Yesterday on Group Sharing, I posted a YouTube titled “George Ardisson dies like a Viking” taken from the film, Last of the Vikings. Unfortunately, this very erotic scene (visit yesterday’s post) is a fraction of the original extended torture scenes, much of which were censored and cut from later releases of the film.
A few years ago on CM, the very fine writer and film expert, Karel, wrote an excellent review of the film in which he describes the missing scenes. It makes for very HOT reading, I include it here.
Hopefully, at some point the original film will be made available uncensored!
Last of the Vikings
thanks for recalling this “L’ultimo dei Vichinghi” aka “The last of the Vikings” (1960) a movie starring Cameron Mitchell and (most importantly) the hunky, blond and muscular, Giorgio Ardisson who, at the end of the movie, undergoes a very cruel torture scene (BTW, nailed and not tied on an X cross).
I have already mentioned and briefly talked of this scene more than once, starting from my first posting in the Karel’s Column (where I mentioned it as one of “my preferred” torture scenes in movies) to other messages of mines in Movie Mayhem. E.g. please have a look to some of my replies to Achilles, Darklord and Herc03 posted at the beginning of June 2004.
This can underline how valuable in the story of S&M Cinema I believe this torture scene is.
Without repeating what is already said there (see there e.g. some information about the plot), let me give some additional information about Giorgio Ardisson and this “The last of the Vikings” movie.
The blond and muscular Italian actor Giorgio (aka George) Ardisson, in his career played in 47 movies, from the end of ‘50’s to the early ‘80’s, passing through all the main genres; from the comedy (where he played the role of the “handsome boy” thanks to his cute face and athletic physique) to Sword & Sandal (too few movies he shot here!); from historical / adventure movies (like this “The last of the Vikings ”) to Spaghetti Western; from Spy stories to –at the end of his career- several Horror movies.
Like for many gorgeous young actors of that period, the number, length and “quality” of S&M scenes (bondage and torture) involving the cute Giorgio are not always what it could have been desirable for such a gorgeous young male; but some are anyhow worth remembering.
In particular in my past messages I have already mentioned two scenes:
– first of all, in “Ercole al centro della Terra” (1961) aka “Hercules in the haunted world”, starring Reg Park and Chrisopher Lee. In it Giorgio, in the role of the young Theseus, is bound on a “rock bed” and slowly stretched. Magnificent torture scene which has the only drawback of being too short (Theseus is almost immediately rescued by Hercules) !!
– in “Una regina per Cesare” (1962) in which Giorgio Ardisson is Achilles, the commander of the Pharaoh’ s guards and he appears spread eagled and tied in a dungeon.
In all his 47 movies there are of course other violent scenes, for example in his 5 spy stories ( e.g. in “Agente 3S3: avventura a Beirut” he is electro-tortured) or in his 7 Spaghetti westerns. But none of these other scenes can be compared with the torture scene of “The last of the Vikings”.
As I wrote since my first posting, unluckily I had to mention this scene as one of the main examples of what I call “the lost treasures”, i.e. scenes & movies containing very valuable S&M sequences which today have been lost or are anyhow no more available to most spectators.
In the case of this movie, the torture of the young Viking Guntar (Giorgio Ardisson) by the evil Sveno (Edmund Purdom) was one of the best and most cruel torture scenes of the ‘60’s. Unfortunately since its release, it was judged “too gruesome” in particular for the young audience to which this adventure movie was mainly addressed. Therefore the scene was partially or, in some countries, totally cut. When later editions for homevideo appeared, this censorship was repeated. E.g. at least all the 4 homevideo European editions that I know, have this scene cut.
So we see Guntar in the torture chamber only at the end, when his brother Harald enters the dungeon to rescue him. He has been already tortured, the palms of his hands are nailed on the X cross, transfixed by long and thick nails, and he’s already “half-dead” exhausted by the awful and endless tortures.
The “gruesomeness” of the original scene was mainly related to the initial sequence of the crucifixion. When Guntar is dragged into the torture chamber, in spite of his vigorous struggling, his body and hands are kept still against the X cross. And the camera shows all the details of the nailing of his hands, with long and realistic images, among squirts of blood, desperate screams of pain of the youth and excited grins of sadistic pleasure of the evil Sveno. Actually, the scene is probably a bit “too realistic and shocking”, especially for an underage audience.
But cutting the details of this initial crucifixion does not necessarily mean to be obliged to cut also all the rest of the torture, as it was decided to do in most cases.
In fact, in the movie, the torture of the hunky blond Viking warrior continues, thoroughly described in a series of long and detailed sequences, and it’s done mainly by using whips and by burning with hot irons his solid chest muscles. Maybe not a particularly “inventive & novel” kind of tortures; but certainly worth of having survived the cuts, at least for the gorgeous look of the athletic, masculine and cute young blond victim.
Another aspect that, in this scene, I believe was very well represented and staged, was the realism by which the sadism of the evil, cowardly, deformed and rather effeminate Sveno is depicted. There is no doubt that he’s a sadist and every detail expresses the infinite pleasure and excitement that he gets from the merciless torture –even with his own hands, at a point – of the brave, brawny, handsome, masculine (in one word, exactly “his contrary” ) Guntar. Purdom plays very well the almost neurotic excitement of Sveno in watching the splendid body of the young blond Viking undergo ruthless tortures; and even more when Sveno with his own hands, takes pleasure in branding himself the muscles of the young warrior or in slowly pricking and cutting with his dagger the flesh of Guntar.
A curious additional information about this movie, may be the following one.
The success of “The last of the Vikings” was so good, that immediately after, another director, Mario Bava (who was at the same time directing Giorgio Ardisson also in “Hercules in the haunted world”) started to shoot another movie, “Gli invasori” (1961), that under many aspects is incredibly similar to “The last of the Vikings”.
Giorgio Ardisson and Cameron Mitchell are again the two protagonists, and again they are two Viking brothers. Also the historical background is the same, i.e. the period of Viking invasions in Great Britain and the continuous wars between the English and the Vikings.
In this second movie, the two brothers are however divided when they are still boys. So they grow up as enemies, one as a Viking chief, and the other one as an English prince. But eventually, thanks to a tattoo on Erik’s (Giorgio Ardisson) chest, they recognize each other as brothers. And again, like in “The last of the Vikings” only one of the two brothers will survive at the end, this time Giorgio.
But maybe the most curious similarity between the two movies is a minor detail in a dungeon scene. At a certain point Erik is captured and there are a few scenes that take place in a dungeon (unfortunately, this time, with no tortures at all !). In one of these short sequences, Erik (Giorgio Ardisson) is shown tied to an X cross which looks exactly the same used in the torture scene of the previous movie.
Let’s say that, especially for these B-series movies, often shot in few weeks and with low budgets, the creativity and novelty of script writers and of art directors was not always the best of the best.