As near as I can figure, this is an original "Flash Gordon" serial from the thirties, edited into a feature length film for television. I discovered this on a DVD in the bargain bin at a local pharmacy, and was delighted, I watched the serials in their uncut form on WPIX New York almost 40 years ago, and have long wanted another look.
The editing down results in a crazy faced-paced narrative that 21st century viewers will probably find particularly enjoyable. It just races from one wild plot point to the next-- the tournament of death, the invisibility ray, the atomic furnaces... it never ever stands still.
Considering the far-out plot, and ridiculous dialog, the acting is pretty good. Charles Middleton is especially effective as Ming the Merciless, completely deadpan in his interpretation.
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