A strange purple dust is killing off the population of Earth, leaving a telltale purple smudge on the foreheads of its victims! Together, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov trace the plague to the planet Mongo and ... more »archfiend Ming the Merciless! There's hope for the Earth, though, when the intrepid team discovers Polarite, the antidote to the pandemic, found only in the barren, cold reaches of Frigia. This collection of Flash Gordon serials finds Buster Crabbe teamed up with a different Dale Arden, but facing the usual array of strange creatures and spellbinding thrills. It's worth noting that Mongo looks a lot like Sherwood Forest, with its natives toting bows and arrows and wearing Robin Hood outfits. These installments of the series are unusually inventive, such as the scenes when Flash and company travel to the frozen wastelands of Frigia. The encounters with the Rock People and the "walking bombs" are also rather bizarre, even by today's standards. There's even a topical note to the story line, with a madman bent on genocide; the real-life people of Earth would face just such a threat a few short years later. It's the slam-bang pace and two-fisted action of Flash Gordon's adventures that kept audiences spellbound in the '30s, though, and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe certainly gave them their money's worth. --Jerry Renshaw« less
Neal C. Reynolds | Indianapolis, Indiana | 08/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first and the third Flash Gordon serials represented, to me, the very best serials made. This one is the third. There are quite a few cast changes between the original and this serial. Notable switches are Carol Hughes replacing Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, Shirley Deane replacing Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura, and Roland Drew replacing Richard Alexander as Prince Baran. This last change is really noticeable because Drew gives the character a definite Errol Flynn twist. This was made two years after Flynn's ROBIN HOOD, and it shows. Carol Hughes portrays Dale Arden as a much more self sufficient woman than Jean Rogers did. The character of Flash, himself, is a bit mellower maybe. In the first chapter, he's often restrained by Zarkov from impetuous action, and there's less of that this time around. And Emporer Ming while still intent on destroying the Earth seems to, when things are going his way, be much more interested in watching his favorite dancing girl perform than in anything else. Unfortunately for him, our hero Flash keeps distracting him from his fun. Another key figure this time around is Sonja, the ice princess, and is she ever the ultimate ice princess! Also notable is the use of Liszt's "Les Preludes" as background music. Combined with the noisy rocketships, the music adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the action. The Flash Gordon serials are absolute fun to watch, and better watched one chapter at a time."
Flash vs. Ming: The Final Round
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Opening to the memorable strains of Franz Liszt, "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" gets down to intergalactic business. In this 1940 Universal production, Buster Crabbe's legendary space hero combats Emperor Ming and his "Purple Death" for 12 chapters of cliffhanging nostalgia. Less elaborate than the original 1936 serial, but an improvement over "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars" and "Buck Rogers." The Image DVD authorized by King Features (which owns the Flash Gordon copyright) boasts excellent print quality - far superior to the numerous public-domain releases flooding the market."
Relive your nostalgia with this classic serial
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 11/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Are you among those who sat and watched the matinee series like `Flash Gordon' or `Buck Rogers' on television growing up. Well I remember quite clearly sitting with my friends watching the faded, cheesy 1930s and `40s fare on British television and other instances when I would be home sick from school that I would find, flipping through the channels, some classic Saturday matinee fare playing on BBC2. It's with the clouded judgement of long ago nostalgia that has me loving every minute of the `Flash Gordon' DVDs, they are a true guilty pleasure with their yogurt-carton-with-fins spaceships, actors hamming it up with terrible line delivery and preposterous plots. Yet for all their faults, these shows are nicely packaged slices of fun that will still imbue wonder in kids for generations to come. Their appeal is timeless to the young and young at heart. It's revealing to their appeal that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both envisioned the Indiana Jones franchise as a modern version of the Saturday matinee serials. Of all the Flash Gordon serials this one - the third - is the one I remember the most from my childhood with Buster Crabbe being joined by Carol Hughes as Dale Arden (replacing Jean Rogers) and Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless. The serial begins with a spaceship from the planet Mongo spreading a lethal purple dust into the atmosphere of Earth. Its up to Buck Rogers along with Dale and Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) along with friend and ally Prince Barin of Arboria (Roland Drew) to travel to the frozen land of Frigia to recover the antidote for the Purple Death. Coming short on the heels of Errol Flynn's `Adventures of Robin Hood' the influences of the successful classic are clearly evident in this serial. We have Drew portraying Barin with a Flynn-type air and the Mongo population wearing outfits that would not have looked out of place in the Sherwood Forest of Flynn's production. This two-disc set also includes an interview with Buster Crabbe, Olympic footage of Crabbe winning the 1932 Gold Medal in the 400 meter swim, a photo gallery and three television commercials featuring the actor. For such a low price it really is a steal, it's a lot cheaper to relive your childhood this way than to take a trip to DisneyWorld and to get the entire 12-episodes for under $20 is better value than the more current series also coming out on DVD. The quality of the picture is middling at best, (no doubt as a result of age) but this strangely just enhances the nostalgic value of the set. For those who remember the serials from television presentations years ago the simple fact was that the serials were already old when we were young."
Ming Is The King !
E. Parsons | 06/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the time of writing there are two versions of 'Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe' available on DVD. This review concerns Image Entertainment's version - a single sided, no frills DVD. I purchased Image Entertainment's version because I'd been very impressed by their previous two Flash Gordon serials and didn't want the hassle of this serial spread over two discs. Having bought the other two Image Entertainment DVDs, this one also nicely completes the set. Like 'Space Soldiers' and 'Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars' the sound and picture quality are superb. Whilst the storyline had taken a dip for 'Trip to Mars', Universal Pictures bounced right back to form with this serial and it certainly gives 'Space Soldiers' a run for its money for being the best of the trio. The story is full of good old-fashioned excitement and you can easily sit down to watch 4 or 5 episodes at a time. I was sorry to see Jean Rogers relinquish the part of Dale Arden, but her role is expertly filled by Carol Hughes and the rest of the cast are also on good form. Like I said, you have the choice of two DVDs for this serial. I am very happy with this version, but like they say, you pays your money and you takes your choice."
This is the best of the Flash Gordon serials
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" was the third and best of the serials starring Buster Grabbe. This 12-part serial finds Alex Raymond's science-fiction hero battling Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton). Flash has to save the earth from a mysterious plague known as the Purple Death. When Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon) finds one a spaceship from planet Mongo seeding the atmosphere it is clear that Ming the Merciless is back to his old tricks. Flash is aided by old friend Prince Barin of Arboria (Roland Drew) as they head to Frigia, where our heroes will find polarite, the antidote to the plague, and some really interesting locking rock people. Of course, Ming is going to go out of his way to stop Flash and his friends. My only real complaints are that the costumes look like leftovers from "Robin Hood" and that Carol Hughes replaced Jean Rogers as Dale Arden. Oh, well, life is full of disappointments. This DVD not only includes an interview with Crabbe, but footage of him winning the 1932 Olympic Gold Medal in the 400 meter swim event and three of his later TV commercials. Ideally you want to watch the three Flash Gordon serials in order, but if you start with this one you will certainly be able to follow the fun without any problems."