Flash Gordon (1936): Chapters 8-10

Flash Gordon (1936)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Richard Alexander as Prince Barin
Jack ‘Tiny’ Lipson as King Vultan
Theodore Lorch as High Priest #2
James Pierce as Prince Thun

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Frederick Stephani, Ella O’Neill,
George H. Plympton & Basil Dickey
Directed by Frederick Stephani

Chapter 8: Tournament of Death
Chapter 9: Fighting the Fire Dragon
Chapter 10: The Unseen Peril

Plot: As King Vultan and the Hawkmen see their alliance with Ming coming to an end and a new allegiance towards Flash and his friends, new dangers await our hero. First, Flash must battle the orangopoid and then has his memory erased by Princess Aura as Ming continues to lust after Dale.     

Richard’s Review: As with all chapter serials, there reaches a point where the action seems to slow down and the main villain tends to disappear from the main storyline. So it’s no surprise that Ming was absent for a while before returning to take center stage again. I’m not sure how much help Prince Barin really is but it’s nice to see King Vultan become an ally as Flash certainly needed some more powerful friends. Definitely a lot to love with this classic sci-fi adventure.  

Karla’s Thoughts: Wow, that orangopoid was…interesting. The special effects continue to be interesting but the story is moving along at a fun pace. Flash is always getting into a fight with the bad guys but Ming just doesn’t seem that menacing to me. And oh no, it’s the return of the giant lizard dragon creature. Princess Aura continues to be evil while Dale continues to scream and be so naïve. However, I’m still having lots of fun with it all. 

Trivia:

  • Theodore Lorch starred in 171 films, including The Last of the Mohicans (1920) with a young Boris Karloff and numerous Three Stooges shorts, including Half-Wits Holiday (1947), the last short subject to feature Curley Howard in a lead role.
  • Ray Corrigan appeared as the orangopoid, which was essentially a gorilla costume with a horn on its head, foreshadowing the Mugato from Star Trek decades later. Ray spent the better part of his career under a mask, playing roles in such films as Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), The Ape (1940) with Boris Karloff, The Strange Case of Dr. Rx (1942) with Lionel Atwill, Dr. Renault’s Secret (1942) with J. Carroll Naish, Bela Lugosi Meets the Brooklyn Gorilla (1952) and his final film, It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958). After retiring, he ran Corriganville, a ranch that was used for films and TV series. He sold the property to Bob Hope in 1965. Part of the land was turned into a housing subdivision called Hopetown, with several fires in the 70s, including the last in 1979, destroying the remaining parts of the ranch. Corrigan died in 1976 at age 74.  

Availability: Flash Gordon is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or watch it on YouTube for free!

Next week…chapters 11, 12 and 13!

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