Wild Colonial Boy: Errol Flynn’s Rape Trial, Pacific Pasts and the Making of Hollywood

Patricia O'Brien

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article examines the sensational 1942–43 trial of Hollywood’s leading man, Australian actor Errol Flynn. One purpose of this article is to track the trial’s course and social reverberations offering valuable insights into a critical historical precedent to the recent #MeToo movement. The article’s other purpose is to place the trial story, centred in America’s ‘film colony’ of Hollywood, in the context of Flynn’s backstory in Australia’s colonies of Papua and New Guinea, a period of Flynn’s life that ended only nine years before his trial. This article connects Flynn’s sexual experiences in New Guinea, especially his celebration of sex with very young New Guinea girls, with Hollywood’s sexual exploitation of teenage girls, a culture exposed by Flynn’s trial but ultimately condoned by a court in wartime America. The article interrogates Flynn’s role in circulating ideas about sex with underage girls and their implications in the past and present.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)591-610
    JournalAustralian Historical Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    Dive into the research topics of 'Wild Colonial Boy: Errol Flynn’s Rape Trial, Pacific Pasts and the Making of Hollywood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this