Saturday, March 12, 2016
The Vikings (1958) A Film by Richard Fleischer
"Christians and heathens. Two shorelines and a black, foggy sea. Organized hierarchies behind stone barricades and drunken hysteria in the ocean mist. The Vikings, an underappreciated relic from the heyday of 70mm super-productions and about as rollicking a good time as can be had at the movies, is cut with the bifurcated simplicity of a folk tale: A virginal princess-to-be is kidnapped by barbarians, in turn stoking a rivalry between two bastard brothers as well as clan warfare. It’s a film of thick impasto brushstrokes, unremorseful in its indulgence in broad contrast. Ritualistic ceremonies honoring new unions within British royalty are juxtaposed against Rabelaisian revelries fueled by frothy tubs of ale and testosterone. And the sniveling, saurian King of civilized Northumbria of course receives the most extreme foil: the booze-swilling, ass-grabbing, giddily amoral paterfamilias of the Vikings." Reviewed a new Kino Lorber Blu-Ray release of this film over at Slant.