My mother was a huge Tony Curtis fan. She thought him to be one of the most handsome men ever and as a consequence we watched a lot of his movies multiple times. I can still recite dialogue from 'The Great Race', 'Operation Petticoat', and 'Some Like it Hot'. One of his films impacted my life greatly.
"The Viking's" is an old story set in medieval Europe and tells the tale of a Nordic tribe that's engaged in barbarity that one would expect. A noble befriends the Vikings and forms an alliance with them to overthrow the Northumbia crown.
Erik (Tony Curtis) is an English prisoner of the vikings who was captured as a wee lad in one of their raids. He actually is the product of the leader of the pillagers forcibly taking the Northumbia queen, who was recently widowed. He grows to be ridiculed by his adopted family, but early in the story he escapes with the help of the god Odin and the nobleman. Of course there is a love triangle with the viking prince Elinar (Kirk Douglas) and a recently captured princess (Janet Leigh). Erik saves the princess from Elinar's less than gentle advances and flees Scandanavia. Of course there's a climatic scene where the vikings attempt a final regime change in Northumbia which is complete with a 'moment of truth' scene, but it ends on a note I didn't expect.
While it's a corny swashbuckler 'The Vikings' has great charm. Sure it dealt with dark material, but how can you not when the story's centered around European history's most terrifying group of people? The acting is better than it should be considering the dialogue is not exactly Shakespearean. The movie quickly unravels in the third act, but that doesn't matter. Seeing Kirk Douglas do the oar run without the aid of a stuntman, the Orson Welles narration, and the stellar cast is just a few of the reasons I love this movie. It's a sweeping spectacle that entertained me highly as a young lad and still does to this day.
As you may have already guessed I'm named after Tony Curtis' character in this film.
"As the massive battle scenes and convoluted political machinations paraded across the screen, I thought, “This was the Braveheart of the 1950s!” and I was right." - Scott Wienberg