ⓘ The Tartars


ⓘ The Tartars

The Tartars / I Tartari is a 1961 Italian/Yugoslavian international co-production Technicolor film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Victor Mature and Orson Welles.


1. Plot

In what is now Russia, a settlement of Vikings lives in peace with both the Tatars and the Slavs. All is well until Togrul Folco Lulli, a Tatar chief seeks the help of Oleg Victor Mature, the chief of the Vikings to war on the Slavs in a surprise attack. Oleg refuses and the group does battle ending with Oleg killing Togrul and abducting Togruls daughter Samia as a hostage.

Togruls brother Burundai Orson Welles is furious and wishes the Viking settlement burnt to the ground. His high priest, Ciu Lang Arnoldo Foà, reminds Burundai that Samia is promised to the leader of the Tatars as his wife; her safety and return has a higher priority than Burundais revenge. Burundai gets his chance to retrieve Samia when a Viking longship is attacked, resulting in the capture of Olegs wife Helga Liana Orfei and her handmaidens. Burundai initially promises to treat Helga well as an exchange for Samia but tortures Helgas handmaidens to discover the strength of the Vikings. He also rapes Helga and gives her to his men for their further pleasure prior to exchanging her for Samia. Meanwhile, Samia has fallen in love with Olegs brother Eric Luciano Marin and is pregnant with Erics child.


2. Cast

  • Bella Cortez as Samia
  • Liana Orfei as Helga
  • Victor Mature as Oleg
  • Orson Welles as Burundai
  • Furio Meniconi as Sigrun
  • Arnoldo Foà as Ciu Lang
  • Luciano Marin as Eric
  • Folco Lulli as Togrul

3. Reception

Box office

According to MGM records the film made a profit of $34.000.


Orson Welles enunciation has been praised while Victor Mature has been considered a miscast for not having the looks of an archetypal Viking.