Will The Long Ships Rule The Screen?

As I know that there are some fans of Frans G Bengtsson’s The Long Ships among the readers of HTBS, I am happy to report about an upcoming film project based on Bengtsson’s Viking Röde Orm.

At the Cannes Film Festival a week ago, the Swedish film company Fladenfilm in Stockholm announced that they have managed to buy the film rights of Bengtsson’s novel from Columbia Pictures, which bought the rights in the 1950s. However, the American film The Long Ships (read more about the movie here, but please be aware that the information given has several inaccuracies, especially, ironically, in the part called ‘Historical Accuracy’) was a terrible mishmash that was only loosely based on Bengtsson’s novel. Not even stars like Richard Widmark and Sydney Poitier could save the movie.

In a letter written to me in 2000, Michael Meyer, the English translator of Bengtsson’s novel, summed up what many readers of The Long Ships think of the screen version: “The film, of course, was one of the worst that ever came out of Hollywood.”

Let us hope that Fladenfilm will do better. Their film, which is going to be shot in Sweden, Spain, England, and France, will be released in two parts, the first part at Christmas 2014, and the second at Christmas 2015. The director and the rest of the cast have not been selected at this point of time.

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