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In this version of the Billy the Kid legend, Billy, after shooting down land baron William Donovan's henchmen for killing Billy's boss, is hunted down and captured by his friend, Sheriff ... See full summary »
Johnny Mack Brown,
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>
THE VIKING (1928) is a well made actioneer from the 'swan song' of the 'Silent Era'. Like most late silent films it had a synchronized soundtrack which featured music, sound effects and muffled voice overs. The most salient feature of the film is its brilliant Technicolor, using the new, Process Three (3) two (2) color Technicolor. The print shows strong cleaning and restoration and the soundtrack is quite clear with little distortions. The acting is natural as per the late 'Silent Era' and the title cards informative without being intrusive. This is a independent production by the Technicolor Corporation released through M.G.M. The basic plot is one of exploration and the conflict between the new accepted belief of Christianity and the older Pagan ones.
DONALD CRISP (1882>1974) leads the cast as Leif Ericsson with Pauline Starke, Helga Nilsson the main feminine interest. The other male lead was LeRoy Mason, Lord Alwin, Helga's eventual love interest and mate. Mason after this film confined his acting too 'B' Westerns with various 2nd tier and 'Poverty Row' studios. Like-wise Ms. Starke career all but ended after Silents. As for DONALD CRISP, he looked fit and authoritarian in this picture. Mr. Crisp handled his action sequences well, no surprise since he had done so before in DON Q; SON OF ZORRO (1925) a Douglas Fairbanks production. After a successful career both in Acting and Direction during Silents, he went on too triumphs in Sound as a character actor. A career that spanned 1908>1963. Winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941).
There are several other points of interest of this film. At the end there is a specious claim that a 'Watch Tower' in Rhode Island was of Viking origin, built by Leif Ericsson. Dating has shown it to be no earlier then the 17th Century. Some of the coastal exteriors appear to be shot at the same location as Douglas Fairbanks THE BLACK PIRATE (1925). Which the Technicolor Corporation provided its expertise and technology. Then finally two (2) of the supporting actors. Richard Alexander, Sigurd went on to more notable fame as PRINCE BARIN in the first two (2) FLASH GORDON serials. Uncredited Frank Shannon appeared as a Viking in Eric The Red's 'Kings Hall' in Greenland. He is better known as Dr. Alexis Zarkov in all three (3) FLASH GORDON serials.
THE VIKING moves along at a good quick pace and has little padding, running at only 90". It is worth watching just for the Historical value as one of the earliest complete Technicolor features, but does not cheat in either action and acting. True the music and staging appears to come via a Richard Wagner opera, but there is nothing wrong with ripping off the best. A good all around watch.
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