Thursday, September 4, 2014

Eroll Flynn's last affair

A strong cast can't quite overcome the emotionally undernourished quality of The Last of Robin Hood, a look at the scandalous final days of iconic Hollywood hero Errol Flynn. A notorious womanizer and drinker, Flynn's final fling involved a 15-year-old girl.

Kevin Kline, an actor we don't seem to see enough of, makes a convincing Flynn, a fading star who readily concedes that he suffers from an irredeemably inflated ego. This Flynn seems to think that his powerful attraction to a teen-ager somehow justifies his behavior. How could he do other than be himself?

Dakota Fanning, who's now 20, plays Beverly Aadland, a teen-age show business wannabe who's seduced by Flynn, who still knows how work his roguish charm.

Writer/directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland also make room for Beverly's mother Florence, portrayed by a fine Susan Sarandon.

Although inconsistently used, the directors employ a device in which Florence -- who was pilloried in the tabloids after Flynn's death in 1959 at the age of 50 -- tells a sympathetic reporter (Jason Davis) the "real" story behind her daughter's affair with a big-screen legend.

Florence's own show-business aspirations as a dancer were thwarted after she lost a leg in an automobile accident.

Hardly an irresistible Lolita, Fanning's greatest achievement is to convince us that her character neither can act nor sing, not an easy achievement for the palpably talented Fanning.

For those unfamiliar with Flynn's story, this by-the-numbers tale should prove interesting enough, but an overly modest approach keeps The Last of Robin Hood from really getting under our skins.

There aren't many movies to which the following statement applies, but The Last of Robin Hood could have used a dash or two of tabloid fury.

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