Official Trailer

Classical Hollywood, Cuba, Errol Flynn, Movie TheatresJul 08 2019Comments Off on Official Trailer

Featuring original interviews and stunning footage of some of Havana’s most famous movie houses, Errol Flynn’s Ghost chronicles the enduring cultural impact of American movies in Cuba, while recalling the last great real-life adventure of Hollywood swashbuckler Errol Flynn — the Cuban revolution.

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Flynn Meets Fidel

Flynn biographer Thomas McNulty (Errol Flynn: The Life and Career) discusses the improbable meeting between Flynn and Fidel Castro in late 1958.The encounter between Flynn and Castro has inspired at least one novel (Boyd Anderson’s Errol, Fidel, and the Cuban Rebel Girls) and served as a backdrop for the narrative film The Last of Robin Hood (starring Kevin Kline as Flynn). We don’t need fictional license. The real story is unbelievable enough.

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Cuban Tinseltown

A Cuban rebel fighter and confidante of Fidel Castro in the 1950s, today Max Lesnik is a radio commentator and the director of Alianza Martiana, an organization dedicated to the principle of Latin American sovereignty. Lesnik is also a lover of Classical Hollywood and a master storyteller. In this clip, he describes the regular presence of Hollywood movie stars in Havana in the 1940s and 1950. Lesnik, it turns out, had a personal brush with one of them: Errol Flynn. As Lesnik recalls, Flynn was in Havana with a camera crew (shooting footage for what would eventually become the semi-documentary Cuban Story) during the first weeks of 1959, around the time the rebels rode in. “There’s a shot of some rebels standing in front of a building, and I’m in that group,” Lesnik told us, adding, “I always wanted to thank Flynn for introducing me to the American public.”

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Cine Envy

As historian Megan Feeney explains, mid-20th century Havana may not only have had more movie theatre seats per capita than any major city in the hemisphere, it also had some of the most elaborate movie palaces anywhere. The greatest of them all might have been the Blanquita, which Feeney discusses in detail here. Opened by Senator Alfredo Hornedo in 1949 in the Havana suburb of Miramar, the Blanquita was billed as “the world’s largest and most modern theater,” seating nearly 7,000 patrons in air-conditioned comfort and equipped with the latest film projection technology. Little wonder that, following the revolution, the theatre was rechristened the Karl Marx. Megan Feeney holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and is the author of the forthcoming Hollywood in Havana: U.S. Cinema and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba Before 1959.

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A Foreign Affair

Noted author and Hollywood historian Scott Eyman explains just how important foreign distribution was to the Classical Hollywood studio system in the mid-20th century, comprising as much as 40 percent of its revenue. This interview was shot in Eyman’s West Palm Beach writing den, which contains one of the greatest collections of Hollywood literature and memorabilia we’ve ever stumbled across. (Luckily, we were able to keep our balance, and the cameras rolling.) Scott Eyman is the author of numerous best-selling books, including John Wayne: The Life and Legend, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, and Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille.

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