Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Vikings (1958)

I just re-viewed this movie for the first time in a very long time. I first saw it when the major American networks started showing recent releases in prime time. I loved it then, but now I'm a medieval historian! Would it be a groaner or a joke?

Well, it's still a fun movie, and more. Though the plot and the characterizations are in the authentic Hollywood tradition, it's got many virtues rare in big budget semi-historical movies. The landscapes and the Viking ships, village, meadhall, equipment and clothing are either good or excellent. (The English stuff is more uneven, a mixture of the 9th and 14th centuries.) There are many scenes that are simply beautiful. (For instance: the preparation of the Viking ship burial.) Even the big battle is more believable than, say, the Battle of Helm's Deep or the recent assault on Troy.

All in all, a movie where the guy in charge really cared about doing it right. That guy was the star, Kirk Douglas.

Two other points: yet another medieval movie where the Bayeux Tapestry stands in for another period. (Others include Mel Gibson's version of Hamlet and El Cid, where noble ladies in Denmark and Castile embroider it in their spare time.) Will there ever be a feature film on the Norman Conquest?

Second, another movie where Tony Curtis wears short, short tunics.

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Blogger Ancarett said...

Ooo! Tony Curtis? "Yonder lies da castle of my faddah" Tony Curtis? Or bath-slave Tony Curtis?

6:32 AM  

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