The Viking (1928 film)
|Directed by||Roy William Neill|
|Produced by||Herbert Kalmus|
|Written by||Randolph Bartlett (titles)
|Based on||The Thrall of Leif the Lucky
by Ottilie A. Liljencrantz
|Music by||William Axt (uncredited)
Richard Wagner (uncredited)
Edvard Grieg (uncredited)
|Editing by||Aubrey Scotto|
|Running time||90 minutes|
The Viking (1928) was the first feature-length Technicolor film that featured a soundtrack, and the first film made in Technicolor's Process 3.
The storyline was based on traditional legend concerning Leif Ericson and the first Viking settlers to reach North America by sea.
Because of the technical limitation of their previous process with printing sound, the film is also the first time a feature film used Technicolor's dye-transfer process. (The previous Technicolor Process 2 used two prints—one red, one green—cemented base-to-base.) The film was considered the finest use of color cinematography at the time of release. The film still survives and remains an example of early color film. The film was based on the novel The Thrall of Leif the Lucky, itself based on Viking history, written by Ottilie A. Liljencrantz.
In 1938, Technicolor president Herbert Kalmus later wrote,
- There seemed to be two principal troubles with The Viking, both of which I suspected but without certainty. First it came out among the very last silent pictures in 1929, and second, whiskers. Leif Ericson, the Viking hero true to character had a long curling mustache, whereas American audiences prefer their lovers smooth-shaven. At times the whole screen seemed filled with Viking whiskers.
The film critic for the New York Times agreed, noting that "the figures often look as if they had stepped out of an opera comique," and, "The make-up of the players is often more than a trifle overdone, especially when the villain reveals on close inspection his mouse-colored eyelids." 
Early sound and color technology
The film was produced by the Technicolor Corporation, but was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, after production chief Irving Thalberg became impressed with the technology. The film carries the MGM Leo the Lion logo in color. In 1930, MGM reissued the film as a color sound musical film titled The Private Life of Leif Ericson. The sound film survives today as well as the silent version.
- H.T. Kalmus, "Technicolor Adventures in Cinemaland," Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, December 1938. The Viking opened in November 1928, but went into general release in 1929.
- Mordaunt Hall, "A Picture in Colors", The New York Times, November 29, 1928.
- The Viking at silentera.com database
- The Viking at the Internet Movie Database
- The Viking synopsis at allmovie
- Technicolor - a history of the colour process, including information about The Viking.