Flash Gordon (1936, Frederick Stephani), Chapter 7: Shattering Doom

It’s another heavy chapter. Despite a valiant escape effort, Buster Crabbe ends up back in chains. He and his fellow, shirtless men in shorts shovel radium into king hawkman Jack Lipson’s furnance.

Lipson’s still testing Jean Rogers’s affections. She’s got a couple rather good moments as she tries to misdirect Lipson. Lipson’s a little better in this chapter than the previous ones. He’s less obnoxious and also less sinister. He’s just a doofus now.

Priscilla Lawson gets her emotional showdown with Crabbe, which is another solid scene. Shattering Doom is a character chapter. There’s a hard cliffhanger involving another escape attempt but also a softer one with Charles Middleton arriving to reclaim Crabbe, Rogers, and all their pals.

It’s good. Even if Crabbe sometimes looks like he’s running into action scenes to avoid doing dialogue.


Directed by Frederick Stephani; screenplay by Ella O’Neill, George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey, and Stephani, based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond; directors of photography, Jerome Ash and Richard Fryer; edited by Saul A. Goodkind, Louis Sackin, Alvin Todd, and Edward Todd; produced by Henry MacRae; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon), Charles Middleton (Ming the Merciless), Jean Rogers (Dale Arden), Priscilla Lawson (Princess Aura), James Pierce (Prince Thun), Richard Alexander (Prince Barin), Jack ‘Tiny’ Lipson (King Vultan), and Frank Shannon (Dr. Alexis Zarkov).


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