While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the 9th century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows to ... See full summary »
While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the 9th century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows to take up arms against the invaders, leading the English Christians to fight for their country. Alfred soundly defeats the Danes and becomes a hero. But now, although Alfred still longs for the priesthood, he is torn between his passion for God and his lust for blood. Written by
A disappointment. This film is filled with so many factual and historical errors it's not even funny. So it fails as a history lesson. But it also fails as entertainment, because the film is too slow-paced and the dialogue boring and the acting generally uninspired. A common film plot is to make the protagonist all good and the antagonist all bad. Black and white. But one of the big weaknesses of the film is the demonizing of the danes. At the time of the danish invasions, the danish society was in many ways more advanced than the saxon. They had a large set laws, and thus what happened to the woman at the feast would not have happened. The "spartan phalanx" as presented in the movie was a common norse formation "svinfylkingen", the spartans fought more like the danes fight in the movies. The greatness of Alfred was that he learned from his enemies and from his own mistakes. He emulated what was good in the danish society and built a society to resist the danes, both in civil life and military. But by demonizing the danes, the film also reduces the accomplishments of Alfred. Historically a great man, made small by a film like this.
The only ones getting away with their honor intact from this film is the set and costume makers. Least favorite moment in movie: A woman armed with a stick kills 5 or so heavily armored danes. Sigh.
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