Screengrab: When Vikings Ruled The Earth


RICHARD LUTZ lures you to the best film on the box this week.

I am just trying to figure out if I still have a roof as I watch the snows of Arran cap the mountains off the west coast of Scotland.

The answer is Yes…the tiles, felt and joists have not been ripped and shredded by the billion mph winds.

So I can carry out my contractual duties and look at the tv schedules…and so can you if you still have electricity or a tv because of the storms in Britain, snow in eastern America, drought in California.

Initially, I was about to have a quick stroll throughout the great British movies gracing the crystal void in your living room: Ice Cold In Alex, Bridget Jones,Gregory’s Girl, Hotel Rwanda, or Master of Ballentrae….

But then my eye fell on The Vikings (Saturday,16.55, 5USA) and my guard fell, my pulse quickened.

This is 100% movie-land though with a scintilla of Brit-ness because it was filmed by Jack Cardiff (Black Narcissus, African Queen and, yes, even a Rambo juggernaut).

Though directed by Richard Fleischer, this 1958 Dark Age actioner is a Kirk-fest. The hunk with the biggest double chin in filmic history produced this colourful epic and starred in it as one-eyed Einor.

He does battle with Tony Curtis and shares the screen with Ernest Borgnine as his Viking dad, Janet Leigh as the blonde eyeful and even Dandy Nichols. Orson Welles gets his longship oar in as The Narrator as those loveable and cuddly Norseman attack Britain a long time ago before cable tv, the cybernet and automatic transmissions in your Vauxhall Vectra.

The locations are beautiful, Kirk climbs a castle drawbridge with a ladder of axes, there’s that Viking theme music (dah, do-doo…dahdodoo…) and Tony has that great Noo Yawk accent to fall back on when his acting gets a bit fraught.

Plus that eye-candy final Viking funeral when Kirk gets launched in a burning longship without a firehose to the pulse of that unforgettable Da Doo Doo snappy beat .

Yes, it is on TODAY…but hey, this column is nothing if not Of The Moment (it says here…)

The Vikings…when movies ruled the earth