Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Space Opera > Serial > TV > Flash Gordon Collection (Passport)

The Flash Gordon Collection (Passport)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Serial and TV Series: B-



Flash Gordon continues to be one of the survivors of the early years of heroes in Pop culture, with the memorabilia continuing to climb in value and the various programs produced staying in print.  There is still plenty of Gordon material that is not as easy to find as it should be, which is a problem Passport 5 DVD Flash Gordon Collection tries to remedy.  The first 2 DVDs offer the oft-issued Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe serial, while the last 3 offer ten of the half-hour episodes from the 1950s TV show.


The serial has been issued before a few times, most notably from Image Entertainment and VCI Entertainment.  We have already covered the VCI version and I agree with that critic about how it is fun and one of the best serials ever made, while the VCI version fared well against all previous copies.  This version looks almost as good and sounds about the same, with its 1.33 X 1 black and white image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.  Image has annoying Dolby 1.0 Mono, so this version is as passable as any.  That brings us to the next material.


The TV series was produced in Germany, though it was in English and the actors flew over to shoot it.  It debuted in 1954 and did not last long.  It had its moments and has never been issued on DVD before except the first show, which Radio Spirits put out on a DVD set with The Lone Ranger, et al.  Now out of print, each disc had a show of each of three characters form TV, followed by three of their radio dramas.  That show also looked cleaner, clearer, crisper and had fine video black.  This copy is fuzzy, but the later shows look much better.  For fans, the episodes are:


1)     Flash Gordon & The Planet of Death

2)     Akim The Terrible

3)     The Claim Jumpers

4)     The Breath Of Death

5)     Flash Gordon & The Race Against Time

6)     Flash Gordon & The Brain Machine

7)     The Forbidden Experiment

8)     The Earth’s Core

9)     Deadline At Noon

10)  The Subworld Revenge



Steve Holland became Flash and was not bad in the role, making for a good successor to Buster Crabbe, who remains the best-known actor in the role 70 years later.  The effects are a hoot in a different way, but this was early TV with a limited budget and was good for what it was.  That is a great set of chapters and TV episodes for any Flash fan or those who just want something older and fun to watch.  The picture and sound are comparable to the serial.  That makes it one of the best box sets Passport has issued to date.  Then there is a bonus.


There were space heroes other than Flash and even Buck Rogers, and one of them was Rocky Jones.  Rocky Jones – Space Ranger had a following and was not a bad show either, popular enough to have some episodes edited together and theatrically issued.  That film called Manhunt In Space (1956) is included as a bonus and just ups the value of this nice set.  Richard Crane is amusing as Rocky and this runs 78 minutes.  This is the second of two such theatrical compilations.  Only 39 half-hour shows were produced, but they played often enough early on to cement Rocky as an early space hero and TV hero.  See Captain Video elsewhere on this site as well for even more information.


As for Flash, another feature film is being discussed, while the popularity of the 1980 camp classic by Mike Hodges is finally due to come out in a special edition from Universal, while the underappreciated Filmation animated TV series from the late 1970s is long overdue for DVD release and remains some of the best Flash adventures ever committed to film.  When they come out, we’ll be there to catch them.  Until then, this Flash Gordon Collection will entertain you more than you’d expect.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com