Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tony Curtis: The Vikings

Kirk Douglas' expression gives you an idea of just how silly the movie is
Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas in the climactic fight scene of The Vikings (1958)

I listed the various Tony Curtis movies that will be airing tomorrow as part of TCM's 24-hour long salute to him. Some of them at least deserve a fuller-length blog posting. First up is The Vikings, which will be airing at 9:45 AM ET.

The movie starts off a couple of decades before the main action. The Vikings raid Northumbria, one of the kingdoms on the island of Britain, killing the king. The Viking leader Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) rapes the Northumbrian queen, knocking her up in the process. Fast forward to the main action of the movie. Ragnar is still ruling, now alongside adult son Einar (Kirk Douglas). Meanwhile, there's Eric (Tony Curtis), a slave who was kidnapped from Britain as an infant. What neither of them knows is that he's the child of the old Northumbrian queen, which makes him and Einar half-brothers. Not that this blood relationship would help, as Eric blinded Einar in one eye with one of Einar's falcons.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have also captured the lovely Welsh girl Morgana (Janet Leigh), who was the betrothed to the new Northumbrian king. She's now in the Viking lands, where Einar intends to marry her. Eric, however, sees the presence of Morgana as a way out of the Viking lands and back to Britain, where he feels he really belongs. Besides, his life is in danger amongst the Vikings if anybody learns his true identity. Eric and Morgana flee, with Einar in hot pursuit, until everybody ends up at the Northumbrian castle for the final battle scene....

One has to wonder just what all the actors were thinking when they decided to take this one on. The dialogue is horrid, the plot is kind of silly, and the costumes -- well, I'm sure the women will like those tunics that show most of a man's arms and legs. Perhaps Curtis and Douglas thought they were still sex symbols. To be fair, though, it's not a terrible picture; it's just silly and dumb, although without being an insult to our intelligence. In short, it's a movie for entertaining, and not one with much of anything to say about the human condition; or, the perfect movie to watch with your friends and a giant bowl of popcorn.

Amazon lists The Vikings as being fairly cheaply available on DVD, so you can set up that night with your friends and the popcorn whenever you want.

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