The Long Ships (1964)
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as Aly Mansuh
as King Harald
Critic Reviews for The Long Ships
Any attempt to put this into the epic class falls down because of a hodge-podge of a storyline, a mixture of styles and insufficient development of characterization.
Has impossible acting, a preposterous script, some eminently seeworthy ship reconstructions, and more enjoyable bloody foolishness than many an epic costing three times as much.
Awful international Technirama hodge-podge, adapted from a novel by Frank G Bengtsson, in which the Vikings wrestle with the Moors to lay hands on the legendary Golden Bell of St James (rather an anti-climax when it finally appears).
The press books announced "Sidney Poitier in his first non-Negro role!" Poitier put it most elegantly: "To say it was disastrous is a compliment."
Audience Reviews for The Long Ships
Okay, so this film is unrealistic, silly, historically inaccurate, and a tad racist and misogynistic, but it's fun. Good, schlocky, entertaining fun. This story of Vikings on a quest to find a legendary bell made of solid gold in many ways feels like a precursor to stuff like Indiana Jones, or Pirates of the Caribbean, or the National Treasure movies. And for that reason, I gotta give it some props. Yeah, it's not really a good movie, but I liked it, and am glad I watched it. Plus, it's kinda fun seeing Sidney Poitier play a ruthless Moorish ruler. Something I didn't expect was some of the neat cinematography trhis movie has, especially some cool sequences involving lots of shadows and silhouettes. Turn your brain off, and give this a watch. If you like good old fashioned adventure stories, then this is a movie for you.
A good, if schlocky, view of the Vikings wanderings -- Schlocky or not, I liked it
This amusingly cheesy matinee style viking film features Richard Widmark and his brother Russ Tamblyn (sporting a very fetching pair of hot pants!) seemingly having loads of fun as norsemen on the pillage in pursuit of a legendary golden bell, also coveted by Moorish prince Sidney Poitier. Poitier actually cuts quite a dashing figure in his period robes and armour, but looks a little uncomfortable playing the action man. The main problem with the film is not in it's inherent silliness; that's all part of the fun. Some of the early scenes on board ship are unintentionally hilarious! It's in casting these pirates as the "good" guys; I actually felt far more affinity towards Poitier and his Moors than Widmark's men, who came across as brutish testosterone soaked thugs. This is underlined by the unbelievably tasteless harem scene where rape is presented as some kind of comic lark, very much in the vein of a Carry On film. This shockingly misjudged (althought mercifully brief) sequence seriously marred my enjoyment of the film, which up until then I'd considered harmless fun. If you can ignore the dubious morality of it all, it's an enjoyable boys own adventure in the mold of Jason And The Argonauts, but that particular scene did leave me with a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth.
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