REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (1936)

CAST
Buster Crabbe (Buck Rogers 1939)
Jean Rogers (Brigham Young)
Charles Middleton (Dick Tracy Returns)
Priscilla Lawson (The Girl of the Golden West)
Frank Shannon (Batman 1943)

Chapters

1.The Planet of Peril
The planet Mongo is on a collision course with Earth. Dr. Alexis Zarkov takes off in a rocket ship to Mongo, with Flash Gordon and Dale Arden as his assistants. They find that the planet is ruled by the cruel Emperor Ming, who lusts after Dale and sends Flash to fight in the arena. Ming’s daughter, Princess Aura, tries to spare Flash’s life.

2.The Tunnel of Terror
Aura helps Flash to escape as Zarkov is put to work in Ming’s laboratory and Dale is prepared for her wedding to Ming. Flash meets Prince Thun, leader of the Lion Men, and the pair return to the palace to rescue Dale.
 
3.Captured by Shark Men
Flash stops the wedding ceremony, but he and Dale are captured by King Kala, ruler of the Shark Men and a loyal follower of Ming. At Ming’s order, Kala forces Flash to fight with a giant octosak in a chamber filling with water.
 
4.Battling the Sea Beast
Aura and Thun rescue Flash from the octosak. Trying to keep Flash away from Dale, Aura destroys the mechanisms that regulate the underwater city.
5.The Destroying Ray
Flash, Dale, Aura and Thun escape from the underwater city, but are captured by King Vultan and the Hawkmen. Dr. Zarkov befriends Prince Barin, and they race to the rescue.
 
6.Flaming Torture
Dale pretends to fall in love with King Vultan in order to save Flash, Barin and Thun, who are put to work in the Hawkmen’s Atom Furnaces.
 
7.Shattering Doom
Flash, Barin, Thun and Zarkov create an explosion in the atomic furnaces.
8.Tournament of Death
Dr. Zarkov saves the Hawkmen’s city from falling, earning Flash and his friends King Vultan’s gratitude. Ming insists that Flash fight a Tournament of Death against a masked opponent, revealed to be Barin, and then a vicious orangopoid.
 
9.Fighting the Fire Dragon
Flash survives the tournament with Aura’s help, after she discovers the weak point of the orangopoid. Still determined to win Flash, Aura has him drugged to make him lose his memory.
 
10.The Unseen Peril
Flash recovers his memory. Ming is determined to have Flash executed.
 
11.In the Claws of the Tigron
Zarkov invents a machine that makes Flash invisible. Flash torments Ming and his guards. Barin hides Dale in the catacombs, but Aura has her tracked by a tigron.
12.Trapped in the Turret
Aura realizes the error of her ways, and falls in love with Barin. She tries to help Flash and his friends to return to Earth — but Ming plots to kill them.
13.Rocketing to Earth
Ming orders that the Earth people be caught and killed, but Flash and his friends escape from the Emperor’s clutches, and Ming is apparently killed in the flames of the “sacred temple of the Great God Tao”. Flash, Dale and Zarkov make a triumphant return to Earth
This serial might not interest children today with its hokey effects – oh, that spaceship! – but it’s a fun bit of nostalgia for those who liked it the first time around or those that have an interest in comic books and film . The actors play it straight and don’t play down to kids.
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