Flash Gordon-12 Episodes [VHS]
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Product Description

A strange purple dust is killing off the population of Earth, leaving a telltale purple smudge on the foreheads of its victims! Together, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov trace the plague to the planet Mongo and archfiend Ming the Merciless! There's hope for the Earth, though, when the intrepid team discovers Polarite, the antidote to the pandemic, found only in the barren, cold reaches of Frigia. This collection of Flash Gordon serials finds Buster Crabbe teamed up with a different Dale Arden, but facing the usual array of strange creatures and spellbinding thrills. It's worth noting that Mongo looks a lot like Sherwood Forest, with its natives toting bows and arrows and wearing Robin Hood outfits. These installments of the series are unusually inventive, such as the scenes when Flash and company travel to the frozen wastelands of Frigia. The encounters with the Rock People and the "walking bombs" are also rather bizarre, even by today's standards. There's even a topical note to the story line, with a madman bent on genocide; the real-life people of Earth would face just such a threat a few short years later. It's the slam-bang pace and two-fisted action of Flash Gordon's adventures that kept audiences spellbound in the '30s, though, and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe certainly gave them their money's worth. --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews:

  • A Seminal Serial Character In His Final Adventure
    Perhaps the best known of Hollywood serial characters, Flash Gordon is the iconographic 1930s American male: athletic, courageous, smart, blond with a handsome face and winning smile. As played by Olympic athlet Buster Crabbe, he would be the focus of three serials: SPACE SOLIDERS (1936), FLASH GORDON'S TRIP TO MARS (1938), and FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (1940.)

    Although all three are available to the homemarket, the latter is perhaps the most readily so, and there are numerous VHS and DVD editions. Most of these are "budget"--and in most cases the term is indicative; you will find that fuzzy pictures, poor sound, and zero bonuses are the norm. At present, the VCI edition is probably the best available; although it shows the ravages of time, the picture is fairly stable, the sound is at least reasonable, and it does offer a few bonuses.

    Like most serials, the story is very basic. A strange plauge has visited the earth--an illness that leaves a single purple dot on the foreheads of its victims. Flash, Dale Arden (Carol Hughes), and Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) take to their space ship to investigate the matter and discover that the disease is being spread by a spaceship sent by Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton) from the planet Mongo. Needless to say, they rush off to Mongo to put a stop to it.

    The great thing about the Flash Gordon serials is their look, which is very, very strange indeed. The special effects are very much 1930s science-fiction pulp, with sputtering spacecraft shaped rather like outsized hypodermic needles, peculiar-looking robots with angular faces, and all the rest. The sets and costumes add a great deal more to the film's truly bizarre look; apparently Mongo is a strange cross between Sherwood forrest, Imperial Russia, and some sort of Asian Art Deco Hell; all the men wear tights (whether they look good in them or not) and they are as handy with bow and arrow and sword as they are with ray guns.

    Although a seminal figure in Hollywood serials, the Flash Gordon films were bested by a number of other serials, most notably by THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, SPY SMASHER, and THE CRIMSON GHOST, to name but a few. But in their strange mishmash of American gung-ho, pulp science fiction, and bizarre Hollywood conceptualization, they remain entertaining--and FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE is really the best of the three. It is also, incidently, the installment upon which the cult satire FLESH GORDON was largely based. Recommended, but primarily for hardcore serial fans.

