MEDIEVAL MOVIES VI
Updating and correcting “Medieval Movies: Films of the Viking Era,” to include films released since the last edition. And discovered there were many other films as well…
I’ll be posting comments on some of the ones not covered before for the next month!
Trees Grow on the Stones Too (1985)
Aka Flukt aka I Na Kamnyakh Rastut Derevya aka Dragens Fange
Rather bland photography and choreography, without much crispness, innovation nor artistic innovation. Scenes are rather static and old fashioned, and even the action is rather dull, with Vikings prancing delicately around. The combat scenes are rather staged and amateur, as if they were choreographed by a high-school drama teacher. And let’s not talk about over-acting. Which is too bad since the costumes are decent (though with the hoods of a later era, puttees that are indescribable, too many visible bags and belts that are much too wide), the props are accurate and I saw no furry cloaks or fur-lined caps for some time into the film. The word parts of this film is far better than the best parts of some later films, though, though it is not as enjoyable as some reviewers have said. It started out rather fine and goes downhill through much of the film. If I was able to get a translation, I might not be so critical, but I had to focus on what I saw. For example, they used plenty of buttons!
Stone Forest, The (1965)
aka Il Tesoro Della Foresta Pietrificata aka Treasure of the Petrified Forest
Viciously bad acting, typical Italian Viking costume and unusually sterile photography. It mentions Vikings by name and is a clever mash-up where the opera by Wagner is crossed with a Humphrey Bogart film! Not recommended for researching costume, though it is at least not a poor retread of Fritz Lang. The only reason to research thi is just to see how you should write a really really bad film. But the dry ice budget was probably a lot more than the costume!
El Príncipe Encadenado (1960)
aka King of the Vikings
A Spanish film adapted from a seventeenth-century play that presented Spanish culture as the best of all time but attempts to meld generic Viking culture with a the play. Costumes and armor is ludicrous and bright, possibly rejected by Italian Viking films, and seem more similar to those used in films of classical times than whatever time this is presending to be. Weapons are similar to Spanish or Muslim versions, and the scenerey is filled with castles and stone buildings, not even giving a token nod to period woodn buildings. It is amusing that, after a while, you recognize the scenery used in Spanish films as easily as that used by John Ford in Monument Valley. There are, of course, no drakkars, not even row boats with dragon prows.
Sweaty Beards (2010)
aka Die verrückten Wikinger—Die vergessene Wikinger-Legende
A Swedish comedy that is actually funny, inspired by Monty Python. Costumes are relatively accurate, unless the inaccurate costumes are meant to be amusing. Props are more accurate than they need to be, and the actions are often broad and burlesque.