VIKING QUEEN, THE
(director: Don Chaffey; screenwriters: Clarke Reynolds/story by John Temple-Smith; cinematographer: Stephen Dade; editor: Peter Boita; music: Gary Hughes; cast: Don Murray (Justinian), Carita (Salina), Donald Houston (Maelgan), Andrew Keir (Octavian), Adrienne Corri (Beatrice), Niall MacGinnis (Tiberian), Wilfrid Lawson (King Priam); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Temple-Smith; Twentieth Century-Fox; 1967-UK)
“Silly Sword-and-Sandal costume pic that takes itself so seriously.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Don Chaffey (“Pete’s Dragon”/Jason and the Argonauts”/”One Million Years B.C.”)directs this silly Sword-and-Sandal costume pic that takes itself so seriously. It’s based on a story byJohn Temple-Smith and is written by Clarke Reynolds. It stars the Finnish makeup artist/model Carita in her first and last film. Hammer Films refuses to shoot for camp in such a vacuous film and instead asks the viewer to take such nonsense at face value. That’s a mistake.
During the first century AD, the Romans occupied the tribal Britons. The dying king, King Priam (Wilfrid Lawson), of the Iceni tribe, chooses his daughter Salina (Carita), whose mom was a Viking queen, to be his successor. Salina’s dad wants her to keep the peace with the Roman occupiers. But her people, the Druids, feel oppressed by their Roman rulers and want to rebel. The new governor-general, Justinian (Don Murray), tries to be fair with the Britons, but this angers the evil second-in-command, Octavian (Andrew Keir). Meanwhile Justina courts the beautiful Salina, but the bombastic Druid high priest, Maelgan (Donald Houston), refuses to grant her permission to marry the Roman. Without his blessing, she would no longer be able to rule. Maelgan hysterically tells the queen that her destiny is written that she will be the Viking queen who picks up the sword to lead her people to rebel for their freedom.
When the angry Briton merchants, upset with Justinian for favoring the poor over the rich, arrange for a revolt in a faraway province, Justinian goes to put down their uprising. Thereby Octavian takes over command and begins a reign of terror on the homefront. After the baddie Octavian administers a public flogging of Salina, a full-scale revolt takes place with Salina picking up the sword as prophesied. When Justinian returns, he has no choice but put down the rebellion and witness Salina die from a self-inflicted wound in battle. We have to suffer through Carita’s uninvolving death scene, and perhaps rejoice only in knowing this turkey is over.
The pic was historically inaccurate, badly executed, and poorly acted by the miscast thespians. At least, it was visually pleasing to the eye.
REVIEWED ON 10/24/2011 GRADE: C