    GFT, Amazon Reviewer...more info
  • Flash back in technology & filmology
    I am 65 so I purchased this video as a flash back to the 50's when I watched the first runs on TV. This and Mr Wizzard likely played a roll in my becoming an engineer working on rockets and aircraft at MDC and Boeing....more info
  • Back to the Saturday Matinee
    This serial ran in theaters then was resurrected on television back in the 1950s. It disappeared and finally, thanks to DVDs, it has reappeared to be viewed in the comfort of ones home. The picture quality is very good, but not great. This does not deter from the fun of watching this dated but enjoyable serial. The one complaint I have is it is not clear how to navigate to the second half of the episodes. The episodes are divided into two halves, six at a time. It's a bit confusing finding how to get to the second six. Still, once you've got that down, it becomes a pleasure to watch Buster Crabbe work his way through all those cliff hanging episodes. The most fun is to simply watch one episode a night or week, then come back for more.
    It's a way to go back to the past and see just how silly some serials can be and still have a wonderful time watching!...more info
  • Save your money!!
    I bought this on DVD and expected a professional package I expect of any DVD package. Here's the news...terrible packaging, no extra features, no cinemascope so you can't even read the credits, the poorest quality I have seen and overall unwatchable product. I feel as if I was robbed of my money. The people that made this product wanted to sell you something but you will never buy anything else. I say wait for someone who cares to release these great serials....more info
  • flash gordon
    a good movie for someome who loves old serials i did enjoy it very much i like the old kind of space shipse in the move if you like it see the other two of the flash gordon to as well...more info
  • Flash Gordon Comments on Society Would Be a Better Name!
    This is one of the America's great documents of the Great Depression! Although at first it appears to be merely an adventure serial from the 30's, the film has much more to offer. Flash Gordon gives one of celluloid's deepest, most complex characterizations, and the evil emporer Ming (a symbol of the government at the time) may seem to be a ruthless and colhearted villain, but deep down he's really just a fun-loving guy! The ending is triumphant and frightening, showing what could have happened as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This is a perfectly realized indictment of nuclear warfare and a beautiful but sad look at political corruption!!!...more info
  • Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers Conquor the Universe
    The three-star rating is not for the writing or production values, but for the nostalgic fun the adventure brings. This is only for fans of the series. A torchlight search amid glaciers is done well enough to belong in a better movie, but such things as sputtering spaceships and the unintentionally funny "mechanical men" are what we really watch the twelve episodes for. Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless is a memorable villain without any discernable acting, and Buster Crabbe as always makes a credible, intelligent action hero....more info
  • Go get 'em Flash
    Flash Gordon is certainly the true precursor to "Star Wars." Image Entertainment is distributing four feature length titles edited down to about 90 minutes from the original four hour serial length. Zippy plots, lots of action, clever sets and surprisingly strong scripts do justice to "THE PERIL FROM OUTER SPACE," "THE PURPLE DEATH FROM OUTER SPACE," "SPACE SHIP TO THE UNKNOWN" and "THE DEADLY RAY FROM MARS."

    Good stuff that looks even better when cut down to the central plot. The action does not let up. See the whole series in order.

    Larry "Buster" Crabbe is charismatic and strangely beautiful as the lead in this beguiling comic book space opera from the late 30s.

    For die hard fans of this series, the full length, uncut serial "FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE" is also available....more info

