This week’s film is kind of an oddity. It’s silent — one of the last big silent films — but it’s in colour. In fact, just as it was one of the last big silent films, it was one of the first big colour films, widely considered at the time to be one of the best uses of the Technicolour process. As we’ll see, it looks pretty good!
Well, OK, maybe not good per se.
Anyway, it’s an adaptation of a 1902 novel, the which you can find on Gutenburg and which I have also put on my Kindle but not read yet. The novel is in turn sort of based on The Saga of Erik the Red and The Saga of the Greenlanders. Sort of.
Ready? Here we go.
Our story begins with a little casual … not racism as such, but a little reminder that 1928 was a different time.
Right you are, squire.
But funnily enough, our hero is not one of these paragons of manliness. He is Alwin, an English guy from the late 10th / very early 11th c., and he lives here:
Ah, it’s like I’m back in the early middle ages already.
Alwin and some others are captured by Vikings and sold into slavery. This film will clearly establish that Alwin is a bit wet:
But Alwin catches the eye of Helga, a Viking maiden who falls off a horse for no readily explicable reason.
She buys him, and her chum Sigurd buys a girl who was in the big slave jail thing with him, with the very clear implication that he’s going to rape the heck out of her. In fact, when he gets home, Mrs Sigurd is very annoyed:
… but it turns out she’s actually a new maid for Mrs Sigurd! Jooookes!
Also at the Viking camp is the baddie, Egil:
Egil likes Helga, Helga likes Alwin, Alwin likes moping. Meanwhile, Leif Eriksson, leader of the Vikings, is off hanging out with King Olaf and getting converted to Christianity.
That dude standing behind Leif is Krark or Kark or something, aka Snivelling Badguy #2.
Leif comes home to find Egil bullying Alwin. Alwin says he’ll fight him, Leif talks some noble shite about Vikings and bravery, they fight, Alwin spares Egil, Leif approves. Leif looks like this:
They sail to Greenland in a series of scenes that seem like they take forever. Egil continues to not like Alwin and to wear stupid hats.
Leif goggles at a map a lot, and gets Alwin to help him with the goggling because he can read.
They arrive at Brattahlid.
Krunk or whatever snitches Leif out for being a Christian, and he has a big falling out with his dad. He forbids Helga to join them on the voyage to the west, but she disguises herself as a boy and sneaks on board. When they find her, Leif announces he’s going to marry her, blissfully unaware that she loves another, the thicko. The superstitious crew get more and more frightened the further west they go, and Egil plays on their fears to lead a mutiny. When he tries to stab up Helga, Alwin throws himself in the way and gets wounded. Leif scoops up a sword in each hand and goes apeshit. 1928 fight choreography technology was still in its infancy, though.
Anyhow, Leif is super mad at Alwin for cockblocking him, but then he remembers that Jesus says you probably shouldn’t murder people just because you’re a little annoyed, and then they discover America and open up the special Flag Compartment in their hold:
Then they are friends of the Indians and build a tower:
And then this:
No. No. Bullshit.
The Newport Tower is no more a Viking watch tower than I am. It’s like a 17th century windmill or some shit.
You know what’s fun? Reading Wikipedia pages about obvious bullshit and watching the editors falling all over themselves trying to maintain “NPOV”.
So, yeah, historically it’s not up to much, although there was said to be friction between pagans and Christians during the voyage. Other than that …
Movie Monday Bonus Image: Creepy Little Pervert!
Movie Monday Bonus Image: Whaur’s yer Marvel Comics noo?