“My Favorite Year” … and rest in peace, Peter O’Toole.


Peter O’Toole’s passing prompted the usual flurry of remembrances, and in several of them, I was heartened to see references to My Favorite Year (1982).

On Twitter, Keith Olbermann recalled interviewing O’Toole some years ago and confiding that My Favorite Year was Olbermann’s favorite O’Toole film, to which the actor replied that it probably was his personal favorite, too.

In My Favorite Year, O’Toole plays a disintegrating Hollywood matinee idol coming to earth in the 1950s, a character based on the real-life actor Errol Flynn. In need of a paycheck, Allan Swann agrees to perform on television, but misses one crucial aspect of the gig. Flynn was dead by the age of 50, which was O’Toole’s approximate age in 1982; given the latter’s legendary drinking and carousing, the self-referential nexus of the role is fascinating — and he lived another three decades. How he did so remains unclear.

The movie is not racy, profane or particularly relevant to the modern world. However, it is a delightful glimpse of a time when movies and television collided.