75 minutes – Drama
Release date: March 5, 1931 (Newfoundland)
U.S. release date: June 16, 1931
Production company: Newfoundland-Labrador Film Company
Distributor: J. D. Williams
The film takes its title from a sealing ship, The Viking, which takes a party of hunters off the coast of Labrador in search of seal herds. Included among the hunters is Jed, a brutish man, and the younger Luke, considered a “jinx” who brings bad luck. The relationship between the men is strained because of their romantic interest in a local woman, Mary Joe. Jed goads Luke into coming along on the expedition, hoping to cause an accident and be rid of his romantic competitor. Once Luke spots a seal herd, the hundreds of hunters track them across the drifting ice floes and a great slaughter ensues using footage shot during an actual seal hunt. After the hunt, a tremendous storm hits and Jed and Luke are left behind on the ice. When the weather clears, Jed attempts to shoot Luke, but having lost his glasses, cannot see clearly and may be suffering from snow-blindness. Luke is not injured and leads the exhausted Jed safely back to civilization. The Viking is best known for the explosion aboard the SS Viking, in which many members of the crew, including producer Varick Frissell, were killed. It remains the incident with the largest loss of life in film history.
Also see: Search And Rescue: Restoring Varick Frissell’s The Viking.