Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Overlooked Movies -- Northmen: A Viking Saga

It's hard for me to resist a B-movie about Vikings, especially one that's only an hour and a half long.  In Northmen, a sturdy band of Vikings, kicked out of their own country for not supporting the king, is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland, where after climbing a cliff, they're confronted by a bunch of armed men.  (It's best not to ask how these men knew they were there.  Maybe they overheard them talking.)  The Vikings are heavily outnumbered, but they kill everyone except the one man who's required to escape and inform the king of the sad events.

Why inform the king?  Because locked in a wagon is the king's daughter, who's being transported to her wedding.  (Transported from where? Who knows?)  The king is naturally disappointed, and his evil mercenaries, one of whom kills the messenger, go after the Vikings, who are holding the king's daughter for ransom.

The Vikings meet a Christian monk who lives in a stone tower.  He's also mighty good with a rod and a staff.  When the mercenaries catch up and burn the tower everyone escapes into underground caverns.

After that it's mostly a "who's going to live and who's going to die?" movie, with lots of action and the one essential element to make the movie worthwhile -- a scene on a board bridge suspended across a gorge by ropes.  There's even (almost) quicksand!  If you're going to carp about "realism" and stuff, don't even bother with this one.

There's plenty of scenery, and the acting, by people I've never heard of, is adequate.  The mercenaries ("I think they're from Carpathia") are truly evil.  They howl and growl a lot.  But then so do the Vikings.

This isn't a movie I'd recommend to everyone, or even to anyone, but I had fun watching it.


George said...

I can't resist B-movies about Vikings, either. I'll track down a copy. Nice review!

Deb said...

Not to be confused with that great late-seventies epic, THE NORSEMEN, featuring Lee Majors as the only Viking to hot-comb his hair.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Local library system has two copies, both checked out, so now I am on the hold list for one.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

One of my favorite movies as a kid was THE VIKINGS with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernie Borgnine. Calder Willingham wrote the screenplay, based on the book by Edison Marshall. Or THE LONG SHIPS, with Richard Widmark & Sidney Poitier (as the Moorish king).

Now those were worthwhile Viking movies.

Let's not even mention Roger Corman's Viking movie, though it was given a MST3K treatment.

Bill Crider said...

Yes, those are great Viking movies. What was Corman's? Was it VIKING WOMEN AND THE SEA SERPENT? That one's a classic.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

That's the one. It was one of my favorite MST3K moments, when they channeled ANIMAL HOUSE.

Deb said...

Don't forget the promo for THE LONG SHIPS: "Starring Sidney Poitier in his first non-negro role."

/I kid you not.

Mike Stamm said...

Aside from their swords apparently being as blunt as yardsticks, this looks like a pretty good movie; I'll look for it. Another one worth considering, a sort of SF (in a very small way)/Viking crossover, is OUTLANDER, with Jim Caveziel; I like that one quite a bit. (Not to be confused with the Gabaldon books or TV series, please.)