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Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  21 March 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 622 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 6 critic

When a deadly ray strikes Earth, Flash and his friends return to space to battle Ming the Merciless and his ally the queen of Mars.


, (as Robert Hill) , 1 more credit »


(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay), 7 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Rogers ...
Frank Shannon ...
Beatrice Roberts ...
Donald Kerr ...
Richard Alexander ...
C. Montague Shaw ...
Clay King (as Montague Shaw)
Wheeler Oakman ...
Airdrome Captain (as Kenneth Duncan)
Warner Richmond ...
Bomber Captain [Chs. 4-5, 13]
Flight Commander [Chs. 2-3]
Ben Lewis ...
Professor [Ch. 1]


Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov return from their former space adventures only to find that their enemy, Ming the Merciless of planet Mongo, has a new weapon: a deadly ray that crosses space to wreak havoc on earth. Earth's only hope is for our heroes to take off again and stop the ray at its source on Mars, where they (and a stowaway) must battle Ming's ally, Queen Azura, who turns her enemies into lumpish clay people. Can they survive 15 chapters of deadly perils? Find out next week... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


15 STARTLING CHAPTERS OF FURTHER ADVENTURES ON A NEW PLANET! (original-release posters) See more »






Release Date:

21 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the stock footage from Flash Gordon (1936), shown in this film, as Flash is telling The Clay People about his previous encounter with Emperor Ming, Ming is bald and Dale Arden has blond hair. In this sequel, Ming has "pasted on" hair and Dale is a brunette. It has been reported that Jean Rogers (Dale Arden) had many other film roles pending at that time (1938) which had called for her to portray a brunette. See more »


In one scene where Queen Azura vanishes, you can see her run before the flash powder used for the effect ignites. See more »


Emperor Ming: Take him to the Disintegrating Room.
See more »


Referenced in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) See more »


Romeo and Juliet Overture
(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
Heard in episodes 1 to 3 to introduce various characters
See more »

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User Reviews

Great escapism; not quite as good as the 1st "Flash" serial
15 April 2002 | by (Madison, WI) – See all my reviews

Some of my reactions to Flash Gordon serials (such as this one) are similar to my feelings about the original Star Trek series. I revel in the swashbuckling fun and the intensity of the experience. I marvel at the ingenious and original sci-fi elements, while chuckling at some of the increasingly dated technology and special effects. I roll my eyes at some of the overacting while secretly cherishing it. I question the plausibility of some of the plot elements, and wince at some of the social commentary that hasn't aged particularly well.

In Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, many of the actors from the first serial return in their memorable roles. In particular, Buster Crabbe (Flash) and Charles Middleton (Ming) portray their characters with a great deal of flair. Jean Rogers (Dale Arden) seems more subdued and less memorable than in her previous outing. (This may reflect my disapproval of her transformation from a blonde to a short-haired brunette and her censor-demanded, conservative garb!) The new comic-relief journalist character (not present in the original comic strip), "Happy" Hapgood, seems to be a bit of a miscalculation, but his role falls far short of "Jar-Jar" level distraction.

The storyline is interesting, although things do drag a bit during the second half of the serial. The plot is primarily action-driven; the romantic story angles that percolated through the first series are virtually absent here. Although the world of Mars is not as diverse as Mongo's (Lionmen, Sharkmen, Hawkmen), the Clay People are a sad and interesting race. The acting and special effects both seem somewhat more polished than in the first serial. Although in one sense this is an improvement, it also removes some of the quirky fun. Overall, this is an enjoyable and memorable serial that fans of old sci-fi will want to seek out.

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