HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Flash Gordon He'll Save Every One Of Us
Year: 1980
Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Ornella Muti, Peter Wyngarde, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Mariangela Melato, Richard O'Brien, John Osborne, William Hootkins, Suzanne Danielle, Philip Stone, Peter Duncan
Genre: Comedy, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 7 votes)
Review: When Ruler of the Universe, Emperor Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) is seeking fresh toys to play with, he decides to destroy the Earth - but gradually, over the length of a few days. One human who can stand in his way is quarterback Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones), but first he must reach the planet Mongo where Ming and his armies are situated, and to do that he must land the plane he is in after the massive disruption wrought by the power-crazed Emperor places him and fellow passenger Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) in jeopardy....

Hot hail, anyone? When Star Wars was an enormous success, there were many cash-ins, from Starcrash to Battlestar Galactica. The year The Empire Strikes Back was released, producer Dino De Laurentiis updated the old Buster Crabbe serials (and Alex Raymond comic strips as seen in the thrilling opening titles) for his space opera, which was directed by Mike Hodges after Nicolas Roeg left the project. The screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr, but according to Hodges there was a mighty amount of improvisation conducted on the sets, an atmosphere more chaotic than conducive to blockbuster movie making.

A camp classic, the film was lavishly decorated and filmed in eye-straining colours, as if the point of the Danielo Donati's art design was to be as over the top as possible and who cared if it was in any way convincing or not? This was fantasy, after all. Therefore everything about it was kinky or kitschy, from the alluring Princess Aura (Ornella Muti) to the all-American hero who leads the revolt. Everyone played all this to the hilt, winking at the audience in some cases but always conveying the belief that the planet Earth really was in peril, no matter which side they were on, as if having to overact to be noticed over garish scenery and impractical costumes, and the blaring music courtesy of Queen (the best thing they ever did, if you ask me).

As Ming, von Sydow was ideal, delivering his lines with relish ("Pathetic Earthlings!"), the very picture of comic book villainy. The great supporting cast included a way-over-the-top Brian Blessed, perfect for this sort of thing, whose line "Gordon's alive?!" went down in history thanks to it being sampled on the hit single of Flash's theme song; in fact nobody hit a wrong note. And how many other films have a respected playwright and former Angry Young Man (John Osborne), a Blue Peter presenter (Peter Duncan) and a James Bond (Timothy Dalton) - all in the same scene? Add in Mariangela Melato who graces us with a dominatrix-style villainess and the line "What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?!" and it was surprising the movie elicited so many grumbles at the time it was initially released.

Watching Flash Gordon is a bit like having birthday cake for a starter, birthday cake for the main course and birthday cake for pudding, but it's so full of quotable lines, hilarious moments and larger than life characters that its pure pulp science fiction is irresistable. And there's something life-affirming about the way the trio of Earthlings endorse the more noble aspects of humanity: note how Topol's mad but actually brilliant scientist Dr Zarkov never joins in with the killing of the baddies, so we see where his priorities lay. Why wasn't there a sequel? Could it be because almost every character behaves as if they are insatiably horny at least once during the adventure - and in the Princess's case, just about every time she's onscreen? With a blithely sexual but slightly sickly hue to the proceedings, a tone quite unlike anything much, not even Flesh Gordon, was achieved that has made this the cult favourite it continues to be. Did I mention it was funny, too? Come to think of it, why wasn't Topol in more movies? He's great in this!

The end?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11206 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Mike Hodges  (1932 - )

British director, from television, with an interesting take on crime movies. His first film was the gritty, gangster cult Get Carter, but the offbeat follow-up Pulp was not as successful. The Terminal Man was a Hollywood science fiction thriller, and Flash Gordon a gloriously over-the-top comic book epic which showed Hodges' good humour to its best effect.

However, the straight comedy Morons from Outer Space was a flop, though it found a few fans, and while IRA drama Prayer for the Dying and the supernatural Black Rainbow weren't successful either, gambling thriller Croupier was an unexpected sleeper hit in America. Tough gangster movie I'll Sleep When I'm Dead followed.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: