I vaguely remember watching this when I was a teenager, and thinking it was hopelessly goofy, but I had the pleasure of watching The Vikings again last night, and I have to say with all honesty, it’s a goofy movie, but not a hopelessly goofy movie.
You can tell they spent some serious coin on the production — I was particularly impressed by the longships. And how can you lot love a movie with a cast of scenery-chewers like Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh? (The presence of Ms. Leigh explains why my Dad recommended the movie to me in the first place — normally he has quite exacting tastes.)
Directed by Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Conan the Destroyer, Red Sonja), and the story is loosely based on the sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok, who in history was a ruth-full raider and pirate. (I’d say ruthless, but he actually showed quite a bit of restraint in NOT pillaging settlements that were willing to cough up ransom. Though you should note that like any schoolyard bully, he’d return later for more gold.) In the movie he’s played by Borgnine, and apart from the opening scene, where he kills the King of Northumbria and rapes his queen, he’s actually kind of an affable character. Here’s a touching scene where he explains the facts of life to his son, Einar:
Clip also here.
Of course, the movie is horribly inaccurate, and goofy. Especially the way they make toasts. Wait until the 31st second of this video and you’ll see what I mean:
This would be the equivalent of us standing up and shouting “Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaahd!” before we partook of the beer bong. (Usually you should that after.)
Still, a ripping good yarn. And I kinda get my Dad’s fascination with Janet Leigh now too.
Alltop and humor-blogs.com have sailed the poison sea of comedy.
In the interest of fairness, I must point out that Fleischer also directed Tora! Tora! Tora!, The Boston Strangler and Soylent Green. Still, there’s no excuse for Red Sonja.