FLYNN, Errol (1909-1959)

Autograph manuscript, various locations in Spain, 26th March, 1937, through at least April 2, in pencil. 74 pages, averaging at least 20 lines per page, 4 x 6 1/2 inches, bound in dark green leather over paper covers, strongly written and very legible; in very fine condition.
Into the environment of violence and constant strife between fascists led by the iron-fisted Franco on the one side, and republicans and communists on the other, goes the intrepid Errol Flynn. The diary is written at the beginning of the bloodiest Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) in which all the major powers would soon quietly contend, in a prelude to a much larger and horrible affair. Flynn has always been the subject of controversy. He was reviled as a Nazi sympathizer and agent in Charles Higham's 1980 biography "Errol Flynn, the Untold Story", a book which also reported that Flynn was bisexual. Yet Flynn's last film project was a semidocumentary tribute to Fidel Castro which he also wrote, narrated and co-produced. Across 74 pages of personal observation and commentary on intrigues and war, a man cannot help but begin to emerge into the light. Flynn comes off with apparent courage, style, humor, a lot like his screen persona, but somehow even more interesting, and compelling. The first entry is From March 26 as he prepares to enter Spain with a mysterious companion. "Erben left last night after having been refused all visas by U.S. consul. Yesterday we went to the Spanish Embassy to a reception given there for the U.S. Mediterranean unit. The Ambassador is blonde timid & awkward and very nice ... Introduced Erben to U.S consul gen. Southard but found afterwards Erben was under impression he was talking to ambassador and panned the hell of the U.S. Consulate ... Erben finally met my friend Xaviar .... Xaviar gave him a note to the Spanish consul in Perpignon ... I am to meet him in Perpignon tommorow and see if he has his papers -- any sort of papers. I truly hope he has not got to try to dive across border. Two men killed day before yesterday -- shot as they crawled out of river near Cerbiere. I know he'll get in somehow any man who can travel thru Europe on a laundry slip, as I know he's done will get in -- passport or no passport. ...27 March Just arrived Perpignon. No Erber but a note from him .. mysterious -- everything has been arranged for him by telephone he says. He was told to leave yesterday and thinks he is going to get straight through to Barcelona [the center of leftist power]. If not will meet me at Gerbiere at the frontier. I just had time to rush after my cameras etc and get on the train again. Don't know if I like the sound of these strange telephone instructions ... Beautiful spring day, warm sunshine, country beautiful. How can people fight a war in this lovely weather? Four hours train journey from here the most savage cruel patricidal war is being waged ... Just passed some trucks. Takes me back 14 years when I was 13 and had to travel 2 days slow train ... having busted my fare in Paris ... Erben is over. How when or why I don't know. When, yes. He crossed last night at 8 p.m., so his note said. Naturally he couldn't say more." By now it's becoming apparent that there is more going on here than is immediately obvious. After describing with great clarity a bullet-riddled first class train coach, he writes one very clear sentence, followed by one so oblique as to arouse our curiosity. "Everyone is armed -- some with large knives plus revolvers, but all with revolvers. Altogether patronne he stop along house later, other fella something belong fight stop evetime house lohi. The train is stopped. Plane has been heard ... We are crowded with young Loyalists [the leftist/republican faction] all armed and with oddest assortment of uniforms. More soldiers, all kids, get on at every station. We are like sardines and smell like bad ones ... Two hours late getting to Barcelona ... haven't eaten for 24 hours ... some incredibly tough chops are the best money can buy ... Meet army people ... have to give short speech and am cheered when I finish with clenched fist communist salute and the word "Salute" ... Great reception! Erben reminded me afterward I said 'God bless you all' -- heresy here naturally as religion has been abolished. Lucky they didn't understand." Just from this it seems unlikely the two have come to Barcelona, the communist capital, as fellow travelers and idealogues. Then why are they here?
"Fernandez implores me not to go to Madrid but am intrigued by the offer of the gov't party members to take us in an official car ... except for knowing that anyone caught on the Gandalyhyra road in the company of ... Loyalists .. is shot. Five newsmen have died like this. I hear that Franco said ... that when he took Madrid he would shoot instantly all correspondents caught behind Loyalist lines." All the preceeding has been excerpted from the first 9 pages of this riveting 74-page account of Errol Flynn in the thick of the Spanish Civil War. There is a great deal more of even greater interest but in deference to the purchaser the full text of this entirely unpublished original account will remain so. But it is hard to stop. "The pathetic result of piety of the peasants was that the money they gave or were coerced into giving was used by the church to buy arms for the fascists to use against them." Another five page section has the heading "Madrid Front Line". The fascists, with support from the Axis powers, did eventually prevail and their sweep to power ushered in a terrible epoch of atrocities that became symptomatic of their kind and that age.
Provenance: Dierdre Flynn Flynn, Errol Flynn, Errol


View All
View All