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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 <email@example.com>
Production equipment clearly visible at end of opening scene, when Tristram (Patrick Troughton) rides away from Romans in chariot. Look for a light blue cloth covering a cart of white and stainless steel objects, perhaps the film crew's lunch wagon, just as the chariot turns away. See more »
This was Hammer Films' sole foray into peplum territory: that it's not typical material for this outfit is also borne by the fact that the writing and producing credits aren't the usual Hammer stalwarts! Don Chaffey, who handles the proceedings efficiently enough, was something of an expert in the field - having directed Hammer's ONE MILLION YEARS, B.C. (1966) as well as the Ray Harryhausen extravaganza JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963).
Actually, the plot isn't all that different from that of THE LAST ROMAN (1968-9) which I watched recently: while the latter was low-brow and solemn but rather interesting, this is low-brow and silly but undeniably fun. Thankfully, there's intrigue (resulting in plenty of snarling), action and sadism - not forgetting the beautiful Irish locations - to keep one watching. Still, the lazy scripting is so obviously a mishmash of elements without any rhyme or reason that it somehow seems to think of Druids, Vikings and Greeks (all distinct in culture, geography and timeline) as one and the same people!!
With respect to the cast: Carita (whose only film this was) is actually not too bad in the title role - though necessities of plot and an inevitable romance with the enemy leader prevents her from donning armor and turn warrior before the last 20 minutes of the film proper!; Don Murray, saddled throughout with an unbecoming hair-do, tries to keep his dignity as best he can; Andrew Keir (as Murray's jealous aide and the true villain of the piece), Niall MacGinnis and Patrick Troughton actually give good performances; however, Donald Houston's hammy turn as the High Priest of the Druid community is wildly entertaining - and Wilfred Lawson is equally embarrassing as the doddering and moribund Viking King.
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