Cuban Rebel Girls

(1959)

directed by Barry Mahon, 65 minutes

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No one would likely ever claim that CUBAN REBEL GIRLS is a good film. The title, alone, should be a bit of a giveaway. But it is a fascinating story, regardless. This curious effort was the final film by actor (and, in this case, writer) Errol Flynn. Flynn portrays a war correspondent in Cuba intent on interviewing Fidel Castro prior to the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista. That, alone, would be the equivalent of watching a train wreck. Flynn, at this point, was in poor health and died shortly after filming was completed. The subject matter isn't a fluke, however. Supposedly, in the aftermath of revolution, Errol Flynn rode a tank in the victory parade through the streets of Havana. CUBAN REBEL GIRLS was additionally the directorial debut of Barry Mahon (who was Flynn's manager at the time). Mahon was the inspiration for the Steve McQueen character in the THE GREAT ESCAPE. Though it might seem unbelievable from the evidence here, he continued directing (primarily exploitation films) for the decade thereafter. Arguably the most interesting aspect of the film is the role performed by Beverly Aadland both on- and off-screen. Sixteen years old at the time of filming, it is said that she had already been dating Flynn for two years. Without her, this film probably wouldn't exist. She was responsible for keeping Flynn in reasonable enough health to appear in the film.

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