Unbeknownst to the great warrior Einar and the shamed former slave Eric, they are, in fact, half-brothers. With a kingdom and princess for the taking in Northumbria, England, the good news will have to take a backseat to some major rivalry.
The other action epic that starred Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis doesn’t have quite the pedigree of the great Spartacus, but is still a rip-roaring adventure tale told with little authenticity whatsoever, but plenty of highly pleasurable grand old Hollywood ham. You’re never quite convinced these guys, although Douglas’ full-blooded and one-eyed tearaway gives it a good go, are the mead-guzzling, maiden ravishing ninth century stalwarts of macho legend. Curtis looks like he’s just come out of the salon most of the time.
Rather than the big scope of traditional epic-making, this is resplendently comic-book, an unsurprising style given the director was Richard Fleischer who cornered the market over the ‘50s and ‘60s in bottling boyhood fantasies as glossy Hollywood product (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Fantastic Voyage et al). He aims to convey a snapshot of olde Viking life, with scenes of well researched shipbuilding and craftwork, and the usual swilling of mead and grasping of thick female thighs, but his psychology is one-dimensional and his actors keep things as broad as possible.
The plot has it that Einar and Eric are blood brothers deep down (some guff involving an amulet is the key) it’s just a question of when they stop squabbling and make up, but Fleischer would rather have them fighting and leering after Janet Leigh’s vulnerable English princess for most the fast-paced picture. No bad thing, necessarily, when the scenery is as gorgeous as this and sword-fighting as thumpingly good as mounted here.
Proper Hollywood overblown Viking adventure with not a shred of authentic detail but lots of glam and ham.