Read almost any study of the Golden Age of movies and sooner or later you will probably come up against a reference to the “classic pairing” of Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone as swashbuckling duelists. They are the go-to names and imagery for the genre. When you want to illustrate a classic sword-fight – you use a still from The Adventures of Robin Hood. In the collective consciousness these two fought each other through countless rounds in countless films. Rathbone and Flynn, Flynn and Rathbone locking swords, throwing giant shadows across our memory as they parry and thrust and leap in an eternal, immortal showdown.
So, in how many movies did they duel each other? Ten? Seven? Five?
No, actually it was two.
Count them. Captain Blood in 1935. The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938.
Just two. Only one more time than Flynn dueled Henry Daniell or Rathbone fought Tyrone Power.