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Flash Gordon (1936)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 6 April 1936 (USA)
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Alexis Zarkov visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has set his planet on a collision course with Earth.

Directors:

Frederick Stephani, Ray Taylor (uncredited)

Writers:

Alex Raymond (based on the comic strip by), Frederick Stephani (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Buster Crabbe ... Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers ... Dale Arden
Charles Middleton ... Ming the Merciless
Priscilla Lawson ... Princess Aura
Frank Shannon ... Dr. Alexis Zarkov
Richard Alexander ... Prince Barin [Chs. 5-13]
Jack 'Tiny' Lipson Jack 'Tiny' Lipson ... King Vultan [Chs. 5-13]
Theodore Lorch ... High Priest #2 [Chs. 8-11, 13]
Richard Tucker ... Professor Gordon
George Cleveland ... Professor Hensley
James Pierce ... Prince Thun [Chs. 2-9, 12-13]
Duke York ... King Kala [Chs. 2-5] (as Duke York Jr.)
Muriel Goodspeed Muriel Goodspeed ... Zona [Ch. 4]
Earl Askam Earl Askam ... Officer Torch
House Peters Jr. ... Shark Man [Chs. 3-4]
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Storyline

A rogue planet is 'rushing madly toward the earth.' Impending doom creates worldwide pandemonium. But maverick scientist Dr. Zarkov hopes to stay disaster by travelling to the new planet in his experimental rocket. Two chance-met strangers, athletic Flash Gordon and damsel in distress Dale Arden, go with him. Arrived, the trio find Mongo to be a planet of wonders, warring factions, and deadly perils, its orbit controlled by Emperor Ming who has his own sinister plans for earth. Can our heroes, armed only with science and sex appeal, stop him? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE FIRST GREAT SERIAL SPECTACLE! ...Fom Alex Raymond's Famous Newspaper Strip! (original Chapter 9 one-sheet poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$360,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(13 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The rocket was originally constructed for the 1930 sci-fi comedy Just Imagine (1930). That film was also the source of a brief scene of dancing girls swarming over an idol with moving arms, which Ming views over a TV screen. See more »

Goofs

When Flash first enters the shark men's craft he and Dale are soaked from being in the water. However, in the next shot they are completely dry. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Professor Hensley: We are doomed, Professor Gordon. That planet is rushing madly toward the Earth and no human power can stop it.
See more »

Connections

Version of Flash Gordon (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Les Preludes
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Liszt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
My favourite serial so far---this one has everything
30 July 2005 | by Travis_MoranSee all my reviews

My friend gives me these 3 huge boxes. "They're laserdiscs of Flash Gordon serials," he says. "I'm gonna have some giant coasters," I say. But not so. This serial rocks. (But I had to whine & moan to almost everyone I knew to find a laserdisc player for em).

There is really a little of everything in this serial: There are lion-men, hawk-men, shark-men, Earthmen, & I guess you'd call em Mongo-men. The sets & costumes combine, Greek, Roman, Oriental, Egyptian and there's even armour like English knights. Awesome costumes. And some of it was a riot. Those horrible tights with shorts over em worn by Zarkov are beyond description. And the guys in the furnace scene seem to be wearing boxers.

It's also funny the way they renamed the octopus to an octosack, the orangutan to orangapoid, and the tiger to a tigron. There's even a dragon (a Godzilla-like creature who threatens Flash on a couple of occasions before being killed off).

You like the Invisible Man? This has got you covered. You like sword fights, wrestling (both animals & men), fist fights? Plenty for any taste. We have an underwater city, a sky city, a city on top of a mountain, and tonnes of secret passages and caves.

Hokey effects? Massive amounts. The sky city is supported by radium furnaces stoked like old-time steamships. The rocketships are "powered" by fireworks and have constant backfires and/or humming noises. Lots of wires are visible holding things up (like food when Flash was invisible and of course rocketships). There's clouds out in space, but none around the earth when viewed from Mongo. "Giant" lizards show up briefly. Fighting sea creatures supposedly threaten Flash & co. on the way to the shark-men's underwater city. The "gadgets" in Dr. Zarkov's lab crack me up. And they seem to be the same ones no matter what lab he's in (he worked in Ming's lab and Vultan's).

And yeah, we have romance. Everyone wants Dale; Ming, Vultan, Flash. But at least one person wanted Princess Aura (Prince Baron) just not the person she would have preferred. In fact, it seems a lot of the sub-plots concern intrigue on the part of Princess Aura to try to win Flash.

Man I think the characters are awesome. That fat, horse-laughing, King Vultan was hilarious. How he managed those wings was pure artistry. And Ming! What can I say about Ming? He was perfect. They should have had him for the emperor in Starwars. Ming has got to be my favourite character in this serial. Princess Aura was quite a little character too. And she pulled it off nicely. I think she's a better actress than Dale Arden by a long shot. Even the sneaky high priest had a distinctive role. Zarkov was good, but not the strongest character---and he always stood in the background during fight scenes holding Dale. Now we get to Flash: Flash, of course, was the strong point, the leader, the hero---and he did it well. Crabbe is a good actor and this role fit him perfectly.

After watching this, I think I know where George Lucas got the main idea for Starwars. Watch this, you'll see what I mean.

If you ever considered watching an old serial (or any serial for that matter), this should be your first choice. The only reason I didn't give this one a 10 is because of a few story holes that could have been fixed easily, the way the giant lizards seemed just tacked in there, and a couple of weak characters (king of shark-men & king of lion-men).


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