Universal 1936, 13 chapters
Universal 1938, 15 chapters
Universal 1940, 12 chapters
Available from Hearst Entertainment and Image DVDs

Anyone who is familiar with the Flash Gordon serials has eagerly awaited this triple video release. We used to see these serials on TV through crotchety antennas and creaky cables, or at revival movie houses, after a hatchet editing job done in the 50's by an outfit called ABC Films (which retitled these serials Space Soldiers, Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars, and Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe, so as not to be in conflict with the German Flash Gordon television show, which was being shown concurrently on TV).

This reviewer finds it amazing that the Hearst Corporation would choose to open its vaults and make available the definitive editions of the three Flash Gordon serials.

Time and consideration were taken to restore these films elements for this video release, and it is nearly flawless (especially Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, which is flawless). There is some video reconstruction of missing frames from the 35mm elements in the first serial, and there is an interesting video blooper in Chapter 1 of the second serial. There is an incomplete end title at the end of Chapter 7 of the second serial, which the videographers superimposed over a frame of Flash Gordon being zapped by one of the forest people's ray guns. Other than these minor and understandable flaws, this Alex Raymond trilogy is sure to satisfy all home video buyers and renters.

If any readers wish to investigate the origins of Flash Gordon that inspired these three serials, they should be encouraged to contact Kitchen Sink Press, which has published many volumes of Flash Gordon comic strips, that will take the curious reader through all of Flash Gordon's adventures, most of which the serial scenarios adhere to. These volumes are now out of print, so collectors might want to troll EBay for these now highly collectible books.

For Flash film fans, these videos are the real deal. For others, rent and decide for yourself. Deep Discount DVD has them at budget prices, which will please interested buyers.

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