ATOMIC ROCKETSHIP (1936)
(a.k.a. ROCKETSHIP, FLASH GORDON)
Article #1434 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-16-2005
Posting Date: 7-16-2005
Directed by Frederick Stephani and Ray Taylor
Featuring Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
Flash Gordon flies to the planet Mongo to keep it from colliding with the earth.
Yes, it’s another feature-length version of the FLASH GORDON serial, compressed to a length of about seventy minutes while trying to keep the whole plot intact. I’ve gone on about feature versions of serials before, and little has changed my mind. To my mind, they’re like Cliff Notes versions of serials. The trouble is, Cliff Notes largely exist to help students to get familiar with novels they’re supposed to read in their literature classes without going through with the trouble of actually reading them. You don’t read Cliff Notes for fun; you read them in order to pass a test, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be testing you on FLASH GORDON in the near future. Still, watching this story for what amounts to me as the fourth time, I can’t help but admit that I’ve become attached to the character of King Vultan, the hefty winged ruler of the Hawkmen who laughs at his own bizarre jokes and fights by bumping into people with his stomach. This guy is just too strange for words.