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Brief Reviews of Northmen Films and Norsemen Flicks

Looking for a good movie about Vikings? Well, Northmen Films or Norsemen Flicks are hard to come by. For Scandinavian Media and Nordic Entertainment is rare, here, in America. But, over the years, a few notable ones have come about. And these we have briefly reviewed, below, for your information.

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The leader of Viking Movies is, of course, Prince Valiant, which is the legendary tale of the Days of King Arthur, when the Christian King of Scandia was driven into exile to Britain. And his son, Prince Valiant, attempts to become a Noble Knight of King Arthur, only to stumble upon the plot of the Black Knight to enlist the aid of Vikings to over-throw King Arthur. Mediavel melee and combat, political intrigue, and romance--with the help of Faith. Considered to be the BEST film on Vikings.

Robert Wagner as Prince Valiant, with Janet Leigh as the beautiful buxum blonde Aleta. Based on the comic PRINCE VALIANT by Harold Foster. By Twentiieth Century Fox. General Audiences.

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This is a blood thirsty saga of lust and intrigue in the Dark Ages when the Vikings used to readily invade, and pillage and plunder, Old England. The hedonistic Viking Chieftan Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) raids England, murders the King, and rapes the Queen Enid who then produces him a secret son. The baby boy is shipped off to Europe, only to be captured by Viking Raids and taken to Scandinavia as a slave, where fate brings him to Ragnar's Court and to antagonize Ragnar's other son, Einar (Kirk Douglas). A plot is hatched to abduct the Welsh Princess, Morgana (Janet Leigh), for ransom, but Einar takes a fancy to her, only to have the slave, Eric (Tony Curtis) kidnap the Princess, too, and attempt to take her back to England (only to fall in love with her for himself), and causing his own father, Ragnar, to be murdered for entertainment in the wolf pits of England! Thus, bringing the wrath of the Vikings down upon the evil english King! A bloody, violent film (with rape and attempted rape) and segments dedicated to the old Norse gods and use of runes for fortuen-telling! But, beautiful shots of the Viking fjords, viking ships, and a charicature of the Pagan Viking life. (The film mistakenly attriputes the navigational skills of the Vikings to a Pagan witch's discovery of the magnetic compass, a totally fictional and historically inaccurate piece of the film--see MYSTERY OF THE SON STONE.)

Tony Curtis as the slave Eric, Janet Leigh as the Welsh Princess, Kirk Douglas as the drunkand, lusty Viking Prince Einar, and Ernest Brognine as the decadent Viking Chief. By MGM - United Artists. Not rated (but surely hard R).

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As the Vikings expanded, the Pagan Vikings went Westward, into England and Northern Europe, while the more Judeo-Christian (Messianic) Vikings or Varangians went Eastward, into Russia. There, according to this tale, an exiled Arab Merchant (Antonio Banderas) meets a band of them (though Pagan rather than Believing), and then gets drafted to go along with with on an adventure, into the far North, to fight off these mysterious bear-like creatures--berserkers! And, in the process, he civilizes(?) some of the Vikings, endures some gruesome combat scenes, and wins the attentions of a nubile, blonde Viking maiden. A fanciful tale, yet reasonably well done--but with hints of Paganism (and inaccurate portrayal of Varangians as Pagan Vikings) and consultations with OLD WOMEN for advise and direction (rather than consulting God)--though God is presented, from a Muslim perspective.

Antonio Banderas as the Arab Merchant, Ahmed. From Touchstone Pictures. Rated R (for violence and gore).

(For more on the Varangian atmosphere of co-operation between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, see KoReY's TRI-UNITY OF THE FAITHFUL.)

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As the Vikings made a habit of raiding England, they eventually came to settle there as the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons. Later, the Normans (French Vikings) came to control all of England. This classic story portrays the frictions between the earlier Saxons and the later Normans (as well as the common mistreatment of the Jews by both sides). The Saxons King's son, Ivanhoe (Anthony Andrews) returns from crusades in the Holy Land with King Richard to find himself disinherited by his father, his true love, the Princess Rowena (Lysette Anthony) betrothed to the "noble hog" Athalstan, and Richard's own throne in jeopardy due to the intrigues of his brother, Prince John. Mortally wounded in a Tournament, Ivanhoe is rejected by the Saxons, but taken into the care of the rich Jew (James Mason), where he is nursed back to health by the lovely Jewess (Olivia Hussey)--meanwhile, Robin Hood encounters King Richard in disguise, as the Saxon Jestor enlists their aid in rescuing his Master from the imprisonment by the goons of Prince John.

Anthony Andrews as Ivanhoe, Lysette Anthony as the fair Rowena, Olivia Hussey as the lovely Jewess, and James Mason as the rich Jew. From Columbia Tri-Star Home Video. Not rated, but probably around PG, for violence (mild romance).

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This documentary shows the recent advances in Viking Archaeology, including Russia's rediscovery of their Viking or Varangian past, along with more evidence to show that the Vikings really did reach America in their explorations. (As well as the shocking enviromental discovery that Iceland used to be a dense forest, but with Viking settlement and over-grazing, it has been turned into a treeless plain!)

PBS Series.

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This is the wild and fanciful tale of Erik the Viking who misses the Sun, and sets off on an adventure to find the horn to wake up the gods to have them restore the Sunshine to Scandia's frozen, gray skies. Battle with a sea monster produces a flying Viking ship that lands in the legendary land of peace, where political intrigue (and Viking raiders) bring down the house--as the island is doomed to sink beneath the waves, as the mythical Atlantis did--IF BLOOD IS SHED! Entertaining Sci-Fi like adventure with adult hunor and satire. (The Norse gods are made fun of as petty little children--and the priest of the adventure comes to save the day!)
For more on Our Mediavel Artwork (shields, buttons, etc.) see HERALDRY.

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Then, look up Our Viking Quick Facts Sheets. (Tons of data and info on the REAL Vikings!) Or, use the handy link, below:
QUICK VIKING FACTS -- Short summaries on Our VIKING REVIVAL (and Scandinavian Renewal)

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Filed: 5-24-99 . . . Updated 03-20-03