Roy William Neill | Donald Crisp, Pauline Starke, LaRoy Mason | Silent 90’
Just as silent films were never actually ‘silent’ – since they were always had a musical accompaniment – they weren’t simply in black & white either, since from virtually the word ‘Go’ tinting had been an integral part of the filmmaking process.
In Elmer Rice’s 1929 play ‘Street Scene’ Swedish janitor Carl Olsen (played on both stage & screen by perennial Hollywood Swede John Qualen) indignantly corrects his Italian neighbour’s brag that Christopher Columbus discovered America by asserting “it vos Leif Ericsson!!” I don’t know if Olsen had recently seen ‘The Viking’ – which opened in New York exactly 95 years ago this month – at the pictures, but his attitude explains why this film exists.
Herbert Kalmus – founder of Technicolor – had just enjoyed considerable artistic success with the Douglas Fairbanks vehicle ‘The Black Pirate’ although the process had proved far too unwieldy to be commercially viable. But he soon developed Technicolor Process #3 (known to film historians as two-colour Technicolor), a simplified and more practical form of the process which sufficiently impressed young Irving Thalberg at Metro to authorise that his studio distribute the resulting film @RichardChatten