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Errol & Olivia: Ego & Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood Hardcover – October 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“Matzen, who co-wrote the wonderful Errol Flynn Slept Here last year, explores the on and off-screen relationship between Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland . . . and provide . . . impeccable research about their films. It’s all presented in a handsome hardcover package with many rare, hitherto-unpublished photos. Anyone who loves going behind the scenes in the golden age of Hollywood will find this book compelling.”  —Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian

Errol & Olivia can’t help but be riveting film history, but what makes it a particularly valuable addition to the literature of the movies is its analysis of the turbulent, yin-yang attraction/repulsion between Flynn and de Havilland—a man who couldn’t be faithful to anyone, even himself, and a woman who demanded fidelity, especially to the craft of acting.”  —Scott Eyman, author, Empire of Dreams and Lion of Hollywood

“The story of Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, famed 1930s and ‘40s film team, reads like juicy fiction but also happens to be true . . . Even for cinema buffs who wax poetic about Golden-Era Hollywood, this volume’s truth will exceed even the most imaginative of expectations.”  —Metrosource NY

Errol & Olivia is quickie tell-all. It's a big, beautiful book, full of photos from both in front of and behind the camera. If you're a fan of classic Hollywood, this book deserves a spot on your shelf. Just make sure you save a big spot.”  —Rockford Register Star

“Robert Matzen's text is well-researched, and more serious than one might expect at first glance, for what’s essentially a glossy coffee table book about the movie team. At times Errol and Olivia reads like a novel, with the author moving his characters along parallel tracks, as he traces the history of their relationship.”  —Los Angeles/Orange County Arts Examiner

“For anyone who is a fan of the Flynn/De Havilland pictures, as I am, this is a rare treat that you'll want to welcome to your book collection. Its a great pick up and read a chapter type book, with enough juicy stories to keep you interested through many readings. A must have for classic film fans.”  —

“This is a beautiful book, as informative to read as it is sheer pleasure to browse like a photo album.”  —

“Those who have always seen Olivia de Havilland as the innocent virgin she often portrays on screen, largely perpetuated by her films with Flynn, will be in for a surprise, as I was . . . Matzen's book highlights many behind-the-scene tales of woe and wonder.”  —

About the Author

Robert Matzen has appeared on BBC 2 and BBC Radio 4 and was the writer and director of George Washington’s First War, Pursuit of Honor, and When the Forest Ran Read. He is the author of Carol Lombard: A Bio-Bibliography and the co-author of Errol Flynn Slept Here. He lives in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Communications; First Edition edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097116858X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971168589
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Matzen is winner of the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award for his book, "Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3," which builds upon Robert's work as a communication specialist for NASA Aeronautics. His writing career began straight out of college with the mass-market paperback, "Research Made Easy: A Guide for Students and Writers" for Bantam Books, where his editor was New York publishing legend Toni Burbank. Since then Robert has written best sellers and edited the best-selling books of others. His fifth book, "Errol & Olivia: Ego & Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood" (GoodKnight Books, 2010) earned recognition in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year and USA Book Awards competitions.

Robert has earned wide media attention for his work, including print, TV, and radio exposure in major U.S. markets as well as appearances on the BBC and Radio Russia. In April 2014 he earned his first national byline for a Fox News editorial on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. He has also been consulted for expert opinions concerning Hollywood history nationally and internationally on radio and in print.

Robert's work as a filmmaker has deepened his understanding of Classic Hollywood. The motion pictures he has written and directed have achieved national broadcast and won awards including a New York Festivals Gold Medal, American Association of Museums Muse Award, and many others. His 2001 historical film, "When the Forest Ran Red," is recognized as the classic documentary of the French and Indian War in America--the war that launched the career of George Washington.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By N. Doyle on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Matzen has written a wonderfully interesting and well researched book on ERROL AND OLIVIA, filled with reports on their blossoming relationship while participating at the Warner factory in something like eight films together.

