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The Vikings (1958, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas)

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Moody, atmospheric, full-blooded action drama set in ninth-century Britain, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis as two Viking half brothers competing for the throne of Northumbria and the love of a Queen.

Ninth-century England was divided into small kingdoms and frequently subjected to attacks by Viking raiders. While the court of Northumbria is encamped on a long journey, it is ravished by a band of marauding Norsemen led by the violent Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine), who rapes Queen Enid (Maxine Audley) and kills the King. The throne passes to Aella (Frank Thring) but the Queen reveals that she is pregnant with Ragnar’s child, who must eventually claim the Northumbrian crown. When the child is born he is spirited off to safety but captured by the Vikings and brought up as a slave.

Twenty years later the boy slave has become Eric (Tony Curtis) who unknowingly comes across his half brother Einar (Kirk Douglas), taking such an immediate dislike to him that he sets his falcon on him, causing Einar to lose an eye. But, having been claimed as a slave by Egbert (James Donald), close friend and ally of Einar, Eric’s identity as Enid’s son and Einar’s half brother is revealed.

A planned raid by Egbert and Einar to capture the beautiful Morgana (Janet Leigh) from King Aella goes wrong when Eric rescues Morgana from his brother’s clutches. However, disaster strikes Eric as he and his father are captured by the English. King Aella has Ragnar killed and then cuts off Eric’s hand in punishment, casting him adrift in a small boat. Eric manages to reach his brother Einar, who determines to avenge their father’s death.

Together they raid Northumbria, killing Aella. Einar then goes in search of Morgana but realises that she is in love with Eric and the two brothers now have to fight each other to the death…

production details
USA / 111 minutes / 1958

Director: Richard Fleischer
Writers: Dale Wasserman, from the novel by Edison Marshall,

cast
Tony Curtis as Eric
Kirk Douglas as Einar
Ernest Borgnine as Ragnar
Janet Leigh as Morgana
James Donald as Lord Egbert
Orson Welles as Narrator (voice) (uncredited)

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