Lee Majors Week: The Norseman (1978)

Editor’s Note: We originally ran this review on January 30, 2019, as part of our “Viking Week” of film reviews. We’re rerunning it as part of our “Lee Majors Week” of reviews.

Look, I can hear you laughing. An 11th-century Viking prince — played by Lee Majors of all people — sets sails for North America to find his missing father, who has been captured by Native Americans. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it’s also directed by Charles B. Pierce, who brought us The Town That Dreaded Sundown, The Bootleggers, and The Legend of Boggy Creek.

Along with Majors, the film also boasts a packed cast: Cornel Wilde (Gargoyles, Sharks’ Treasure), Mel Ferrer, Jack Elam, Christopher Connelly (Hot Dog from 1990: The Bronx Warriors), NFL Hall of Famer Deacon Jones, former Tarzan Denny Miller (always remembered as Carol Brady’s ex-college football star boyfriend, Tank) and Kathleen Freeman (Sister Mary Stigmata from The Blues Brothers). Well, in my world it’s a star-studded cast!

It also features Jimmy Clem as Olif. In addition to being in nearly every one of Pierce’s films, he was also famous for owning and breeding one of the most respected and revered Brahman cattle herds in the world.

The major highlight of this film is the wacky mask that Lee Majors wears, along with his little mustache. It’s really quite breathtaking. Really, this movie is beyond ridiculous and it’s kind of shocking that it ever made it to the screen. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t love it and won’t try to put it on if you ever visit my house, dear reader. It’s the perfect movie to be enjoyed alongside all manner of mind-altering substances!

How did this make it to the big screen? It was a Fawcett-Majors co-production (made the same year as the studio’s Somebody Killed Her Husband starring wife, Farrah) with Charles Pierce and AIP Studios working the distribution; as result, it was Pierce’s first film with a major Hollywood studio. Courtesy of a pretty cool interview with Lee by the AV Club, as he talked about his work on Ash vs. Evil Dead, it’s learned Lee took the deal as result of being paid $500,000 and 10% of the profits — and that it shot in sunny Tampa, Florida. To that end: many of the vikings are played by Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And let’s not forget that Lee was, himself, an ex-high school and college football player, so he had a fun time — as he says in interviews — on this shoot.

Shout! Factory released this movie on a double disk with The Barbarians. You can get it right here.

2 thoughts on “Lee Majors Week: The Norseman (1978)

  1. Dumb, but kinda fun faux Viking film. I believed this is the movie that ended Lee’s marriage to Farrah. Allegedly, he asked friend Ryan O’Neal to keep an eye on Farrah while he was gone and the rest is history.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.