Although I'm familiar with much of what has previously been made public about the two stars, both of whom have been favorites of mine for years, I did learn a lot of new details about their complex, sometimes stormy, sometimes serene relationship. Their ambitions and goals are explored and well documented. In addition, the photos are plentiful and some are really gorgeous. However, I could have done without that unretouched close-up of Olivia during her depression over being assigned to play Abby Irving in DODGE CITY. Highly unflattering.

And I did notice what I think were a couple of errors here and there. Never before did a writer suggest that Olivia auditioned for Melanie for Cukor and Selznick on a "cavernous sound stage." The story, even from the lady herself, has always been that she auditioned for them at Selznick's office, the Southern mansion depicted at the start of every Selznick film, not on a sound stage. Additionally, much that is written about Olivia appears to view her in an unfavorable light while at the same time praising her for having the mind of a man in a woman's body, using her wit and intelligence to successfully combat some of the overpowering men who ran the studio.

Still, it makes fascinating and sometimes complex reading, full of rich details and speculations. Another possible error involves Matzen's description of the conversation between Michael Caine and Olivia on the set of THE SWARM where she indicated having consummated her fling with Errol on a certain hilltop.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Thomas R Wilson on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Hepburn and Tracy, Bogart and Bacall, these are names that conjure up grand romance, onscreen and off. But Flynn and DeHavilland? On the big screen, Errol and Olivia played lover's parts, but who knew that their volatile chemistry spilled into their private lives?

Robert Matzen takes us from Tasmania to Paris, from Hollywood to the Spanish Civil War and through Castro's Cuban revolution in "Errol and Olivia: Ego and Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood" to teach us a history lesson that few have studied.

Piecing together the story from studio archives, interviews and his lifelong passion for the cinema, Matzen's lavishly illustrated book takes us behind the scenes at Warner Brothers, MGM and Selznick's studio to show us how the movies were REALLY made.

From the safe distance of sixty years, we often think of the Golden Age of Hollywood as a time and place of genius studio autuers and their glamorous stars who created magic and wonderment for our continuing enjoyment. This book paints a picture more true and riveting, a picture of troubled people trying to make a living in a soulless business run by money-mad maniacs.

Where the historical record of shooting schedules, terse contemporaneous memos and later interviews with the people involved leaves blank spaces, Matzen extrapolates a story that frankly rocks with 21st century attitude and careens forward at a hectic pace.

Beyond the tales of scandal and romance, Olivia DeHavilland's struggles with Warners studio heads and ultimate triumphs in "Gone With the Wind" and subsequent Oscar successes make for some of the best moments in the book. Flynn's inevitable tragic arc is traced, and Matzen pulls no punches to soften the landing of his hero.

"Errol and Olivia: Ego and Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood" is a must-read for any student of cinema history and lover of movie classics.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-have for fans of de Havilland and Flynn. Well-researched and assembled, this book looks at their mercurial pairing on-screen and speculates as to the real nature of their relationship off-screen. It is overflowing with interesting tidbits that portray the day-to-day operations of the Warner's lot and the grueling work schedules endured by two of the most glamorous stars under contract to the studio.
That Olivia and Errol worked together very successfully is not in question as they were among the most successful pairings in Hollywood. While this book contains several anecdotes that might suggest their relationship went beyond a warm friendship and an easy working relationship, I can't completely buy into the assertion by Michael Caine that de Havilland stated that the two stars consumated a physical relationship. Olivia de Havilland has adamently denied this while also admitting that there was a most definite attraction that she managed to keep at bay. Errol Flynn was a fairly resourceful guy in the romance department, but Olivia was also pretty clear headed when it came to business matters and matters of the heart. Beyond the real/reel romance issue which may never be known, this book stands as a great tribute to a great screen coupling and pulls a lot of very interesting information together for their fans and people interested in the golden age of Hollywood.
This was a very enjoyable book and I thought it showed a lot of thought and persistence on the part of the author.
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