StudioCanal is excited to announce the new 4K, Ultra High Definition restoration of Mike Hodge’s cult classic Flash Gordon (1980), in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary. The film will be released on 4K UHD Collector’s edition, Blu-ray, and digital on August 18.
Flash Gordon is the 1980 space opera film adaptation directed by Mike Hodges (Get Carter, Black Rainbow) based on the comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond and adapted for the screen by Michael Allin (Enter The Dragon) and Lorenzo Semple Jr (King Kong). Produced by Dino De Laurentiis (Serpico, King Kong), with cinematography by Gilbert Taylor (Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Dr. Strangelove), the film is also notable for the soundtrack, which was composed, performed and produced by Queen with orchestral sections by Howard Blake.
The Flash Gordon comic strip ran as a daily from 1934 to 1992, followed by a Sunday strip which ran until 2003. The comic was an influence on early superhero comic characters, from the costume and inverted narrative of a heroic alien on earth in Superman to Batman’s first appearance in the Detective Comics, with its DNA still evident in characters today. Raymond’s comic was also an influence on the wider sci fi genre, from James Tiberius Kirk to Star Wars. George Lucas loved Flash Gordon so much, he tried to get the rights from King Features to make the film. However, King Features had Federico Fellini and then Nicolas Roeg in mind before turning to Hodges, but Lucas still cites the comic as an inspiration for his famed space saga.
Our planet is under attack! An unexplained energy wave has pulled the Moon out of orbit, sending it careening towards Earth. Strange natural disasters bombard our world. Baffled scientists are at a loss as to the cause of the chaos. A lone voice – brilliant, but disgraced, scientist Hans Zarkov (Topol) – is convinced that these catastrophes are of extraterrestrial origin and predicts that we only have 10 days before the Moon crashes into Earth, destroying all life. Humanity is doomed!
Realizing that he alone cannot stop these sinister attacks he forces football hero Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) and New York travel-agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) aboard his makeshift rocket ship at gunpoint. Their destination – the mysterious Planet Mongo. On this strange new world all life cowers under the cruel reign of Ming The Merciless (Max Von Sydow), an intergalactic tyrant who demands absolute loyalty under pain of death. Aided by his menacing, golden-masked henchthing Klytus (Peter Wyngarde) he holds the fates of whole peoples in his icy grip, and Earth is but his latest plaything.
After crash-landing on Mongo Flash, Dale and Zarkov are immediately captured, and taken to the spectacular Mingo City city to face the wrath of Emperor Ming. Flash is sentenced to death, Zarkov to have his mind erased and reprogrammed, while Dale faces a fate unimaginably worse: to become Ming’s bride!
Enlisting the help of Ming’s daughter Aura (Ornella Muti), Flash escapes his execution and flees, but his adventures have just begun. Seeking sanctuary in the forest world of Arboria he meets Prince Barin (Timothy Dalton) and undergoes the terrifying trial of the tree insect. Flash prevails but he and Barin are captured by the mighty Hawkmen, with whom Arboria is at war, and taken to Sky City where Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed) forces them into a fight to the death. But with Dale still imprisoned Flash must make friends of these warring princelings and enlist their help to overthrow Ming, rescue Dale and prevent the annihilation of Earth.
Our only hope is Flash Gordon . . . savior of the universe!
-Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critics and film historians including Neil Snowdon, Dennis Cozzalio, John-Paul Checkett, A.K. Benedict, and Kat Ellinger illustrated with original stills
-Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
-Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, alternative posters and promotional images