The Vikings – Two half-brothers lock horns in this classic – Review
The Vikings is an all-time classic movie from the last 50s and thanks to Eureka Entertainment, Richard Fleischer’s rip-roaring action adventure packed with stunning visuals, brutal action and a star-studded cast, is being released as part of the Eureka Classics range on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK on 16 October 2017, We got the chance to check out the Blu-ray before its initial release.
One of the most spectacular and action-packed epics of the fifties, Richard Fleischer’s The Vikings wowed audiences worldwide with its stunning visuals, brutal action and a star-studded cast.
Prince Einar (Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory, Ace in the Hole) is the son and heir of a savage Viking chieftain (Ernest Borgnine, Violent Saturday, The Wild Bunch). Prince Eric (Tony Curtis, Some Like it Hot) is his unknowing half-brother, the bastard offspring of Einar’s father and an English queen. When the Vikings kidnap princess Morgana (Janet Leigh, Psycho), her beauty inflames the desires of both men, forcing a bloody duel that decides their fate… and the future of the English throne.
Filmed in vivid Technicolor by the legendary Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus) and narrated by Orson Welles, The Vikings spawned a whole sub-genre of imitators, (Mario Bava alone helmed Erik The Conqueror, The Last of the Vikings and Knives of the Avenger in the years following the film’s release) but none quite topped the glorious spectacle from one of America’s greatest directors of genre cinema, Richard Fleischer.
Now I’d not seen The Vikings for a few years, I remember when it used bu on TV several times a year when I was a child and it was a movie that always had me not only fascinated with the story but also the action that the movie had. Now several years later with the release of the movie on Blu-ray, it’s great to see the film in its 2.35:1 screen ration rather than a 4:3 ration that we used to have on TVs back in the day.
The 1080p presentation of the movie looks great, yes there are those moments that do seem a little grainy, such as scenes with a wide open sky and the vibrant blue but let’s not forget this film was made back in the late 50s and visual technology has come so far these days. But the film has some gorgeous vibrant colouring throughout and this is probably how the movie looked when it was first released in glorious Technicolor which gives it a richness of saturated colour.
In a time when musicals certainly seemed to be all the rage and films were packed with romance, The Vikings is a movie that doesn’t have musical set pieces and isn’t over the top with romance, this is a movie about Vikings and a story that brings together the action and violence of the time, Fleischer certainly has a passion for this film, which can be seen from the work that went into the set design as well as creating Viking ships.
Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas and Janet Leigh put in some brilliant performance in this movie and though the film was poorly copied over the years, The Vikings is a movie that is still a joy to watch today and is a taste of Hollywood that may have been long forgotten in this modern-era of overly placed CGI. This movie is one that fans of classic films should have in their collection.
The Viking Blu-ray Special Features
- Reversible Sleeve
- Gorgeous 1080p presentation
- Original stereo PCM soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Exclusive new video interview with film historian Sheldon Hall
- A Tale of Norway (28 mins) – A featurette about the making of the film, presented by director Richard Fleischer
- Original theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring the words of Richard Fleischer; a poster gallery and rare archival imagery
The Vikings Trailer
The Vikings is released on Blu-ray on Monday, 16 October.