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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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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 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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 opening music for the episodes as well as some of the music for the action scenes are excerpts from the classical work "Symphonic Poem, Les Preludes", by Franz Liszt. In Chapter One Richard Wagner's "Good Friday Prelude" to "Parsifal" is used. See more »

Goofs

When Flash is "underwater" fighting the octopus, his hair and clothes 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

Featured in These Amazing Shadows (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Not-so-guilty pleasure
9 December 2002 | by John O'GradySee all my reviews

Universal put out three Flash Gordon chapter plays, in 1936, 1938

and 1940; but despite the larger budgets of the latter two, the first

is the by far the most fun; its successors are pale in comparison,

although the Clay People of Series II are certainly worth while. I

loved the 1936 serial dearly when I was five years old, seeing it on

TV; and I still retain a good deal of affection for it, even now when I

am old enough to be aware of the cardboard sets, ridiculous

dialogue and frequent lapses of taste. Who cares? Flash's

adventures have nothing to do with outer space and are largely

medieval, as this 1930s art deco Siegfried battles shark men,

hawk men, and cheesy rubber dragons. Buster Crabbe is ideal,

and Charles Middleton positively believes he IS Ming the

Merciless. Then there is Princess Aura. I don't know about the rest

of you male types out there, but if I were Flash I would have

dumped Dale for Priscilla Lawson's voluptuous princess by

Episode Two. Besides the perfectly obvious fact that she would be

vastly more fun in bed, consider: When Flash is in horrible danger,

what does Dale do? She faints, or gets hypnotised. Aura,

meanwhile, has swiped a rocket ship, bribed the guards, found a

cache of weapons, and is actively doing her best to rescue the

guy. She saves Flash's butt from certain horrible death about every

other episode, but does the big lunk appreciate it? Oh well. Even

when I was five I was dimly aware that there was some reason I

wanted her to take me home with her... and above all, there's

Frank Shannon's Zarkov. "You are a remarkable man. I can use

you" says Emperor Ming; and what Zarkov doesn't say, but is

clearly thinking, is: "and I can use a blithering mad emperor with

unlimited power and a fantastic laboratory"! My favorite dialogue in

the whole serial comes in Episode One. Zarkov and Flash have

just met, and Zarkov explains that the Earth's only hope of survival

is his home built rocket ship. "Sure this thing will work?" asks

Flash, after they've come aboard. "I've experimented with models"

Zarkov replies. "Ah," responds Flash; "They ever come back?" With

perfect equanimity Zarkov says "They weren't supposed to." Now,

there's a REAL Mad Scientist after my own heart! Zarkov routinely

invents the impossible on five minutes notice, from invisibility rays

to anti-gravitons. The whole thing is so absurd it's magnificent, so

hokey it's colossal. It's for the precocious five-year-old in us all.


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