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The Story of William Tell (Unfinished 1953 Errol Flynn Film)

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In 1953, Errol Flynn was riding high with his popular acting career. The Australian celebrity started getting more and more ambitious with his work and decided to start producing as well. He made a deal with Jack Cardiff to make a movie based off of the Swiss folklore of the legendary William Tell; the film appropriately titled The Story of William Tell.

Flynn had a set built as a model ski resort, (just off Mont Blanc), known for its elaborate location and building designs. The cost of the set's production was so high that by the time Flynn got shooting he barely had enough money to pay his actors. He could only afford to film 30 minutes worth of footage before having to halt production.

He showed the unfinished film at a few film festivals to try to get some investors interested, though bouts of dysentery kept him in the bathroom, unable to meet with them and discuss a deal. He then attempted to fake an injury to make an insurance claim, which also blew up in his face. Ultimately, Flynn never got the opportunity to complete his dream project.

A little bit over a minute of footage was shown on Turner Classic Movies in the early 90s as part of a feature on Flynn, but the feature itself is now lost as well. None of the 30 minutes of footage has surfaced and nobody knows where any copies can be found, as Flynn's estates have chosen to remain silent about it. The footage is now considered entirely lost, with only a single still from the film remaining, as well as a single photograph taken during production. The model ski resort was turned into a real ski resort that uses the film's production to lure tourists in every year, and is still active today.

Flynn as William Tell

Flynn as William Tell, in a still from the film.

Flynn

Photograph taken during the film's production.

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