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Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)

Approved | | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure | 9 April 1940 (USA)
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Flash Gordon (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
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...
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Sonja [Chs. 2, 6-12]
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Professor Gordon [Chs. 1, 4]
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Dr. Frohmann [Chs. 1, 4]
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Professor Arden [Chs. 1, 4]
Shirley Deane ...
...
...
Don Rowan ...
Victor Zimmerman ...
...
...
General Lupi [Chs. 1-2]
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Storyline

A mysterious plague, the Purple Death, ravages the earth. Dr. Zarkov, investigating in his spaceship, finds a ship from planet Mongo seeding the atmosphere with dust. Sure enough, Ming the Merciless is up to his old tricks. So it's back to Mongo for Flash, Dale, and Zarkov, this time with ready-made allies waiting: Prince Barin of Arboria and Queen Fria of the frozen northern land of Frigia; where, it so happens, is found polarite, antidote to the plague. But Ming will use all his forces to keep our heroes from thwarting his plans of conquest... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NEW THRILLS! NEW MARVELS! NEW WONDERS! in 12 NEW Dynamic Episodes See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon) and Shirley Deane (Princess Aura) died only three days apart: Crabbe on April 23, 1983 and Deane on April 26, 1983. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great to finally see one of the origins of Lucas/Spielberg's future visions!
9 April 2016 | by (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I love and have a great affinity for serials from the golden age of cinema, and this was definitely one of the better ones I have seen. Previously, I had really enjoyed Buster Crabbe's presence in the post-Weissmuller era of Tarzan, and I have had the DVD of Hodges' 1980 'Flash Gordon' for eons, but wanted to first get to the root of the phenomenon by checking out the serials. Fortunately, in purchasing a 50-film pack, 'Nightmare Worlds' from Mill Creek, it was included.

The 12 episodes of the 220-minute serial were well-edited into the fine flow that this version I saw had, and the special effects and production values were quite decent--you could tell it had been made both by a high-quality studio, in Universal, and by directors quite used to the serial format, in Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor.

There are some goofs (for example, when Ming's henchmen are looking at a mountainside for the four protagonists, and five are shown), but it's action-packed, with interestingly stylized wipe-edits, and I can see how it later influenced the likes of both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

As well, it's very interesting how the filmmakers were subtly able to use the film to offer social commentary to the growing Nazi/Fascist movements worldwide that were wreaking havoc across the globe in the Axis of Evil. Heartily recommended to anyone who enjoys the fun side of cinema.


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