Conan the Barbarian, the Film
: That which does not kill us make us stronger :
With the well-known quote of Friedrich Nietzsche “That which does not kill us make us stronger”, and then, a little free adaptation of the Nemedian Chronicles “Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryus there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan... destined to bear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure”, in this way Conan the Barbarian film begins... A true perfect introduction for what we are going to find inside...
Conan el Bárbaro
Yes, it´s time to recover one of the better epic films ever, the one that I have watched more times in my life, and possibly the best inside of the Sword and Sorcery genre.
Fortunately nowadays good films about epic, ancient times, battles with the sacred steel have been filmed, but, honestly, Conan the Barbarian still contains something special (even when it was filmed in 1982!), a feeling that bristles our hair, an atmosphere hard to forget... Yes, Conan still is an endless scourge of inspiration for many of us...
Conan was a creation of the great writer Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936). This real genius was born in Texas (USA) and spent most part of his life in his desolate homeland. So he had plenty of time for writting, for creating fantastic and ancient worlds of witchery, warriors... Anyway he wrote tales threating almost all the genres: sword and sorcery, stories of racialism and remembrance, horror, sci-fi, boxing, western, etc.
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
His most famous creations were the characters as known as Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and some she-devils with sword like Dark Agnes of Chastillon and Red Sonya of Rogatine that they were the inspirations of another warrior woman from Hyboria lands, the mighty Red Sonja.
Howard published all the tales in “pulps” like “Weird Tales”, a type of literary cheap magazines of those years. Howard dies young committing suicide with his own shotgun. He could not get over with the recent death of his beloved mother who died of tuberculosis. There is a little legend that tells that Howard wrote his stories about Conan in a strange trance between sleep and wakefulness, as if Conan told him his history and adevntures or as if Howard himself only remembered in the texts those who had lived in a forgotten time...
Yes. There are some differences between Conan of the film and Conan of the novels (the most significant is concerning about his life, the assassination of his parents and his years of slavery, etc.). Possibly most of them owed to licenses of the script, for shaping a more epic story focused in the topic of the vengeance. Anyway, I think “Conan the Barbarian” contains the spirit and the feeling of the original tales. For Howard Conan represented a primary force whose attitude is to cut and tear in front of a pack of wolves, an unshakable will in an hostile and savage world, an indomitable man owner of own his destiny, and always following the discipline of the steel... Well, there are not many differences here between “both Conans”...
Well, I prefer not to speak about the story of the film. I think it would be bored, and if you have not watched it yet... But obviously it is focused on the topic of “vengeance”. Don´t mind what obstacles, the great power of his enemies, etc... Nothing can take Conan away from his goal, from his destiny. Like I said before, Conan is the strength of the individual, the courage to create his own destiny... On the other side, the evil wizard, Thulsa Doom could represent some of the disease of this modern world. He is a brave warrior, his quest is the riddle of steel (as Conan). But he fell into the dark nets of the witchery... He is loosing his identity, his warrior spirit. He changes his life of adventures (like their companions as Rexor), of glory in the battles for a life of decadency, decrepitude, and he becomes a slave of the carnal pleasures and desires, of the thirst of wealth and power.
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Conan el Bárbaro
Another characters of the films worth to mention are the comrades of Conan: Valeria, Subotai and Akira the hermit. Loyal to the cause of the cimmerian, they do not hesitate to risk their lives for the cause they believe... Some of the best and more emotional moments of the film are precisely when they show that loyalty and honour: when Subotai rescues Conan from the tree of convicted or when Valeria returns from the realms of the Death to save Conan of a certain death. Both great moments are extracted as well from the original tales of Howard.
And what about the majestic and impressive soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian, created by the master Basil Poledouris? (check out another great soundtrack of him, “Flesh and Blood”, a film set in Europe of the beginning of 1500 a.y.p.s. with a lot of swords as well). Surely it is a little bit inspired by Carl Orff´s “Carmina Burana”, but really no more words are needed here. Just mention that a big part of the feeling epic, of the atmosphere of the film truly is owed to the work of Basil. And this masterpiece still remains an inspiration.
A bit about Paganism and Religion of the film. Let´s take a look at a conversation between Conan and his brother in arms Subotai.Conan: “What gods do you pray to?”. Subotai: “I pray to the Four Winds. And you?” Conan: “To Crom. But I seldom pray to him. He doesn´t listen”. Subotai: “What god is he then?”. Conan: “To Crom. But I seldom pray to him. He doesn´t listen”. Subotai: “What good is he then? It´s just as I´ve always said”. Conan: “He´s strong. If I die, I have to go before him and he will ask, what´s the rule of steel? If I don´t know it, he will cast me away from Walhalla. That´s Crom, strong in his mountain.”. Subotai: “My god is greater.”. Conan: “Crom laughs from his mountain at your Four Winds.”. Subotai: “My god is stronger. He is the everlasting sky. Crom lives underneath him”. Yes, Crom is a distant god, away in his mountain. Conan is from Cimmeria, “land of Darkness and deep Night” (Howard), so Crom is the right god of the cimmerian people. Well, anyway Crom loves the valour, the courage of a warrior, and he sometimes helps him in a unequal fight... On the other side, Thulsa Doom and his hateful serpents - he adores false and perfidious Set... Set eliminates all the freedom and identity of the people by his enchantments and drugs, and they become slaves of him.
Before ending I would like to speak a little bit about the places where the film was shot. Most of them were shot in Spain, concretely in Almeria and Cuenca. Impressive and beautiful natural landscapes... All my father family are from Cuenca so I have visited some of them fortunately, for example, the places where the final battle against Thulsa Doom hordes or the meet with the witch were shot. They are located in the “Enchantment City” o “Ciudad Encantada” in Spanish. If you have a chance to visit them, don´t have any doubt...
Conan el Bárbaro
Well, we arrive to the end of this article. And my words are not enough to describe properly that feeling sorrounds this film, so I use again a well-known dialogue extracted from it. Speaks for itself. “What is the best in life?”. Warrior: “The open steppe. Fleet horses. Falcons at your wrist and the wind in your hair.”. Leader:” Bad! Conan, what is the best in life?”. Conan: “To crush your enenemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of his women.”. Leader: “That is good”. If I am not wrong really these words are from the mighty conqueror Genghis Khan.
But sorry... My favourite one is from Valeria dressed like a valkyria: “Do you want to live forever?”...
This article was originally written for the official Graveland website [here]
: Website: www.conan.com :
: Written by Skelos :
: Type of article: Other articles :
: Publishing date: 26.03.2010 :
 
 
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