The Viking Queen

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The Viking Queen (1967) is a fantasy film by Hammer Studios and directed by Don Chaffey of Jason and the Argonauts (1963) fame. This film tells the muddled story of how Salina (Carita), Queen of the Druids, unified her kingdom and brokered peace with the Roman Empire. There really aren’t that many films that deal with this time period, so it’s unfortunate that The Viking Queen does little more than tease us with occasional historical accuracies. For the most part Hammer Studios seem far more invested in dressing Carita in as little as possible while also peddling spectacle over substance. I suppose it’s only fair to acknowledge that by the late sixties Hammer was beginning to struggle to adapt to audience’s tastes so they were reliant upon mining the familiar territory of One Million Years B.C. (1966) again and again.

It goes without saying that Carita was an obvious choice for Hammer’s Viking Queen, given the nature of her costumes, but she manages enough on-screen charisma to carry the film with conviction through some of the campiest moments of any Hammer production. Nicola Pagett also manages to make the most of her “sex pot” role, pulling off her part memorably. The real scene stealer though is Patrick Troughton who plays the queen’s most trusted adviser. Troughton’s eyes are hyper expressive and enable him to imbue some goofy moments with depth and a little class. Some cinephiles may recognize Don Murray as the Roman governor who is in his full-on heart throb mode here, recalling his hey day in the late fifties.

If spectacle is all one is after, The Viking Queen delivers. This is second rate Hammer with first rate production values, surpassing its counterpart Prehistoric Women aka Slave Girls (1967) in almost every respect. This is a title I’d only recommend to true Hammer enthusiasts or connoisseurs of schlock.