From his earliest days in film, Errol Flynn was recognized as the best
swashbuckling actor in Hollywood
. While he was rarely praised by
the critics for his dramatic work, it was said of Flynn that no one could
handle a sword
, wear a costume, or woo a lady like he did.
Film fencing master Ralph Faulkner worked twice with Errol Flynn.
They first met in 1935. "I doubled for Errol in Captain Blood,
the movie that made him a star. Later, we crossed blades in The
Sea Hawk, which was done in 1940. It's one of his best films."
Added Faulkner, "Most people underrated Flynn. But he never failed
to impress me. In those days, he had a memory like an elephant's.
He could remember duels, move for move, even after we'd laid off of them
for days at a time. That's not an easy thing to do. I never
tried to remember them. I always wrote everything down."
While never a real fencer in the competitive sense, Errol Flynn was
a natural athlete who was able to look good with a weapon in his hand.
Other films in which he wielded a sword include The Prince and the Pauper
(1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Adventures of Don Juan
(1949), Against All Flags (1952), Master of Ballantrae (1953), Crossed
Swords (1953), and The Warriors (1955).
A man without much personal discipline, Errol Flynn died in 1959, at
the age of 50, from a life of extreme dissipation. Yet,
the legacy of his greatest swashbuckler films continue to impose their
magical influence on the public's recognition of fencing even to this day.
From The Art and Science of Fencing, by Nick Evangelista