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My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn Paperback – November 4, 2002
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This is a major autobiography in the tradition of Cellini, Casanova, and Frank Harris. (Guardian)
Flynn set the record straight and is brutally honest in his posthumously published self-portrait. This restored version of the 1959 original contains numerous passages deletec from earlier editions for fear of lawsuits―he was equally brutal in his portrayal of many Hollywood big shots―plus eight pages of photos and a new introduction by biographer Jeffrey Meyers. (Library Journal)
A document on Hollywood life far beyond its fan magazine fascination… . [Flynn] delivers footnotes to film history that are hard to come by. (San Francisco Chronicle)
The Tasmanian-actor portrays himself not as a debonair swashbuckler but as a chronically unhappy soul whose luck talent and high spirits vaulted him to fame, even as he remained unfulfilled until the end. (Indiana Gazette)
This restored version of the 1959 original contains numerous passages deleted from earlier editions for fear of lawsuits- he was equally brutal in his portrayal of many Hollywood big shots- plus eight pages of photos and a new introduction by biographer Jeffery Meyers. (Michael Rogers Library Journal)
In the book, Flynn writes in a loose style, sometimes reminiscent of someone writing in a journal, sometimes as though he is talking to a friend. (Carol Moulton Clifton Record)
"the confessions of a rake, unsparing of himself or anyone else..." (Newsweek)
William Macy isn't a fan of horses, althoughn he understands the power of aniamals on the human spirit. <1>But there's something about telling stories about animals that allows us to epathize ever more than we can with people. (The Scoop)
Incredibly absorbing… . Just as in life, Flynn spares himself nothing-and from his book emerges the same roguish charm that endeared his celluloid incarnation to millions. (Saturday Review)
Flynn writes cleverly, as he talked. He has left us a good book. (The New York Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a vibrant book by a vibrant man (although he did have help from a ghost writer). He lead a remarkable devil-may-care life, but under the surface, he had the soul of a writer and a desire to do more with his sharp intellect. But drinking dulls the wit and robs ambition. I have since read his published novels and he is quite a talented story-teller. In the films preceding his death, he shows his potential for becoming a serious character actor of high caliber. Who knows what fine things he may have written or what complex roles he may acted had he lived longer and with fewer demons?
Truly an incredibly gifted individual, and, despite his matinee idol status, one who was greatly under-appreciated in his own time both for his acting and his writing, Few have ever had his compelling presence on film, nor the vigor and joie de vivre that fairly leap out at you, especially in his earlier films.
Flynn died 4 months before I was even born, but as I have gotten to know him through his words and his films, I find myself mourning the loss of one who Olivia deHavilland once called "a beautiful man," and the life so tragically cut short by his own excesses. His last recorded words were, "I've had a hell of a life and I don't regret a single moment of it." And I've had a hell of a time watching it all unfold in his movies, novels and now, his autobiography. Rest in peace, Mr. Flynn. Although, knowing him, he is in heaven carousing with the archangels. Or, maybe sword-fighting with the Devil himself.
He has the ability to write so that you can see it all, in your mind's eye, as if you were right there along with him. More importantly, as he takes you on his journey, he moves you to feel what he was feeling when it was happening to him.
Want to go a step further? You can really go with him to Mandarin House, in Macau, China, where he gambled with a girl named Ting Ling. Just Google "Mandarin House". Want to see the hotel where Lili, his mad wife, threw a flower pot off the balcony at him on the street below? Google the "Plaza Athenee", in Paris. It looks like a nice place, with wide balconies, full of flower pots.
I especially liked the part in the book where, as a young man, he meets his life long friend Hermann, and they go from New Guinea to London on cargo ships, trains, and anything that will get them closer to their destination. Along the way they get rich, and become penniless, over and over again.
Another thing that makes this book a joy to read is that Flynn is a man of consciences, who does unconscionable things to survive. He was able to adapt to the circumstances he found himself in very well.
He was a man who lived life without limits, but that takes a toll.
When he died at age fifty, he had the body of an eighty year old man.
So, who was Errol Flynn?
He was a lovable little boy who was unloved and abused badly. He worked very hard to make of himself a successful and respectable man, but success slipped through his fingers, and he was ashamed of himself. When he was making Robin Hood he was a stunning figure of a man in good health and vigor, but he kept passing out on the set because of his many health problems. Women fell at his feet because of his looks and charm and stardom, but he was afraid of women because they destroyed his life. When everyone thought he was on top of the world, rich, and surrounded by beautiful women who adored him, he was really only sitting alone on the edge of his bed in the dark, with the muzzle of a revolver in his mouth. He was one of the most sophisticated men the world has ever seen, but he had the heart of a child.
He describes himself as "a desperate and hard man doing what he had to, to get on". I'll take him at his word on that.
The complexity of this poor damaged men, his good luck and terrible misfortune, and the extreme adventures he lived, make him a rare and awe-inspiring individual. In his wake he leaves behind the story of an amazing life.