Buckles Of Swash

In a recent conversation with fellow blogger, Benson, we discussed actor Errol Flynn, who often played daring and dauntless characters, ripe with resourcefulness, chivalry, and swordfighting skills. He is remembered as the consummate swashbuckler. A biography of Flynn is even titled Portrait of a Swashbuckler.

The fearless and fabulous Flynn in 1940's "The Sea Hawk"
The fearless and fabulous Flynn in 1940’s “The Sea Hawk”

Not to be outdone, the biography series of Douglas Fairbanks, The Great Swashbuckler, features scenes of him in iconic swashbuckling roles such as The Three Musketeers. Watch him get his swashbuckle on.


I fear the term is going by the wayside, and this has to stop. Per wikipedia, the word swashbuckler generally describes a protagonist who is heroic and idealistic to the bone and who rescues damsels in distress. His opponent is typically characterized as the dastardly villain. 


I have never gone in for romance novels, was never tempted by colorful covers of longhaired Fabios and heaving bosoms beneath torn bodices. But it’s not hard to understand why a woman would enjoy fantasizing about an honorable, courageous hero, eager to defeat evil as well as capture her body heart.

I did, however, see The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Princess Bride, the latter in my formative years, which left a generation of adolescent girls seeking their own Farm Boy-turned-dueling Dread Pirate Roberts, who would say, “As you wish” to their every desire. What lady wouldn’t want that?


One need not read to deeply into it to determine the suggestiveness of a hero who is good with his sword. And I do believe Robin Hood is quoted as saying, “Rise and rise again.”

So are there any modern day swashbucklers? Captain Jack Sparrow in the recent Pirates of the Carribbean franchise with his pirate swaggah, could pass for a swashbuckler. One might even argue that Indiana Jones played a cocky swashbuckler, engaging in daring and romantic adventures, although he lacked the ostentatious bravado. And the mustache. 

In any event, the swashbuckling archetype, driven nearly into extinction after its overexposure in movies and mid-century TV shows, is due for re-entry.




22 thoughts on “Buckles Of Swash”

  1. agreed on all counts. Have you watched Dr. Who? It features a Captain Jack Harkness, who would qualifying as a swashbuckler, though a time-traveling one.

    And Princess Bride is top of my list of Favorite Movie of All Time Ever. Am a Peter Falk fan and love everything about that movie–swashbuckling included.


    1. I have not watched Dr. Who more then thrice. I never got into Sci Fi. Now I’ll have to google him. My son and hub like Dr. Who, going so far as to build a 4 ft blue Tardis last month, which now serves as a bookshelf/portal in my son’s room. There is no denying the power of The Princess Bride. Really, Peter Falk?


      1. yes Peter Falk! Own the entire Columbo collection and for whatever reason, am a big fan. Call me quirky.

        Re: Dr. Who. This is amb’s fault. I have never had any interest in sci fi (except for when Bruce Boxleitner wrote two novels–I totally have these and they’re autographed! https://www.goodreads.com/series/85350-frontier-earth), but amb yakked away about her beloved Dr Matt this, her beloved Dr. Matt that. And overall, she has great taste so I started watching. At episode 7 of the new batch of seasons (not the classics–watched those for background, but what snore), I was in deep. Became an obsession. Not so much that I’m a Whovian *shudder*, but I got into the relationships and humanity, etc. Really good show and can suck a person in. As seen in your hub and son’s Tardis book shelf. That’s awesome! Can you send a picture? Would love to see? I went so far as to buy a Tardis ice bucket. And I named a cocktail after Dr. who’s sonic screwdriver in a post last winter. Were you reading then?

        Google away and let me know if you start watching. Great thing to do if you can’t sleep. I would stay up until 2 a.m. sometimes, as I couldn’t stop watching. All caught up now, so pressure is off. But what a ride.

        p.s. sorry for taking over your comment section with off-topic matters. It’ll never happen again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The comment section goes into infinity, so comment away. What do I care? Ladies love chatting. That is my fear: that I will get sucked in. I did just google Jack Harkness, and he has that cocky swashbuckle smile. The clip had him flashforwarding to a 51st century memory (that doesn’t even make sense), and everyone was wearing beige, and you already know I don’t easily “get things.” It gets complicated for me. It’s amazing I got a degree. And no, I didn’t see the Sonic Screwdriver. I assume Sonic Drive-In (one block from me) does not serve it during Sonic Half-Price Happy Hour…


      3. you knew this was coming, yes? http://foodcommunicationservices.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/cocktails-sci-fi-snow-day-edition/

        And I was just kidding about not overcommenting again. Like that’s going to happen.

        A lot of Dr. Who doesn’t make sense and much of it happens so quickly that there’s not time to take it all in. Which is why I’m re-watching so I can catch things I missed the first time. That is the power of the Dr.

        The SS is still a bit of a mystery to me, but understanding it isn’t necessary to enjoy the show. You just need an appreciation for cute guys, romance, wanting to be with someone you can’t have, fighting for justice, compassion for humanity, humor, silliness, weird creatures, and then some.


      4. Yes, absolutely falling in a love with a weird creature (who has two hearts). Let me know if you start falling down that rabbit hole.

        Is that Tom Selleck I see up there? With a Santa hat? I don’t get it.


  2. Egad. A double dose of fun. From your original buckle of swash to Ms. Liz’s tribute to Dr. Who. Do you think Burt Lancaster would qualify as a swashbuckler even though he didn’t have a mustache? That dude who played the Sheriff of Nottingham was the best movie villain. Even though I don’t remember his name. I’m with markbialczak. All for the natural bosom heaving or otherwise. I like Princess Bride as well. “Never wager with a Sicilian when death is on the line”. I am not as big a fan of Dr. Who as I used to be. I first got hooked on the Doctor in 1968. When it was shot on a sound stage at Pinewood Studios and you could only watch it on PBS. Well kerby you certainly have picked a hot topic. Great job, as usual.


  3. I always considered Orlando Bloom to be a modern day version of Errol Flynn because it seemed for a while after being in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie he was always swashing and buckling in a lot of movies from that point forward. He obviously had both the charisma and physical chops for it. I always liked Timothy Dalton in “The Rocketeer” as Neville Sinclair. The character just seemed like a obvious parody of Errol Flynn in the height of his popularity


  4. My wife fell-in-love-with Flynn, back in the Eighties when we were living in our Tropical Fish Store in Nacogdoches and I was neglecting my ‘husbandly duties’.
    Anyway, she went to the local library (yes there was a library in Deep East Texas–just the one), and found a book about E. Flynn. She read it. Twice. (While I was always tending to ‘those goddamn fish’)

    Probably, looking back, this was the beginning of the end of THAT Marital Union.

    Couple of years later… I enlisted in the Nav.
    Self-fulfilling prophecy?


    1. I take it you have no interesting in tropical fish anymore? I suppose if someone has to fantasize about a person, Flynn is a good choice–like a romance novel hero–but not if you’re already married. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My love affair with tropical fish outlasted all my marriages.
        I think my wife was just trying to get my attention. She once had flowers delivered to the shop from a ‘secret admirer.’ She did not know that I knew the flower shop lady who took the order, but I had been sworn to secrecy, so I feigned jealousy and all that jazz…


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