Producers and directors often exhorted Martin Stevens to beat or at least be like Errol Flynn, and that seemed attainable. In terms of facial structure, Martin looked as if Flynn had fathered him. Hell, maybe he did. So the sequence was logical enough. Martin was outfitted in tights in his first starring film role and told to be dashing and athletic. Regrettably, costume dramas had expired even before Flynn and that was a generation before Martin became an adult. Now, at age twenty-six, the same as Flynn in his smashing debut in Captain Blood, Martin Stevens was being hooted by the few who attended his movie.
“He’s no Errol Flynn,” said the critics.
They were entirely correct. The splendidly handsome Martin Stevens had the physique of a philosophy professor, a young professor, true, but decidedly unheroic.
All right. They simply changed strategy and cast Martin as a brilliant scientist struggling with a larcenous wife. He was supposed to be sympathetic but was merely maudlin, and filmgoers stirred when his smoldering patent attorney bedded Martin’s breathless spouse.