Tuesday, January 7, 2014

VIDEO: FLASH GORDON: Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe

Here's an entire Flash Gordon serialized, 12 episode storyline, "Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe" ready for you to explore. The original title didn't include "Space Soldiers" when it was in theaters--that was added when the serials were strung together for television broadcast in the 1950s, so as to avoid direct competition with the Steve Holland version.

 Plot synopsis, per Wikipedia:
A deadly plague is ravaging the Earth, known as the Purple Death because of the spot left on victims' foreheads. Ming the Merciless is suspected to be behind the plague and it is discovered that his spaceships have been dropping "Death Dust" in the Earth's atmosphere. Flash Gordon, along with Dr. Alexis Zarkov and Dale Arden, is sent to the planet Mongo to find a possible cure for the plague. They eventually find an antidote, called polarite in the Kingdom of Frigia. Flash and Zarkov distribute the antidote the same way the original Death Dust was spread. Ming sends an army of robot bombs after the three and he succeeds in capturing Zarkov for a short time before Flash frees him.

The trio continue to battle Ming and his allies. Ming's Captain Torch is the "head villain" of this serial. He is in charge of stopping the Earthlings.

Before Flash and his team leaves, they kill Ming by locking him in a tower and crashing a rocket ship loaded with Solarite into it. Prince Barin takes his rightful place as ruler of Mongo. Ming's last words are "I am the universe!". Zarkov announces that Flash Gordon has conquered the universe.
  • The Purple Death
  • Freezing Torture
  • Walking Bombs
  • The Destroying Ray
  • The Palace of Peril
  • Flaming Death
  • Land of the Dead
  • The Fiery Abyss
  • The Pool of Peril
  • The Death Mist
  • Stark Treachery
  • Doom of the Dictator
Main Cast
  • Flash Gordon - Buster Crabbe, Olypic Gold Medal winner of the 1932 games (he also played Buck Rogers in early serials)
  • Dale Arden - Carol Hughes
  • Dr. Alexis Zarkov - Frank Shannon (Notice it's not "Hans" Zarkov as in the comics and other film/TV depictions)
  • Ming the Merciless - Charles B. Middleton
This was the first exposure I ever had to Flash Gordon, via my late father who grew up catching them in movie theaters as a kid. I've always thought those rockets sounded like Remington electric razors on overload.

Its exciting to see how far Flash has come and how deeply the tropes came to be ingrained in today's science fiction and fantasy. Seems like a lot of today's media is overly self-referential and snarky. It's heartening to know that there was once a time when this was all fresh and innocent.

These vintage serials are pure pulp space adventure in all it's original glory!

Check out the IMDB listing for more.


No comments:

Post a Comment