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 »
Helga and Alwin and a handful of the crew were to remain, while Leif returned to Greenland - What became of this little Viking colony, no one knows... But the watch tower they built stands today in Newport, Rhode Island.
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Donald Crisp was an extremely prolific actor in sound films. What many people don't know is that he made even more silent films (as actor and director) than sound films. In The Viking, he plays Leif Ericsson, who plans his greatest adventure, to go beyond Greenland and explore for new lands.
A strikingly handsome LeRoy Mason plays Lord Alwin, an English noble. His castle is attacked by the Vikings early in the film, his family scattered, and he is made a slave.
The lovely Pauline Starke plays Helga Nilsson, who is a spunky Nordic gal who is loved by Leif, Alwin, and... well let's not give away too much of the story here.
What makes this film charming and somewhat unique is that it came at the end of the silent era, when camera technique was at its height. It is also filmed in primitive technicolor. The early technicolor process did not render true color as we know it today. The muted shades of the film actually help to make the historic subject matter of the film more remote, as though one were actually watching something that happened long, long ago.
The version of this film that I saw had sound effects, and a symphonic musical score that mixed new music with lots of Richard Wagner at climactic moments. It all worked very well.
It's amazing to me that this very entertaining film is almost unknown today.
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