Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938): Chapters 4-6

Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura
Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood
C. Montague Shaw as Clay King

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Ray Trampe, Norman S. Hall,
Wyndham Gittens & Herbert Dalmas
Directed by Ford Beebe

Chapter 4: Ancient Enemies
Chapter 5: The Boomerang
Chapter 6: Tree-men of Mars

Plot: As Flash and friends try to stop Ming’s plan of destroying the Earth, they discover more of the inhabitants of Mars, including the Tree-men. But are they friend or foe?

Richard’s Review: Unfortunately, the story is already beginning to drag a little, which is far too early for a 15-chapter adventure. I’ve enjoyed the Clay people and can see them turning at some point, much like the Hawkmen did in the original. I’m not really enjoying the Tree-men as they seem to be a lesser version of the Lion-men from the first story. However, their characters are at least fleshed out a little more. As much as I love the Universal Frankenstein music, it’s being overused and already becoming repetitious. Hopefully things pick up in the next three chapters.

Karla’s Thoughts: I find the story dragging along as we’re in a cycle of capture/escape/repeat. The flashback seemed like an easy way to stretch out the story. And the music is getting annoying very fast. I wish we could see and learn more about the Clay people.

Trivia:

  • Beatrice Roberts appeared as an uncredited party guest in the Bela Lugosi chapter serial The Return of Chandu (1934). Universal horror fans with an eagle eye may recognize her as Varja the barmaid in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) or as a nurse in Phantom of the Opera (1943). She retired from acting in 1949 and died in 1970 at age 55 of pneumonia.
  • Donald Kerr was a character actor with 518 acting credits to his name, often playing photographers, delivery men or taxi drivers. Horror fans might recognize him from The Devil Bat (1940) with Bela Lugosi. He died in 1977 at age 85.
  • C. Montague Shaw was another busy character actor with 146 credits, including other chapter serials Undersea Kingdom (1936) and Zorro’s Fighting Legion (1939). He died in 1968 at age 85.

Availability: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or you can watch it for free on YouTube!

Next week…chapters 7-9!

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