Hollywood Lost and Found

"Erik the Viking" (1989)

Erik the Viking was written and directed by my favorite Python, one of the most clever and talented people in the world, Terry Jones.

In the opening scene, Erik, played by Tim Robbins, meets Helga (Samantha Bond, Miss Moneypenny in several James Bond films), and accidentally kills her. This leads to much introspection, leaving Erik feeling unfulfilled by all of the raping and pillaging. He convinces the other Vikings to go on a quest to ask the gods to end the Ice Age and bring Helga back to the land of the living.

To explain how the voyage went, let me just say that Leif the Lucky was the first one to die.

On their quest, they find the dragon of the North Sea, visit Hy-Brasil, cross Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge, and enter Valhalla – most of which is invisible to the Christian Missionary who tags along with the hope of making a few converts along the way.

Eartha Kitt is always fascinating to me, so I loved her as Freya. Charles McKeown, John Cleese, and Terry Jones can each floor me with a mere change of expression, and Gary Cady (seen more recently in "Footballers' Wives") was a very lovely Keitel Blacksmith. The legendary Mickey Rooney played Erik’s crass grandfather.

Part of the reason this movie didn’t do well is that a lot of people went in expecting something else, so they were disappointed. People who are familiar with Norse Mythology often appreciate this movie; perhaps the story relied too much upon expecting the audience
to be familiar with the Norse Sagas. The editing was a little jarring in places.

No matter what the reason that this movie wasn’t more popular, just know that this is not a Python film. It’s clever and a little… off… but it’s subtle, as if someone turned the Python knob down a few notches. Actually, "Erik the Viking" was originally intended to be a Monty Python film, but after the death of Graham Chapman, the others dropped out. At the last minute, John Cleese replaced Jack Lemmon as Halfdan the Black.

"Erik the Viking" is one of my favorite movies in the world, so I have coaxed nearly everyone I know to watch it with me at least once. "Erik the Viking" is smart, thoughtful, funny, and deserves a viewing. Even the credits are amusing!

Now, why can’t we find this amazing movie on DVD?

- Hollywood Lost And Found
24 September 2006

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