USA Today - 05/10/2002
"...Jack Cardiff's Technirama photography still holds up..."
Total Film - 05/01/2000
"...This is Hollywood at its hugely enjoyable best..."
Einar (Kirk Douglas), a hideously scarred Viking warrior, seeks land acquisition and the hand of the beautiful Princess Morgana (Janel Leigh). Einar crosses paths with Eric (Tony Curtis) who has his sights set on the same prizes. The two have more in common than they know; unbeknownst to one another, they are brothers.
This 1958 epic was based on an actual Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, a sadistic and adventurous sailor. While not very rooted in fact, the film is a rousing adventure with lusty, violent imagery very bold for its time. A scene where Janet Leigh's clothing is ripped, enabling her to row a boat and exposing her back was considered very risque and undoubtedly added to the film's stellar performance at the box office. Ernest Borgnine shines as Ragnar and Jack Cardiff's photography is breathtaking. An opening animated historical prelude is narrated by Orson Welles.
Half-brothers Eric and Einar are sons of the Viking leader Ragnar. Einar is the heir to the throne, while Eric grows up as a slave. Though they have become bitter enemies in battle -- Eric's trained bird has disfigured Einar's face -- neither knows that they are related. During a raid on an English ship, Einar captures Morgana, the daughter of the King of Wales and bride-to-be of the English King. Einar wants her for his own, but she falls in love with Eric. United by blood and separated by hatred, the two brothers face off in a fight for love and power.
High Seas |
Period Piece |
Color by Technicolor, with the Technirama Wide-Screen Process.