Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Long Ships
The Long Ships or Red Orm (original title: Röde Orm) is a best-selling Swedish novel written by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson 1941-1945. It is one of the most widely read books in Sweden, topping the charts of most loaned books at Swedish libraries for many years. The novel is divided into two books with two parts each. The first book was translated to English by Barrows Mussey as Red Orm in 1943, but later editions and newer translations use the title The Long Ships.
The language of the novel is modeled on the norse sagas, and historic names, people and events are woven into the fiction.
The book is mainly about Viking travels that the main character Orm (nicknamed "Red Orm" for his red hair and beard) undertakes. He is first shanghaied by a Viking tribe, then taken captive and brought to Spain where he serves as a bodyguard for Al-Mansur. He then returns to Scandinavia and visits the king Harold Bluetooth, before returning to his homelands in Scania, Sweden. After several adventures in his home country he finally sets out on a journey to Kiev to retrieve a treasure hidden by his brother Ale.
A typical theme of Red Orm is religion. The main character Orm is first pagan norse, but converts to Islam during his stay in Spain. He encounters a Jewish friend, and in the end embraces Christianity and builds himself a church. Mainly the plot gives a flattering image of Christianity, but the Christians are also portrayed partly as barbarians in certain parts of the world.
The Long Ships was filmed in 1963 and released by Columbia Pictures. The script was written by Berkely Mather and Beverley Cross, and it features Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Russ Tamblyn, Rosanna Schiaffino , Oscar Homolka, Edward Judd , Beba Loncar , Lionel Jeffries, Colin Blakely , and Clifford Evans . The plot was very loosely based on the novel. It was directed by Jack Cardiff, better known as a director of photography who had earlier shot The Vikings (1958), starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis.
In many ways, The Long Ships is a much more colourful action adventure, and the performances are top-notch, with Widmark giving an exuberant performance as a Viking adventurer seeking a huge golden bell located in an obscure Mediterranean island to bring back to his homeland. Sidney Poitier is particularly memorable as the Moorish lord who captures Widmark's Vikings and presses them into finding and retrieving the Golden Bell for his own possession. Poitier's performance contains a Shakespearean nobility; Widmark on the other hand is a superb foil: canny, agile, and utterly convincing as an adventurer and man of action.
Excellent production values (the movie was shot in colour and in the scope format on location in Yugoslavia), an overriding sense of high adventure reminiscent of the early Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn swashbucklers, together with a touch of the Arabian Nights, ensure that The Long Ships will endure as a fine entertainment.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details