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To honour her father's dying wish, Queen Salina shares the rule of Icena with Justinian, a fair and just Roman. This displeases the bloodthirsty Druids on one side and the more hard-line Romans on the other. As Salina and Justinian fall in love their enemies start to plot, and blood soon stains the green hills of Britain. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm a bit surprised at some of the low reviews for "The Viking Queen;" I've watched it three times now and my appreciation for this 1967 Hammer flick has increased with each viewing.
The biggest criticism is that Salena is a Celt and the movie should therefore be titled "The Celtic Queen." Yet this is explained right at the beginning of the story: Her father chooses her to reign after his death and says, "Like your mother you shall be called 'the Viking Queen.'" So, Salena is the Viking Queen simply because her mother was of Viking ancestry.
One may argue that the Vikings didn't exist for another 700 years (the story takes place shortly after the time of Christ) but "Viking" is simply a collective designation of Nordic people -- Danes, Swedes and Norwegians. And even IF the word "Viking" didn't exist at the time of the film's setting, so what? Just imagine Salena's father saying, "You shall be called the Nordic Queen."
Another major gripe is that the Druids improperly pray to Zeus, a Greek God. Although this is a legitimate beef, the filmmakers obviously chose to do this because the Druids lacked a recognizable deity. This problem is rectified by simply supplanting the word "Zeus" with the Druid deity of your choice when hearing the Druids pray in the film (Bet you can't think of ONE Druid deity, can you?).
The story is roughly based on the historical Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, a British tribe. Her impressive revolt against the Roman occupants included the sack of London (then Londinium) and the death of some 70,000 Romans (!). The Roman governor of Britain ultimately destroyed Boudicca's force; in despair, she killed herself by taking poison in 60 AD.
In "The Viking Queen" you'll certainly get a good glimpse of what this era was like. The story is ultra-serious and the actors perform their roles accordingly. Salena is played by Carita, who, although very beautiful, is completely believable in the role. Be on the watch for her in a breath-taking purple mini-skirt near the end (speaking of such, be on the lookout as well for Salena's super-cute sister Talia, played by Nicola Pagett). Needless to say, it's too bad this was Carita's sole excursion into acting terrain.
The locations (Ireland), costumes and sets are all of the highest order for a Hammer film of the time period.
One other complaint is that it is unbelievable that Salena falls in love with the Roman governor (played by Don Murray) and vice versa, yet isn't it realistic to assume that more than one Briton babe fell in love with a Roman occupant, particularly if he was in a command position? Besides, the tragic ending is emotionally compounded by this love story.
FINAL WORD: "The Viking Queen" is a movie in the vein of "Braveheart," "Gladiator" or "Attila." If you're a fan of such films you'll likely enjoy "The Viking Queen." Personally, I feel "Braveheart" is overrated and I'd pop in "The Viking Queen" before "Gladiator" any day.
If, like me, this film inspires you to research the true history of Boudicca, then the filmmakers have accomplished far more than mere entertainment. Enough said.
The movie runs 91 minutes.
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