Purple Death from Outer Space (1966)

Article 2372 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-23-2007
Posting Date: 2-9-2008
Directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor
Featuring Buster Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles Middleton

Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo when it is discovered that a plague decimating the earth is the result of Emperor Ming the Merciless.

This is probably one of the smoother of the feature versions of serials that I’ve seen; only occasionally does the action shift abruptly and the music skip. I think it also helps that this is from one of the Flash Gordon serials, which, in comparison to the Republic serials, have more in the way of a story arc to sustain a feature length. It also helps that it features Buster Crabbe and Charles Middleton, perhaps the best serial hero and villain of all time. My main problems are the usual ones; overfamiliarity with the story (I’ve already seen both the individual serial and the other feature version PERIL FROM THE PLANET MONGO ) and the simple fact that, despite the fairly smooth editing, it still feels like watching several episodes of a serial at once. Still, this is about as good as this type of thing ever gets.


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