Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Matinee: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, Chapter One

Because I took two weeks off, I'm going to make it up to you by doubling up for two weeks.

Say hello to Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, the third and final installment in Universal's series. This one sees Flash return to Mongo after visiting Mars in the second serial.

That serial was based on the "Big Little Book" Flash Gordon and the Witch Queen of Mongo. But according to Jim Harmon and Donald Glut's The Great Movie Serials, the producers changed the locale when Orson Welles' terror-inducing radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds made the red planet the more valuable pop culture real estate. And so it became Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars.

But two years later, I guess, Mars had jumped the shark, so it was back to Mongo for the third go-around. Ming was back, too, despite having been disintegrated at the end of the last serial. You just can't keep a good villain down. Or apart.

This time, I'm presenting it complete. For one thing, it moves along a lot quicker than Undersea Kingdom. For another, as much as I enjoy editing, it was taking too much time for the number of viewers I was getting. So running-time-wise, I'm actually tripling up this week, as Chapter One runs a bit over twenty minutes.

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