Three for Thursday: Wyrd Edition

No Wyrd Wednesday post yesterday. I am almost exclusively devoted, during my daylight hours, to the OSR Authentic Magick RPG I’ve been tapped to illustrate, edit, and orchestrate. So, how do I make amends? Well, we bring a little Wyrd into our Three for Thursday.

Today, let’s have my list of the three best “Viking” movies.

NUMBER THREE

THE VIKINGS

Adapted from Edison Marshall’s novel, The Vikings. If you thought the Viking’s tv show was inaccurate, hold onto your horned helm because this tale of Ragnar Lodbrok is a doozy. Oh, we’ve got Ragnar and Aella, Egbert, and the like, but we also have Eric, Ragnar’s secret bastard and Einar Ragnarsson, and let’s not forget the Welsh Princess Morgana.

For all its playing fast and loose with history, the cast more than makes up for it: Ernest Borgnine, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, and Janet Leigh are all spectacular in this epic sword and sandal production.

NUMBER TWO

VALHALLA RISING

Where do you even begin with this Mads Mikkelsen tour-de-force? Mads plays One-Eye, a mute thrall who escapes his captivity with a young boy and is taken in by cruel Norse Christians intent on sailing for the Holy Land on Crusade. Blown off course, they end up in North America, where One-Eye sacrifices himself to the natives there.

Oh, yes, I have opinions about this film and its meaning. More than happy to discuss with anyone brave enough for an earful.

NUMBER ONE

THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR

Adapted from Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, The 13th Warrior is loosely based on Beowulf, merged with the chronicles of Ahmad ibd Fadlan. The cast is spectacular, particularly Jahn Dennis Storhøi who manages to steal every scene he is in.

“After my small role in The 13th Warrior, I said to myself, ‘Let us stop this nonsense, these meal tickets that we do because it pays well.’ I thought, ‘Unless I find a stupendous film that I love and that makes me want to leave home to do, I will stop.’ Bad pictures are very humiliating, I was really sick. It is terrifying to have to do the dialogue from bad scripts, to face a director who does not know what he is doing, in a film so bad that it is not even worth exploring.” — Omar Scharif

Well, Omar, I disagree. John McTiernan was the original direstor, and while he was responsible for films like The Hunt for Red October, Predator, and Die Hard, by all accounts he lit a lot of money on fire and delivered a wretched film. Crichton took the reins himself, reshooting the ending and delivering what I consider an exhilarating adventure film.

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