Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, September 8, 2008

FLASH GORDON TV


FLASH GORDON. Fifties TV show. DVD.
In the year 3053, Flash Gordon (Steve Holland, pictured) romps about in his ship, Skyflash, along with Dale Arden (Irene Champlin) and Dr. Zarkov (Joe Nash). This DVD features three episodes of the forgotten fifties TV show. In "Deadline at Noon," the intrepid trio discover that the Earth is going to be blown up in a few hours. Although Dale says at one point that a bomb made of dirinium "would take 12 million years to explode" apparently she's off by quite a few years, as a terrorist planted the dirimium bomb in Berlin in the 1960's, only a few thousand years back in time. The idea of a bomb that takes thousand of years to explode being planted in the past is certainly an intriguing (if confusing) one. Flash and the others go back in time to the 1960's and disarm the bomb without a moment to spare. This is a suspenseful and exciting episode. "The Race Against Time" concerns a ray device that is being used to fix an election by a faction that doesn't want the Galaxy Council to retain control. In the third episode, "The Forbidden Experiment," a Lion Man created by experimentation captures Dr. Zarkov and takes him to a planetoid, where Flash and Dale come to rescue him. Although low-tech, the episodes have effective FX, and are well-directed to make the most of a low budget. Steve Holland makes an effectively beefy Flash, and Joe Nash is a surprisingly good-looking Dr. Zarkov. Irene Champlin not only makes an attractive Dale Arden, but she actually looks intelligent enough to understand atomic formula and the like. Not as campy as the serials, Flash Gordon – if one judges by these episodes – was a creditable television program.
Verdict: Hot half-bad if you don't expect too much. **1/2.

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