Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe
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- Never-before-seen interview with Buster Crabbe
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Top Customer Reviews
It's with the clouded judgement of long ago nostalgia that has me loving every minute of the `Flash Gordon' DVDs, they are a true guilty pleasure with their yogurt-carton-with-fins spaceships, actors hamming it up with terrible line delivery and preposterous plots.
Yet for all their faults, these shows are nicely packaged slices of fun that will still imbue wonder in kids for generations to come. Their appeal is timeless to the young and young at heart. It's revealing to their appeal that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both envisioned the Indiana Jones franchise as a modern version of the Saturday matinee serials.
Of all the Flash Gordon serials this one - the third - is the one I remember the most from my childhood with Buster Crabbe being joined by Carol Hughes as Dale Arden (replacing Jean Rogers) and Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless.
The serial begins with a spaceship from the planet Mongo spreading a lethal purple dust into the atmosphere of Earth. Its up to Buck Rogers along with Dale and Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) along with friend and ally Prince Barin of Arboria (Roland Drew) to travel to the frozen land of Frigia to recover the antidote for the Purple Death.
Coming short on the heels of Errol Flynn's `Adventures of Robin Hood' the influences of the successful classic are clearly evident in this serial.Read more ›
The character of Flash, himself, is a bit mellower maybe. In the first chapter, he's often restrained by Zarkov from impetuous action, and there's less of that this time around. And Emporer Ming while still intent on destroying the Earth seems to, when things are going his way, be much more interested in watching his favorite dancing girl perform than in anything else. Unfortunately for him, our hero Flash keeps distracting him from his fun.
Another key figure this time around is Sonja, the ice princess, and is she ever the ultimate ice princess!
Also notable is the use of Liszt's "Les Preludes" as background music. Combined with the noisy rocketships, the music adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the action.
The Flash Gordon serials are absolute fun to watch, and better watched one chapter at a time.
Although all three are available to the homemarket, the latter is perhaps the most readily so, and there are numerous VHS and DVD editions. Most of these are "budget"--and in most cases the term is indicative; you will find that fuzzy pictures, poor sound, and zero bonuses are the norm. At present, the VCI edition is probably the best available; although it shows the ravages of time, the picture is fairly stable, the sound is at least reasonable, and it does offer a few bonuses.
Like most serials, the story is very basic. A strange plauge has visited the earth--an illness that leaves a single purple dot on the foreheads of its victims. Flash, Dale Arden (Carol Hughes), and Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) take to their space ship to investigate the matter and discover that the disease is being spread by a spaceship sent by Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton) from the planet Mongo. Needless to say, they rush off to Mongo to put a stop to it.
The great thing about the Flash Gordon serials is their look, which is very, very strange indeed. The special effects are very much 1930s science-fiction pulp, with sputtering spacecraft shaped rather like outsized hypodermic needles, peculiar-looking robots with angular faces, and all the rest.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent - Brought back some very young memories. Saturdays at the movies and the next chapterPublished 3 months ago by Joe Dean
Last night I watched this serial. It was a great deal of fun. This is a Universal Studios serial. Both the picture and sound quality was excellent and the story line kept you... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gary Gilfoy
Hopefully this will be the release to beat all others , the cover indicates many extras.Published 10 months ago by neil
Not very good quality. The DVD's freeze up and won't continue in spots. I was very disappointed and wouldn't recommend it.Published on November 21, 2013 by Christy Harrison
This is the third of the three Flash Gordon serials and was released in 1940. This is the complete serial in all its chapter after chapter glory. Read morePublished on May 21, 2013 by Dennis S. Johnson
Lots of action , drama, excitement, great characters, and plots, I'd recommend this movie, to anyone looking for someone who enjoys cliff hangers.Published on April 17, 2013 by jtc
This is a great old TV series and certainly an asset to my vast collection. I expected digitally mastered though and quality is far less than I thought it would be. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Sandi