It’s Saturday so it must be time for Chapter 8 of the Flash Gordon Rewatch. Last week we left Flash with an electrified shovel he was about to use to sabotage the atom furnace powering the rays that keep Vultan’s flying city aloft.
So, grab some black and white popcorn and settle down for Chapter 8 – Tournament of Death!
After some rather badly written caption cards we rejoin Flash as he sabotages the atom furnace. The furnace explodes in suitably dramatic fashion but despite the damage, Flash and the others are uninjured. With the atom furnace destroyed, the flying city begins to fall.
Flash and Thun go to the throne room to rescue Dale but thanks to Dale’s timely distraction (or is it a betrayal, it’s hard to tell) and Vultan’s annoyance at their continuous interference, Flash and Thun are captured and taken to an execution chamber.
Meanwhile, Prince Baron finds Zarkov who explains (sort of) that they can’t rescue Flash until the strength of the beam supporting the city reaches zero.
Flash and Thun are brought before a firing squad but thankfully the beam collapses just before they’re shot.
As the city begins to fall, Flash and Thun head to the throne room to rescue Dale (again). Zarkov arrives and reveals that he has discovered a new ray that will save the city. Vultan agrees to free Flash and the others if Zarkov uses the ray and they head back to the laboratory.
Zarkov’s ray is a success but Ming invokes some kind of Emperor of the Universe veto to call a tournament of death and decrees that Flash must take part.
If Flash survives he will earn “liberty, a kingdom of his own, and the bride of his choice.” If he survives…
Flash is given some spiffy new duds and taken to the Arena of Death where he will combat the Mighty Masked Swordsman of Mongo.
Dale, Thun, Ming, Vultan and Aura watch as Flash battles the mysterious masked man. Oddly, there’s no sign of Baron.
The mystery is solved when, after possibly the longest sword fight in the history of cinema, Flash unmasks his opponent and reveals him to be Prince Baron!
Flash is declared the victor but Ming, being merciless, decides that Flash has simply won the right to fight the Mighty Beast of Mongo.
Baron apologises to Flash for taking part in the tournament and, in a startling twist, reveals that he is in love with the devious Princess Aura!
It turns out the Mighty Beast is “huge orangopoid” that no man can conquer. The creature turns out to be a cross between a gorilla and a unicorn, and although Flash puts up a valiant effort, he is eventually overwhelmed.
Has the orangopoid killed Flash? And if it hasn’t, what other imperial decrees does Ming have up his voluminous sleeves?
A pretty short chapter this week, even with the epic sword fight.
Fun fact – the laboratory set using in the series was reused from the 1935 film, Bride of Frankenstein. Other sets came from Dracula’s Daughter (1936), The Mummy (1932) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
Sword fighting! Flash and the mighty masked swordsman of Mongo’s fight feels like it goes on forever but the way they swing those swords around with such wild abandon brought a smile to my face.
And I loved the way everyone in the room (apart from Baron of course) watches with rapt attention as they flail their swords at each other. And there’s Flash’s formal, hand behind his back stance. Great stuff.
“Welcome mighty potentate. If we had been informed of your coming, a banquet would have been served.”
“I do not dine with unruly subjects! I come not for pleasure but to punish you.”
Prince Baron almost got this for the stilted delivery of his lines but then the orangopoid appeared.
What more is there to say?
Drop by next week for Chapter 9 – Fighting the Fire Dragon.
My homage to the Flash Gordon serials, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet, will be released for all ebook platforms on 25th August with a print edition following soon after.
A few days ago I gave everyone on my mailing list a copy of the book. Technically, that offer is over but if you sign up here you’ll get four other books.
(And I’ll probably relent and send you Glitch anyway).[Flash Gordon Rewatch – Chapter 8 – Tournament of Death by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 15th August 2015]