Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Vengeance of She/The Viking Queen|
Actors: John Richardson, Olga Schoberová, Edward Judd, Colin Blakely, Jill Melford
Directors: Cliff Owen, Don Chaffey
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Starz/sphe Release Date: 07/27/2004
A pair of decent Hammer adventure flicks
- Durrkk | Ohio/PA border USA | 09/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE VENGEANCE OF SHE
"The Vengeance of She" is a 1968 Hammer film (British) and is more of a remake than a sequel to Hammer's 1965 "She" with Ursula Andress (which I've unfortunately never seen).
THE STORY: A beautiful blond named Carol (Olinka Berova) is plagued by voices calling her "Ayesha" and is drawn by a mysterious force toward the Southeast into Africa. During her journey she meets Dr. Phillip Smith (Edward Judd) who decides to accompany her, likely because he wants to attain boyfriend status (even though he's obviously old enough to be her father). They travel through the desert and eventually reach a lost city in the mountains where Carol is greeted as the reincarnation of Queen Ayesha, the beloved of King Killikrates (John Richardson). Phillip is imprisoned and discovers the high priest's deceitful plan to obtain the secret of immortality.
Although the storyline is kind of boring you'll no doubt enjoy this film if you have an appreciation for Hammer films, at least to some degree. What's it have going for it? Well, it's a serious adventure for one thing; don't expect any goofiness or camp here. It's got great locations including breathtaking shots of the Mediterranean coast. It also has one incredibly beautiful leading lady in Olinka Berova. Yes, Ursula Andress is gorgeous as well, not to mention ultra-charismatic, but Olinka beats her out by quite a bit IMHO. Olinka may lack Ursula's charisma but she makes up for it in gentle, sweet innocence. Seriously, Olinka possesses a quality that's rare today. The film's worth watching or owning just to behold this.
On the single film page for "The Vengeance of She" another reviewer -- "A Customer" (May 27, 2002) -- spends his entire review ranting about how mediocre the film is because it's rated G. First of all, the dvd is not rated G; it is clearly stated that the film is "unrated." Secondly, even if it WAS rated G at some point (like when it was originally released in theaters) it would be at least a PG or PG-13 by todays standards. Want proof?
-- Olinka is shown for long shots in just her underwear. One scene shows her walking into the ocean where her panties are wet and clearly see-through. Does this sound G-rated?
-- There's a fairly long belly dancing sequence where the girls are less than half-dressed. Does this sound G-rated?
-- There are quite a few violent fights that end in death. Does this sound G-rated?
Suffice to say the reviewer in question doesn't know what he's talking about.
One last thing about this reviewer's piece. The guy appears obsessed with film ratings. Personally I never pay attention to these ratings. Why? Simply because a film is either great, good, mediocre or bad period. The rating is irrelevant. Does more gore, more nudity, more cussing, more overt sexual situations determine the worthiness of a film? Not to this viewer. Take "Secondhand Lions" for instance. It likely has a tame rating but -- so what? -- it's a great film. Seriously, I don't get this guy's obsession with film ratings, as if a handful of cuss words and blood make a film great. Maybe for 13 year-olds.
FINAL WORD: Although "The Vengeance of She" is not a hard R-rated film, it's neither a tame G-rated film either. It's worth watching or owning for the breathtakingly beautiful Olinka Berova, the fine locations and the serious spirit of adventure. It's major downfall is that it has a slightly boring vibe. But if you appreciate Hammer films it's a must.
PERSONAL RATING: Borderline C+ or B-
THE VIKING QUEEN
I'm a bit surprised at some of the low reviews for "The Viking Queen." I've watched it three times now and my appreciation for this 1967 Hammer flick has increased with each viewing.
The biggest criticism is that Salena is a Celt and the movie should therefore be titled "The Celtic Queen." Yet this is explained right at the beginning of the story: Her father chooses her to reign after his death and says, "Like your mother you shall be called 'the Viking Queen.'" So, Salena is the Viking Queen simply because her mother was of Viking ancestry.
One may argue that the Vikings didn't exist for another 700 years (the story takes place shortly after the time of Christ) but "Viking" is simply a collective designation of Nordic people -- Danes, Swedes and Norwegians. And even IF the word "Viking" didn't exist at the time of the film's setting, so what? Just imagine Salena's father saying, "You shall be called the Nordic Queen."
Another major gripe is that the Druids improperly pray to Zeus, a Greek God. Although this is a legitimate beef, the filmmakers obviously decided to do this because the Druids lacked a recognizable deity. This problem is rectified by simply supplanting the word "Zeus" with the Druid deity of your choice when hearing the Druids pray in the film. (Bet you can't think of ONE Druid deity, huh?).
The story is roughly based on the historical Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, a British tribe. Her impressive revolt against the Roman occupants included the sack of London (then Londinium) and the death of some 70,000 Romans (!). The Roman governor of Britain ultimately destroyed Boudicca's force; in despair, she killed herself by taking poison in 60 AD.
In "The Viking Queen" you'll certainly get a good glimpse of what this era was like. The story is ultra-serious and the actors perform their roles accordingly. Salena is played by Carita, who, although very beautiful, is completely believable in the role. Be on the watch for her in a breath-taking purple mini-skirt near the end (speaking of such, be on the lookout as well for Salena's super-cute sister Talia, played by Nicola Pagett). Needless to say, it's too bad this was Carita's sole excursion into acting terrain.
The locations (Ireland), costumes and sets are all of the highest order.
One other complaint is that it is unbelievable that Salena falls in love with the Roman govenor (played by Don Murray) and vice versa, yet isn't it realistic to assume that more than one Briton babe fell in love with a Roman occupant, particularly if he was in a command position? Besides, the tragic ending is emotionally compounded by this love story.
FINAL WORD: "The Viking Queen" is a film in the vein of "Braveheart," "Gladiator" or "Attila," albeit made in the late 60s. If you're a fan of such films you'll enjoy "The Viking Queen." Personally, I feel both "Braveheart" and "Gladiator" are overrated. I'd pop in "The Viking Queen" before either of those films any day.
If, like me, this film inspires you to research the true history of Boudicca, then the filmmakers have accomplished far more than mere entertainment. Enough said.
PERSONAL GRADE: Borderline B+ or A-"
Double your fun
David33496 | boca raton, florida United States | 10/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was positively surprised by these movies. I wasn't expecting the quality in plot, acting and especially cinematography. The picture-quality of both is the best i have seen in a long time: every inch of the frame is sharp and perfectly lit. I prefered "Viking" to "Vengeance". The former is "Clash of the Titans" meets "Indiana Jones". I could do w/o the mythology-like stuff. And the 3 most interesting characters in "Vengeance"---the rich man, his wife, and the boat captain---are in less than half the movie. That was disappointing. A movie with them in all of it would have been Oscar material. The "she" is pretty, but a wallflower. "Viking" ("Galdiator" meets "Braveheart") has history, action and romance, and is more interesting and realistic than "Vengeance"."