By TS Morangles
Say what you may about Hollywood and Anglo-Saxon biased cinematographic cultural onslaught: they support their Dark Ages. King Arthur may be totally fictional; yet he is a staple of the big screen (and the small one is not immune). When it is not about Gladiator goes Woad as in the hopefully soon to be forgotten epic KING ARTHUR where Keira Knightley plays a Celtic woman in a rather nice (for men, this is) outfit while the only historical character is the villain played by the stellar Stellan Skarsgard, we have VIKINGS (admittedly a very good show where centuries are telescoped into a short time line but who cares because they are so badass and the actors are eye candy).
Hollywood likes Vikings, like dragons and wizards with funny names. J.R.R.Tolkien, Games of Throne, Blood Eagle episode and Merlin. Why not, says the non-English viewer … but… but?
What of Charlemagne: a man who certainly left much more impact than Arthur and who founded an empire which would wait for another Emperor, Corsican this time to destroy its lingering presence? What of the Visigoths whose stubborn resistance to the Moors in Galicia and Asturias must have been a constant thorn in the flesh of the Caliphates of Al-Andalus. The Ostrogoths, the long-bearded (Langobards) Lombards. Are we to forget the Golden Room of Imperial Byzantium and … Attila?
So, possibly it may come as a surprise to Hollywood and Elstree Studios BUT the Dark Ages are not limited in time from the Adventus Saxonum to the Battle of Hastings. Not everything between 449 AD to 1066 AD has been only taking stage on the British Isles!
This article is part of a series looking at movies filmed about the continental Age of Migrations, we shall start by the Franks (yes, there are excellent movies about the Merovingians) followed by two Visigoth movies (exciting, isn’t it?) and if you are very good a movie filmed before Ben Hur and with a horse race which has not reason to be jealous of Charlton Heston’s prowess.
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