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Edward L. Cahn
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>
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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Leif Ericsson (Donald Crisp) sales off in hopes of going West of Greenland looking for uncharted land. Along the way he battles with viking queen Helga (Pauline Starke) as well as a slave (LeRoy Mason) she bought. If you're looking for a history lesson then I'd recommend you get a book because there are certainly many liberties taken with the "truth" here. However, at the same time, I've always said that you shouldn't come into a movie expecting a history lesson because a movies main goal should be to entertain you and for the most part THE VIKING is an entertaining film. It is somewhat historic because it was an all-color production that has some of the best looking 2-strip Technicolor that you're going to see. Coming at the end of the silent era we're also greeted with a soundtrack as well as several sound effects. I don't think there's any question that the main reason to see this is for the Technicolor, which is certainly very beautiful and there's also no question that MGM went all out to make sure there were plenty of colorful items in front of the camera. The look of the costumes, sets and ships are certainly beautiful to see in color and you can tell that the studio pumped up the look so they could show off all the colors. The beautiful blues of the seas were a major highlight as was the bloody red that actually happens during some of the more violent scenes including one man get stabbed as well as another getting an ax in the head. The sound effects are mainly crowd noises such as cheers but there are still enough of them to make you forget you're watching a silent movie. The actual story being told is rather weak because there's a love triangle that really goes no where and some of the alterations to history are a tad bit funny and I don't think the filmmakers were wanting you to be laughing. The three leads are decent in their roles but I'd be lying if I said any of them really stood out. There are some rather wild moments including a brief bit where the men believes there's a witch and ghost below decks and another violent fight where the Pagans go after the Christians. Fans of Technicolor will certainly want to check this out as will silent film buffs but I'd be willing to bet that the rest will find themselves bored. THE VIKING isn't perfect and it's too flawed to be a good movie but there's some entertainment to be had.
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