A few months before his death, the Australian actor accompanied the last five days of Castro’s revolution in the condition of a reporter. Santiago entered into with the beards and wrote a series of articles now discovered at the University of Texas, but that had already been partly published in Cuba.
“Castro was sitting on a bed. I could not see his face very well. He had a beard and was busy: he had the ear leaning against a small radio receiver. At one table, less than one meter of it, there was a Belgian revolver, a weapon terrifying aspect. ” Thus it was that Errol Flynn, the famous Hollywood actor of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, described his meeting with the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, on December 27, 1958, days before the beards of the Sierra Maestra have entered, victorious in Santiago de Cuba, toppling the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
A few months before his death in October 1959, the actor who gave the body, in movies, vigilante Robin Hood that accompanied it, there seemed to have a similar story of the legendary English hero, he realized how the revolutionaries led by Fidel and Raul personified at the time the will of the Cuban people, crushed by an evil regime and away from the opulent casinos and hotels reserved for foreign millionaires. Flynn followed as a reporter, the last five days of the revolution and went with the bearded in Santiago on New Year’s Day.
The Errol Flynn wrote texts that have not arrived, but the pages of the newspaper that employed him, the New York Journal American. One report, Castro and I, Was published in the Cuban Bohemia sometime later, but the rest of the material produced by the only American correspondent who accompanied the triumph of the revolutionaries remained stored in the archives of the University of Texas, where he was recently discovered.
According to the BBC, Errol Flynn explained in the reports we even tried to teach Fidel Castro speaking in public, telling yet how, in a brief meeting with Ernesto Guevara, Che did not recognize. Nevertheless, Castro has said the actor-reporter that the Cubans would eventually recognize him from the movies. “I think we will be happy to see someone famous in the United States, who may have seen in the film is sufficiently interested to come see them,” Flynn transcribed.
Chatting with Fidel
In another article, the actor has some fighting he saw and how they ended up wounded in the leg, hit by shrapnel from a grenade. The BBC article does not provide otherwise more details, but resorting to a report published in Cuban BohemiaIt is even possible to read the description of the flight that led to the Errol Flynn of the East department, where he arrived after the release of the River Cauto. “The pilot had a gun at his side and told me it was loaded with a bullet in the chamber in case of being caught.” Two hours after leaving Flynn in the liberated territory, the pilot will even eventually be slaughtered.
The conversation with Fidel, with the help of an interpreter, is also thoroughly described in an article published in Bohemia. “Should I call him master and lord Castro?” Said Flynn. “Call me like everyone else, Fidel,” the guerrilla have responded, adding that the actor was free to do whatever he wanted, with whomever he chose, which included photographing it to him or anyone else who might be there. “It’s totally free to do so,” echoed Fidel, now removed from power for health reasons (he was president of Cuba between 1976 and 2008).
Castro has also refused to share a drink of rum with Errol Flynn: “He did not like any kind of alcoholic beverage. He told me:” I suffered the same, but thanks to a great discipline, I managed to overcome this need. ”
In the story, the actor also has accompanied Fidel as the jeep ride that traversed the country using the roads very difficult, visiting the cities already released. “I thought it would tire him, but in fact he was nearly killed me with that trip of several days of dusty roads,” wrote Flynn. And then, suddenly, actor and photographer who accompanied him were awakened and realized that they were to come into Santiago. “I was the only American war correspondent who was with Castro and anyone else in the United States could be with him,” he wrote.
“Errol loved heroes and I think he thought Castro was just a good guy who tried to free his country to give ordinary citizens,” he says in the BBC article that reported on the discovery of the reports, Beverly Aadland, the then Flynn’s young girlfriend, who accompanied him on that trip to Cuba, ostensibly to search for locations for the filming of a movie. “Not a lie, as I had initially thought interviewing Fidel Castro for a movie about him and the movement headed,” wrote the actor still in Article Castro and I.
Later that same spring of 1959, Flynn would run, in fact, the movie Cuban Rebel GirlsThat virtually no one saw that and had the role of Beverly Aadland an innocent translator. This year, the actor has left the assembled documentary The Cuban Story, Featuring images taken since 1953, with the participation of the actor. The movie would only be displayed in 1960 in Moscow, after having been rediscovered in 2001 and released on DVD next year.
The presence of Errol Flynn with the revolutionary cause at the time, some controversy has arisen rumors that the actor has come to fight alongside the rebels in Cuba. Soon in January 1959, by the way, “Captain Blood” was interviewed on a program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which denied having been involved at this point: “I did not catch on anything more dangerous than a ballpoint pen,” he said Flynn, adding Fidel Castro, during those days, overcame the greatest expectations that it had.
Asked to justify the executions without trial, which by then was no news, Errol Flynn was evasive: “I do not justify. Fidel told me that those who had done horrible things would get justice. But there are people in most radical movement and I think during a revolution, you can not control people more savage, “he said.
At BBC, the Cuban writer Carlos Eire, now in exile, believes, moreover, that in early 1959, the program Fidel was completely democratic. “For a Hollywood actor who gave body to Robin Hood, the image of a type to fight in the mountains to liberate a country, there have seemed to the achievement of fiction. I think Castro also tricked him,” said the writer .
“My father never thought that Castro would become a communist,” agrees Rory Flynn, a daughter of the actor. “My father was not only the actor and hedonistic womanizer forming. It was a serious man, believed in things, wrote books, poems and documentaries. I think deep down he was a journalist,” he told BBC.
Errol Flynn, refer, visited Cuba since the 1930s, sharing the same hedonistic lifestyle for which the island became famous among the wealthiest Americans, who became revolutionaries in what they called a “brothel.” In a video on YouTube, part of The Cuban Storyactor shows, moreover, this glamorous side of the country, always among the beauties and the edge of roulette tables and Black JackBut also took the opportunity to recall the unfortunate and poor people who inhabited the normally hidden side of the island – “those who have no place in casinos and nightclubs.”
Errol Flynn’s interest in politics was no longer news in the late 1950s, when he entered his career in decline and the actor was forced to respond to several lawsuits and even accusations of rape or being a Nazi spy.
Already in the 1930 Errol Flynn had followed the trail of Ernest Hemingway (whose fifth Cuban also visited) and took part in the Spanish Civil War as a supporter of Republicans. In February 1937, until the actor was in Madrid condemned Franco, was shot and survived an air attack, revealing, after all, have better luck than her son Sean, who disappeared in 1970 during the Vietnam War, which followed as a reporter for Time.
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