  • Nice for the Price
    This DVD is nice for the price. The description says Region 1, but its region 0. The video and audio are about the same as others on the market, but the menus are well designed (very retro!) All 12 chapters are on one dual layered disc and the layer change doesn't interfere with the movie. There are no extras, but hey for the price, what do you expect?...more info
  • flash memories
    good price, cool video, Flash Gordon from the past. A must have if you grew up in the 50'-60's...more info
  • Relive your nostalgia with this classic serial
    Are you among those who sat and watched the matinee series like `Flash Gordon' or `Buck Rogers' on television growing up. Well I remember quite clearly sitting with my friends watching the faded, cheesy 1930s and `40s fare on British television and other instances when I would be home sick from school that I would find, flipping through the channels, some classic Saturday matinee fare playing on BBC2.
    It's with the clouded judgement of long ago nostalgia that has me loving every minute of the `Flash Gordon' DVDs, they are a true guilty pleasure with their yogurt-carton-with-fins spaceships, actors hamming it up with terrible line delivery and preposterous plots.
    Yet for all their faults, these shows are nicely packaged slices of fun that will still imbue wonder in kids for generations to come. Their appeal is timeless to the young and young at heart. It's revealing to their appeal that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both envisioned the Indiana Jones franchise as a modern version of the Saturday matinee serials.
    Of all the Flash Gordon serials this one - the third - is the one I remember the most from my childhood with Buster Crabbe being joined by Carol Hughes as Dale Arden (replacing Jean Rogers) and Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless.
    The serial begins with a spaceship from the planet Mongo spreading a lethal purple dust into the atmosphere of Earth. Its up to Buck Rogers along with Dale and Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) along with friend and ally Prince Barin of Arboria (Roland Drew) to travel to the frozen land of Frigia to recover the antidote for the Purple Death.
    Coming short on the heels of Errol Flynn's `Adventures of Robin Hood' the influences of the successful classic are clearly evident in this serial. We have Drew portraying Barin with a Flynn-type air and the Mongo population wearing outfits that would not have looked out of place in the Sherwood Forest of Flynn's production.
    This two-disc set also includes an interview with Buster Crabbe, Olympic footage of Crabbe winning the 1932 Gold Medal in the 400 meter swim, a photo gallery and three television commercials featuring the actor.
    For such a low price it really is a steal, it's a lot cheaper to relive your childhood this way than to take a trip to DisneyWorld and to get the entire 12-episodes for under $20 is better value than the more current series also coming out on DVD.
    The quality of the picture is middling at best, (no doubt as a result of age) but this strangely just enhances the nostalgic value of the set. For those who remember the serials from television presentations years ago the simple fact was that the serials were already old when we were young. ...more info
  • 1930s science fiction with funny hats
    This has to be some kind of archetype - the master plan from which generations of cheesy science fiction movies were drawn. It dates to the era when short-wave radio was gee-whiz technology, when heroes were handsome and Nordic looking, when women were for screaming and for being saved, and when special effects for ray-guns were scratched directly on the black&white film with a pin.

    It has everything: ray-guns that look like oilcans, arrows and swords, women on every mission (for the required ineffectual girlfight, since men couldn't hit women), and wobbly spaceships sputtering sparks. Almost everyone except the daring Flash wears a funny hat. Dale Arden, the lovely but useless heroine, has a pert cap with a meter-long plume, cemented to her head at a jaunty angle. Evil Emperor Ming alternates between jagged skullcap and a chapeau titled "Death of Ostriches." His minions, the witless ones seemingly outnumbered by the traitors, wear claustrophobic visors good for hiding the features of any would-be infiltrator. Heck, even the shovels have big fancy fins on them.

    Our heroes are brilliant strategists. When captured by the Rock Men, they escape using the clever tactic of running away, something their guards seem never to have anticipated.

    Perhaps it was meant more or less seriously at the time, but this can only be enjoyed for its campiness today. So be it - this is the finest, campiest sample of cheesy effects, gratuitous cliff-hangers, and bumbling fights you will ever see. Wait for a rainy Saturday, pop some extra popcorn, and sit back. This is goofy, black-and-white nostalgia at its finest.

    //wiredweird...more info
  • Excellent for the price
    This DVD is great for the price. The video and audio are comparable to other copies that I've seen (for over double the price). It's, also, nice to see all 12 episodes on one disc....more info
  • The REAL Flash Gordon
    The first and the third Flash Gordon serials represented, to me, the very best serials made. This one is the third. There are quite a few cast changes between the original and this serial. Notable switches are Carol Hughes replacing Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, Shirley Deane replacing Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura, and Roland Drew replacing Richard Alexander as Prince Baran. This last change is really noticeable because Drew gives the character a definite Errol Flynn twist. This was made two years after Flynn's ROBIN HOOD, and it shows. Carol Hughes portrays Dale Arden as a much more self sufficient woman than Jean Rogers did.

    The character of Flash, himself, is a bit mellower maybe. In the first chapter, he's often restrained by Zarkov from impetuous action, and there's less of that this time around. And Emporer Ming while still intent on destroying the Earth seems to, when things are going his way, be much more interested in watching his favorite dancing girl perform than in anything else. Unfortunately for him, our hero Flash keeps distracting him from his fun.

    Another key figure this time around is Sonja, the ice princess, and is she ever the ultimate ice princess!

    Also notable is the use of Liszt's "Les Preludes" as background music. Combined with the noisy rocketships, the music adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the action.

    The Flash Gordon serials are absolute fun to watch, and better watched one chapter at a time....more info