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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Vikings [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Fleischer , 1958)

 

 

 

 

Also available from Kino in Region 'A':

    

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Brynaprod S.A.

Video: Eureka

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:56:03.957

Disc Size: 44,175,209,050 bytes

Feature Size: 33,912,647,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 16th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Exclusive new video interview with film historian Sheldon Hall (32:54)
A Tale of Norway (28:16) A featurette about the making of the film, presented by director Richard Fleischer
Original theatrical trailer (3:26)
PLUS: A booklet featuring the words of Richard Fleischer; a poster gallery and rare archival imagery

Reversible Sleeve

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: One of the most spectacular and action packed epics of the fifties, Richard Fleischer's The Vikings wowed audiences worldwide with its stunning visuals, brutal action and star studded cast.

Prince Einar (Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory, Ace in the Hole) is the son and heir of a savage Viking chieftain (Ernest Borgnine, Violent Saturday, The Wild Bunch). Prince Eric (Tony Curtis, Some Like it Hot) is his unknowing half-brother, the bastard offspring of Einar's father and an English queen. When the Vikings kidnap the princess Morgana (Janet Leigh, Psycho), her beauty inflames the desires of both men, forcing a bloody duel that decides their fate... and the future of the English throne.

Filmed in vivid Technicolor by the legendary Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus) and narrated by Orson Welles, The Vikings spawned a whole sub-genre of imitators, (Mario Bava alone helmed Erik The Conqueror, The Last of the Vikings and Knives of the Avenger in the years following the film's release) but none quite topped the glorious spectacle from one of America s greatest directors of genre cinema, Richard Fleischer. Eureka Classics is proud to present the film for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK.

 

 

The Film:

Viking half-brothers Douglas and Curtis fight it out for the throne of Northumbria. Plenty of pillaging, axe-throwing, hearty quaffing of ale, storming of castles, heroic jumping into wolf pits, and manly talk about the glories of entering Valhalla with sword in hand. Handsomely shot by Jack Cardiff, and directed with muscle and verve by Fleischer, this thoroughly entertaining historical epic stands up to umpteen viewings.

Excerpt from TimeOutlocated HERE

The Vikings was based on the novel The Vikings by Edison Marshall, and adapted into a screenplay by Dale Wasserman and Calder Willingham, the latter of whom collaborated with Douglas and Stanley Kubrick on Paths of Glory (1957). Never one to back down from an epic effort, Kirk Douglas was the true shepherd of the project through his own independent company Bryna Productions. Richard Fleischer, who directed Douglas's production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), called the shots behind the camera. Given the difficulty of the shoot, The Vikings needed Douglas' strong, assured hand and rock-hard ego to guide it. The projected $2.5 million budget doubled with the leasing of an entire Norwegian fjord, the construction of a full-scale Viking village, and design and production of a fleet of authentic longships copied from reproductions in museums. Further ballooning the budget were the transportation costs incurred from shuttling cast and crew to and from the remote set by a fleet of 17 PT boats.

Then there was the weather. Of the 60 shooting days in Norway, 49 were rainy and dark. (Douglas asked a Norwegian boy playing a part in the picture, "Does it always rain here in Norway?" The boy answered, "I don't know. I'm only eighteen."). But the biggest blow to the production was when the entire Norwegian crew of oarsmen - the ones driving that fleet of longships - surprised Douglas by going on strike for more money. Douglas was infuriated, especially since he was under the impression the local participants were content with the terms of their service on the film. Instead of giving in to their demands, Douglas turned the tables on the strikers and left to finish shooting in Munich, having decided that he had obtained sufficient footage of Norway and her people.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Vikings looks fabulous on Blu-ray from Eureka Cinema in the UK.  The image quality shows a fine layer of grain and impressive Technicolor is rich and deep. The visuals are highly remarkable both because of the strong, dual-layered, 1080P transfer and the exquisite Jack Cardiff cinematography. This Blu-ray image is a beauty with excellent contrast, depth and those amazing colors. Visually this gets high marks.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cue-blips are visible

 

 

Audio :

Eureka use a linear PCM mono track with refreshing depth supporting the film's many aggressive effects - battle, wolves, axe-hurdling etc. The score by Mario Nascimbene (When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, The Barefoot Contessa, Barabbas, A Farewell to Arms, Love in the City) gains benefit from the uncompressed transfer and plays well with the action augmenting the film's established period and tone. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Solid supplements too with a new 1/2 hour video interview with film historian Sheldon Hall about The Vikings shedding light on details of the production, casting etc. Excellent. A Tale of Norway is a 28-minute vintage featurette about the making of the film, presented by director Richard Fleischer. There is an original theatrical trailer -= the package has a reversible sleeve (see below) - and the package comes with a liner notes booklet featuring the words of Richard Fleischer; a poster gallery and rare archival imagery.

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Vikings is one of those glorious, lavish, adventure epics that hold a very special place for film fans. Norse legends and larger-than-life action! What a great choice for Eureka to release on Blu-ray. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the film in the glory of 1080P and the extras buoyed my appreciation for subsequent viewings. Yes, we can strongly recommend this as a part of your digital library. Don't hesitate! 

Gary Tooze

October 19th, 2017

 

 

 

 

Also available from Kino in Region 'A':

    

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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