It’s now time to take a look at classic film from 1958 starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, I’m talking about The Vikings. It’s available now released by Eureka Entertainment on Blu-ray. The question is this new version really worth upgrading from the DVD? Let’s find out, here’s my The Vikings Blu-ray Review.
- The Vikings Blu-ray Review (1958)
- Running Time: 116 Mins
- UK Rating PG
- Discs: 1
- Released By Eureka Entertainment
Following a Viking raid the King of Northumbria is left dead, having had no children there is no apparent heir. His cousin Aella assumes the throne and wishes to seal his position of authority by marring Princess Morgana.
However there is in fact an apparent legitimate heir to the throne, a small child whom is smuggled away from the castle and sent to Italy for his own safety. The hope is this will prevent him from being killed. Unfortunately the young child will not make it to Italy instead landing in Vikings territory.
Style / Direction
The film is directed by Richard Fleischer with the cinematography handled by Jack Cardiff. The Vikings is at times visually stunning with the look working very well for the most part. The film moves along at a decent pace keeping you invested throughout.
Music / Audio Effects
The music works well in creating the right mood but is not something you will remember after viewing.
Mario Nascimbene provided the music.
Acting / Characters
Kirk Douglas, Tony Cutis, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh all star and are all excellent actors so there should be little to criticise here. That said whilst they all play their roles well one thing that does slightly break the immersion is the American accents. Borgnine and Douglas are the worst offenders as they simply go for the “I’m Kirk Douglas and Ernest Borgnine” approach that just happen to in a Viking movie.
I am a huge fan of both actors however and managed to put that little gripe to one side and enjoy their overall performances.
Curtis plays a slave known only as Eric and will find himself pitted against Kirk Douglas’s character Einar son of the Viking leader Ragnar Lodbrok played by Ernest Borgnine. This all comes about as both men firmly have their hearts set on Morgana (Janet Leigh).
Conclusion – The Vikings Film Review
Overall The Vikings is a hugely entertaining film with plenty of action and good performances. The main downside as I mention earlier is with those American accents that can break the immersion of being in the Vikings backyard.
The Vikings Blu-ray Review
Oh dear The Vikings is another film from the MGM stable and as I’ve mention before this is very bad news. Eureka is the label to pick up and release The Vikings on Blu-ray but unfortunately no work in restoring the film has taken place. All we have is a high definition transfer which means improved resolution which is obviously a good thing but absolutely nothing has been done to address the general image quality.
Eureka claim “Gorgeous 1080p presentation” well I beg to differ. First off anytime you see claims like these it just means they know full well it’s a poor quality release and this is simply marketing spin to try to get around the awful image quality. This is the best version available to purchase to date but the claim of “Gorgeous” is stretching the term too far to be justified in my opinion. In fact I would say that this is truly a disastrous Blu-ray release.
Poor Picture Qualty
Let’s get into the poorness of the picture quality, firstly the image is littered with speckles pretty much throughout the film. Now on to the huge oval shaped film damage marks that first appear at 19mins 12 seconds, then at 19 mins 20 seconds. There is a break until the next two which come at 37 and 38 mins. There was at least one other but I didn’t log the time and have no desire to re-watch the film again until somebody gives it a 2K or 4K restoration.
I’ll be honest when I purchase the blu-ray version of a film I expect it to have had some work to remove most if not all of the marks. These films have been out on several different formats over the years so when a company decides to put a film out on Blu-ray I think it’s only reasonable to expect an upgrade in picture quality from the DVD version. This is an unacceptable Blu-ray release from Eureka and one if they were not prepared to pay for any restoration work they should have passed on.
MGM are the biggest culprits here as virtually all the main studios provide decent restored version for labels such as Eureka to release. Clearly MGM have no real interest in either their film legacy or their customers.
Having criticised just how bad The Vikings blu-ray release is should you still buy it? Well let me just say I also have a copy of the DVD and taking a look at that the resolution isn’t terrible enough to warrant recommending upgrading to Blu-ray. In fact I would not have bothered in hindsight.
Come on Eureka you can do much better than this, you should be striving for a reputation of only releasing excellent picture quality Blu-rays.
The release does come with some extras but these are only of interest if the actual image quality is good. I’d rather focus on restoring the film rather than adding extras, there is merely the icing on the cake! The interview with film historian Sheldon Hall is however worth a watch providing plenty of insight into the making of The Vikings.
- Exclusive new interview with film historian Sheldon Hall (33 mins)
- A Tale of Norway (28 mins)
- Original Trailer
- Collector’s booklet
On to my movie rating for The Vikings (1958)
- Movie Rating: WORTH WATCHING
- Blu-ray Picture: POOR – AVOID PURCHASING
- Extras: GOOD
The Vikings (1958) is available now on Blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
If you like my The Vikings Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Castle Keep (1969)
- Highlander (1986)
- The Magus (1968)
- Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
So that’s The Vikings Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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The Vikings Blu-ray Review (1958)
Director(s): Richard Fleischer
Actor(s): Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ernest Borgnine
Genre: Action, Drama
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
A good movie ruined by a terrible Blu-ray release, the picture quality is simply awful