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Flash Gordon (1936)

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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1 win. See more awards »

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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 ... 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:

THRILLING STRANGE WORLD ADVENTURES!!! (original Chapter 1 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 rocket was originally constructed for the 1930 sci-fi comedy Just Imagine (1930). That film was also the source of a brief scene of dancing girls swarming over an idol with moving arms, which Ming views over a TV screen. See more »

Goofs

When some of the characters speak, the voice on the soundtrack doesn't match the person speaking. 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

Version of Flash Gordon (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Classic serial - hectic pace, silly wandering plots, great fun!
23 March 2007 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Buster Crabbe was a big, good-looking guy who could act. The Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s used several big guys (most of whom really weren't actors) to bring to life the characters of a serialized cartoon. This is the first series, and, some of the experts believe it is the best. I am not an expert on Flash Gordon or serials, but I know what I like, and this serial was more entertaining and enjoyable than other classics like Radar Men on the Moon and The Phantom Creeps.

Flash starts out as a young man on a plane who is preoccupied about the planet which is about to slam into the earth, destroying everything, and the very pretty girl sitting next to him (Jean Rogers). The passengers bail out and the plane crashes. Flash saves the girl and lands near a rocket ship designed to solve the interplanetary problem by a seemingly deranged but very brilliant scientist (Frank Shannon). And the adventures have just begun.

As the serial progresses, we meet Ming the Merciless - self-proclaimed Emperor of the Universe; an enormous jovial winged king with the attention span of a chickadee; an honorable and huge prince clad in Roman armor with a sword and a fleet of rocket ships; a conniving princess who wants to possess Flash, a despicable high priest, and a tribe of enslaved space hippies who Flash will eventually inspire to great deeds.

Some of the dialog is predictably corny, but overall, the stories are cleverly plotted, well edited and very well directed. The special effects are good for their time, and the costuming is terrific. There is a lot of action and a lot of dialog. Most of the acting is surprisingly good, but there are a few glaringly bad exceptions. These little problems don't really reduce the entertainment value of the films however.

There are no great philosophical points you can take home from these films, but they do exactly what they were intended to do quite well - they entertain and stimulate the imagination. Good enough for me!


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