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Yes, it's true, an all color silent movie! The title refers to Leif Ericsson, who leaves Norway to search for new lands west of Greenland. On the way he vies for the love of Helga with his companion Egil and Alwin, an English slave. More conflict arises when he stops at the colony of his father (Eric the Red) in Greenland, for Leif has converted to Christianity, which his father hates. He also has to deal with the unrest of his crew, who fear falling off the edge of the Earth. Written by
Robert Tonsing <email@example.com>
When the film opened at the Embassy Theatre in New York City 28 November 1928 it was still silent and was accompanied by a live orchestral accompaniment. In December 1928 a musical score was recorded, sound-on-disc, and this was the version distributed by MGM in 1929. See more »
Helga finds her slave (the captured English noble Lord Alwin) reading a book that is clearly a typeset, printed volume - 450 years before Gutenberg invents the printing press. See more »
Silly and anachronistic...but at least it's in color!
"The Viking" is a very old fashioned film, though at the time audiences must how been wowed since it was made using the Two-Strip Technicolor process. This created color...of a sort. These films tend to actually looks more green-orange because those are the two colors that are overlayed to create a sort of color look. However, while other studios were converting to sound, MGM chose to make this epic as a silent--which, along with the rest of the film, is pretty old fashioned in its view of Vikings.
True Vikings did not wear the horned-helmets or hawk winged helmets you see throughout this movie. Their costumes also were far more practical than the silly outfits worn in "The Viking". What gives? Well, the costume designer actually was designing vikings according to how Wagnerian operas portrayed them. It was 100% wrong--but fit the image that Wagner was trying to create in his crazy operas. So, the film is sort of like a Wagner story without the music!
As for the story, it's actually seemingly true in some ways. Eric the Red really did have a son named Leif who apparently was among the first white folks in North America. Interestingly, however, back in the 1920s. That's because the only 'proof' of this voyage were the Viking sagas--stories sung to celebrate the feats of the Vikings but have no real proof to them. This proof did not come until more recent years when Norwegian expeditions were able to find some artifacts in Canada that must have been brought by Vikings.
So is the film any good? Well, the plot involving a captured slave who captures the heart of a Viking girl is pretty silly. The part about Ericsson and his voyage is a bit more exciting however, and makes up, a bit for the silly romance and dumb costumes.
Overall I say you'd be much better off watching the 1958 film "The Vikings". It's more historically accurate, much more exciting and has just about everything you could want in such a film.
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