The Last of Robin Hood (2013)
Thirty years before his performance as Errol Flynn in The Last of Robin Hood, Kevin Kline portrayed another famous screen swashbuckler in the biopic Chaplin (1992). As Douglas Fairbanks Snr, Kline perfectly captured the charm and derring-do of that star’s younger years before sympathetically portraying his gradual decline. No such favourable treatment is accorded to Flynn. Though bouts of malaria and self-administered morphine injections are geared towards eliciting sympathy for the aging lothario, it’s difficult to care for him while he is seducing a fifteen year old girl.
If anything, our concern should be for the object of his affection, but Dakota Fanning’s vapid portrayal of Beverly Aadland puts paid to that. Opening shortly after Flynn’s death, gathered reporters are keen to discover who this mysterious ‘Lolita’ is. Disappointed by her reluctance to divulge the sordid details of their affair, they invent their own. In an effort to combat such lies, Beverly’s mother (Susan Sarandon) agrees to an interview. Yet despite this framing device raking over the coals of Flynn’s last years, the viewer’s understanding of Beverly is no wiser at the end of this film than the reporters were at its start.
Though Kline is an ideal choice for Flynn and Sarandon has some fun as a one-legged stage-mother, they remain caricatures playing opposite a cipher. Perhaps the writer/director’s late friendship with Aadland prevented them from being objective. Whatever the reason, Beverly’s triumphant walk towards the camera at the film’s end rings as hollow as the dedication that follows it.
as Errol Flynn
as Beverly Aadland
as Gene Kelly
as John Ireland
Beverly’s date with a motorcycling crew member actually took place in Jamaica, not Cuba.
There is no depiction of Patrice Wymore in the film, despite the fact she was still married to Errol Flynn at the time of his affair with Beverly Aadland. This may be because she was still alive when the biopic was being filmed.
Despite the odd bit of shadow-fencing and appearing in his Roots of Heaven costume, there are no scenes of Kline recreating Flynn’s screen performances. Instead, we get a scene recreation from his last film, Cuban Rebel Girls.