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The Vikings (Blu-ray)

The Film:

Richard Fleischer directs this 1958 MGM production that, as the title implies, follows a group of Vikings in their quest for power. The primary characters in the film are two Viking half-brothers, Einar (Kirk Douglas) and Eric (Tony Curtis). Einar, the older of the two, is hardened and battle-scarred, a accurate warrior and a man who is as quick with his sword as he is of steely demeanor. Einar, on the other hand, was after forced to operate as a slave and is understandably less experienced for it. But as much as these two know about one particular an additional, there is just as a lot they don’t know. There are mysteries in their respective backgrounds.

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When our two Vikings uncover themselves, through no little opportunity of fate, in Northumbria in the village lorded over by Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine), a Viking king of sorts, their respective pasts will come back to haunt them but as the Vikings in the area make plans for additional conquests along the shores of England, King Aella (Frank Thring) plans to strength his forces by marrying Princess Morgana Of Wales (Janet Leigh). When the Vikings capture Morgana, both Einar and Eric plan to make a respective move on the fair princess, but it is Eric that comes up the victor here. He and she run off from the Viking village but along the way she is thrown in prison and he is brutally injured. Once back on Viking soil, with aid from Eric he plots his revenge.

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Shot on places in France and Norway (with a lot of operate carried out in the studio as effectively), The Vikings is an impressively lensed picture making great use of the two.35.1 widescreen format. Lots of wide establishing shots of the coast and the sea assist to put us in the action although the shots that take location in the villages and fortresses are also fairly handsome. There is nice detail in the sets, in the costumes and Jack Cardiff’s cinematography is cause sufficient for some to want to verify this out. If practically nothing else, this is a colorful and at times lovely searching film. The attention to detail in the ships, the costumes, the armor and, well, pretty much every little thing else Fleischer puts up on screen is impressive and admirable.

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As far as the plot goes, it is not also tough to figure out the twists that the plot incorporates as they are a little bit old hat, but does not make the film any significantly less entertaining. There’s the correct mix of adventure, action, heroism, romance, drama and yes, even intrigue right here, so significantly so that you by no means find your self seeking at your watch or reaching for the quickly-forward button on your remote. In distinct, the story moves at a good clip and functions enough impressive action choreography that the film winds up to be fairly engaging. A genuinely epic, rousing score from composer Mario Nascimbene highlights significantly of this action in a huge way, and in the course of the picture’s quieter, far more intimate moments, manages to spot a nice accent on those as effectively.

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The cast is a bit odd, when you consider about it, but if you do not, you won’t thoughts. Really, the massive stand out right here is Tony Curtis as a tough and grizzled Viking man. If you let your mind go there, you might have trouble acquiring him in the component but to his credit, he tends to make the function his personal and doesn’t do a half undesirable job here. If it’s not the kind of element you typically associate with Curtis, he still does just fine. Douglas, a lot a lot more the hard guy persona, is truly robust here. He excelled in historical action images such as this, it really is not a stretch at all to have him lead the charge even if he’s noticeably older than the character he’s supposed to be playing. Borgnine as the Viking king us a lot of enjoyable in his element (even if he was younger than Douglas in true life!) and Janet Leigh, married to Curtis at the time this was made, also does a solid job and is very beautiful right here, nicely cast as a princess indeed.

&#13 &#13 The Blu-ray:

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Kino presents The Vikings in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed in the film’s original aspect ratio of 2.35.1 and it looks very very good. Understandably, the scenes that are shot on the boat outdoors in the foggy evening appear much less crisp and detailed than the other people but the day time scenes show nice colour reproduction and great clarity. Some scenes are softer than other folks, but a lot more often than not items shape up quite nicely. Sin tones appear lifelike and natural and there’s excellent texture evident in the costumes on show. Black levels are fairly very good if not very reference top quality and even though minor print damage does appear all through the film in the kind of little white specks, there is not any main harm (which means you will not notice any huge scratches or blemishes). There is no proof of noise reduction or edge enhancement right here. This is not going to win transfer of the year but it’s a good picture.

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The only audio alternative for the feature is an English language DTS-HD 2. Mono track. There are no alternate language options provided and subtitles are offered in English only. The track is clean, clear and nicely balanced. The orchestral score has good variety and depth to it while the dialogue is easy to comprehend and follow. There wasn’t any hiss or distortion noticed throughout playback, the audio right here is just fine.

&#13 &#13 Extras:

The major additional on the disc is a featurette called A Tale Of Norway, a twenty-eight minute that consists of some input from Richard Fleischer who shows off some of the photographs that were taken in the course of the film, tells some stories about what it was like on set, offers plenty of insight into how considerably preparation went into the production’s pre-production phase, how they all strived for authenticity, the value of Kirk Douglas’ involvement in the movie and quite a bit more. There is a lot of excellent photographs here, notion art, schematics for the ships that had been built, pertinent clips from the function and a fair bit a lot more. This is genuinely exciting stuff, any person with an interest in the function would do themselves a favor by checking this out.

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Outside of that we get a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for a handful of other Kino titles (The Evil’s Disciple, Taras Bulba, Marty and Mr. Majestk), static menus and chapter choice.

&#13 &#13 Final Thoughts:

The Vikings is quite significantly a grand adventure film in the old Hollywood tradition, produced with a excellent spending budget, a talented crew and an A-list cast. It holds up properly, mixing excitement, action, drama and romance collectively in equal doses and moving at a really fine pace. Kino’s Blu-ray release presents the film in good shape with a solid transfer, great audio and a decent featurette as nicely. Extremely recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is costly and loud.&#13

What Do You Consider?&#13

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