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Buck Rogers (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 11 April 1939 (USA)
A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane.

Writers:

Norman S. Hall (screenplay) (as Norman Hall), Ray Trampe (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Directors: Ford Beebe, Saul A. Goodkind
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Cast

Cast overview:
Buster Crabbe ... Buck Rogers (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
Constance Moore ... Wilma Deering
Jackie Moran ... George 'Buddy' Wade
Jack Mulhall ... Captain Rankin
Anthony Warde ... Killer Kane
Philson Ahn Philson Ahn ... Prince Tallen
C. Montague Shaw ... Professor Huer
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... Aldar
William Gould ... Air Marshal Kragg
Henry Brandon ... Captain Laska
Wheeler Oakman ... Lieutenant Patten
Kenne Duncan ... Lieutenant Lacy (as Kenneth Duncan)
Carleton Young ... Scott
Reed Howes ... Captain Roberts
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Storyline

A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

12 AMAZING THRILL-THRONGED CHAPTERS! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buck Rogers Conquers the Universe See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Chapter Titles:
  • 1. Tomorrow's World
  • 2. Tragedy on Saturn
  • 3. The Enemy's Stronghold
  • 4. The Sky Patrol
  • 5. The Phantom Plane
  • 6. The Unknown Command
  • 7. Primitive Urge
  • 8. Revolt of the Zuggs
  • 9. Bodies Without Minds
  • 10. Broken Barriers
  • 11. A Prince in Bondage
  • 12. War of the Planets
See more »

Goofs

Narrative cheating: In the cliffhanger ending of Chapter Nine, Buddy Wade is shot down (and presumably killed) with a ray gun while trying to escape from Killer Kane's men. This scene is replayed at the beginning of Chapter Ten, but with a blatantly different resolution: Buddy escapes by diving out of a window, as if his earlier shooting had never happened. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Control Officer: Westmore Observatory calling dirigible Chandril. Westmore Observatory calling dirigible Chandril.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are displayed on a kaleidoscope background. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Right Stuff (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Some of the music cues originally were composed for the following films:
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) music composed by Franz Waxman
Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935) composed by Edward Ward
Werewolf of London (1935) composed by Karl Hajos
Dracula's Daughter (1936) composed by Heinz Roemheld
Great Expectations (1934) composed by Edward Ward
The Invisible Man (1933) composed by Heinz Roemheld
Bombay Mail (1934) composed by Heinz Roemheld
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Do You Really Want Saturn' s Help after They Show You They Cannot Do Anything Right?
16 July 2009 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Foreward...In a film made decades ago a fearless fighter and his young protégé are out fighting evil in 1939 when their zeppelin lands and freezes in snow-covered mountains. There the two bodies rest in a state of suspended life due to a newly invented gas thus preserving life for centuries. in the 25th century these two bodies are found, life is restored, and Buck Rogers and his faithful sidekick Buddy wade join forces of the Hidden City as it fights for its life again the cruel killer wade and his evil forces of reckless racketeers. That is in a nutshell the premise behind this serial and its not entirely a bad one. The story definitely has some strong aspects to it and we get to see some inventive science fiction as well, but Buck Rogers is NOT Flash Gordon nor is it ever really close to that. First of all let's see what we do have in common: a basic story that pits the few good against the evil majority, a fearless, indestructible hero both played by Larry Buster Crabbe, an evil villain bent on world and extra-world domination, and cheesy special effects. The major differences are not so much in the story but in its execution. Flash Gordon was a big budget affair compared to this. Here the sets look so much cheaper and the effects so much, well...cheaper. The acting too is excruciatingly bad as Crabbe is one of the best actors in the film, and that isn't saying too much as he says lines looking like a silent screen actor arching eyebrows, etc... Jackie Moran is the most fun as his sidekick Buddy, but everyone else ranges from acceptable(C. Montague Shaw as Professor Huer to terrible Anthony Warde as Killer Kane to one of the worst acting performances seen in a long time - Philson Ahn as Prince Tallen - boy he could use some presence. I wanted to pinch him to see if was really alive. The direction is crisp and their is only minimal use of flashback sequences, but the musical soundtrack really bothered me as Franz Waxman's score from The Bride of Frankenstein was repeatedly used throughout and used to ill-effect very often. Don't get me wrong - Buck Rogers is a fun serial. It has some cool action scenes, an inviting story, and cheesy effects like the spaceships sputtering about like a listless firecracker, but it is in no way close to Crabbe's previous serial Flash Gordon - perhaps the greatest serial ever made. One other note: Constance Moore playing Wilma Deering has virtually no personality and, as far as I recollect, is the only female in the entire production. Interesting.


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