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The Vikings (1958) (Eureka Classics) Blu-ray Blu Ray

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Kirk Douglas produced the trendsetting barbarian epic The Vikings and took the showiest, most aggressive role: lusty Viking Prince Einar, the "only son in wedlock" of King Ragnar (a cackling, wild-eyed Ernest Borgnine). With jagged scars down his face and a milky-white blind eye that almost glows in his skull, Douglas has a rowdy time battling defiant slave Tony Curtis (the long-lost heir to the British throne) for the hand of the beautiful princess Janet Leigh. It's pure Hollywood hokum, sure, but spectacular hokum: the great cinematographer Jack Cardiff turns his Norway locations into a lush Valhalla on earth. Faced with an absurd story, journeyman director Richard Fleischer goes for the gusto in brawling Viking parties, furious sieges, and clanging broadsword battles. An enormous hit, the film spawned a huge wave of Viking movies, some perhaps smarter but none as much fun. --Sean Axmaker

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Viking half-brothers Einar (Kirk Douglas) and Eric (Tony Curtis) are mortal foes, battling it out for the throne of Northumbria and the love of Princess Morgana (Janet Leigh). Their father, King Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine), refuses to acknowledge Eric who then begins to mass forces against the King, eventually capturing him and threatening him with the wolf pit. However, Eric is soon betrayed by his allies and set adrift at the mercy of his brother in the North Sea. Features all the Viking essentials: longships, raping, pillaging, hearty roars, giant crabs and scores of sword fights.

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