The Story of William Tell (lost footage from unfinished Errol Flynn film; 1953)

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A portrait of Errol Flynn.

Status: Lost

The Story of William Tell is an unfinished 1953 historical film by Australian celebrity Errol Flynn. By this time, the Australian celebrity was starting to get more ambitious with his work. He made a deal with Jack Cardiff to make a movie based off of the Swiss folklore of the legendary William Tell.[1]

After ordering an expensive model ski resort just off Mont Blanc, 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.[2]

He showed the unfinished film at a few film festivals to try to get some investors interested, but was hindered by bouts of dysentery. He also attempted to fake an injury to make an insurance claim, which didn't work. Ultimately, Flynn never got the opportunity to finish his dream project.


A little over a minute of footage was shown on Turner Classic Movies in the early 1990's as part of a feature on Flynn, but the feature has never re-aired. None of the 30 minutes of footage of the film has surfaced since, and there are no known owners of the footage. Flynn's estate has provided very little information about the film, and the footage is now considered entirely lost. 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.



  1. Wikipedia article. Retrieved 27 Mar '16.
  2. Sun-Herald article about the production. Retrieved 27 Mar '16.