze, drugs, whoring and real life action had taken its toll and it shows.  But, underneath that tired voice and worn face was still the amazing Errol Flynn, a man who lived his life as he chose and as the world expected, and I can't fault him for that.

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