The Story of William Tell

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The Story of William Tell
The Story of William Tell - Still Frame.jpg
1953 frame of the unfinished film. Shows Flynn as "William Tell"; Waltraut Haas as "Mary"
Directed by Jack Cardiff
Produced by Errol Flynn
Barry Mahon
Written by John Dighton
Starring Errol Flynn
Bruce Cabot
Distributed by United Artists
Country Italy
United States
Language English
Budget £223,000[1]

The Story of William Tell is an unfinished film about William Tell. It starred and was produced by Errol Flynn. It commenced filming in Italy in 1953 and was meant to be the directorial debut of Jack Cardiff. It was filmed in Cinemascope. A £10,000 model town set was built near Mont Blanc.[2]


  • Flynn put up approximately $430,000 of his own money towards the $860,000 budgeted production which started in June 1953.[3]
  • Production ceased in September when the project ran out of funds and creditors seized sets and camera equipment.[4] They also took possession of Errol Flynn's car and furniture.[5]
  • Had the film been completed on time it would been the first independent movie filmed in CinemaScope.
  • Flynn desperately sought finance to re-activate the production, estimated at around £150,000, but was unable to.[6] In 1956 he claimed he had $340,000 of his own money in the film and still hoped to make it in autumn of that year.[7] This did not eventuate.
  • The event of the film's collapse ruined Flynn financially.[8]
  • A little bit over a minute of footage was shown on Turner Classic Movies in the early 1990s as part of a feature on Flynn, but that short clip itself is now lost as well. Flynn's estate have chosen to remain silent about it.
  • 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. ^ "Comeback for the fabulous Errol Flynn.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 24 December 1958. p. 56. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Creditors Are In Full Cry.". The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1954) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 11 October 1953. p. 68. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 197-198
  4. ^ "Flynn Has New Trouble.". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia). 29 September 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bailiffs seize Errol's car.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 1 October 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Flynn needs money.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 13 November 1953. p. 5. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Errol Claims He's Now in Like Flynn With Creditors, Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Mar 1956: E2.
  8. ^ Phil Hall, "Outta Gas - Film Threat's Top 10 Unfinished Films of All Time", Film Threat, June 21, 2006 accessed July 5 2012

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