Flash Gordon (1936, Frederick Stephani), Chapter 9: Fighting the Fire Dragon

This chapter’s title, Fighting the Fire Dragon, makes a big promise. There’s going to be a fire dragon and there’s doing to be a fight against said fire dragon. Only the former proves true. Any fight is, presumably, coming in a subsequent chapter.

Thanks, as usual, to Priscilla Lawson’s scheming, Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, and Frank Shannon are all back in Charles Middleton’s palace. All Crabbe and Rogers want to do is make puppy eyes, all Shannon wants to do is get back to Earth, all Lawson wants to do is get Crabbe away from Rogers.

Enter new character high priest Theodore Lorch. After getting a big part in the cliffhanger resolution, Lorch decides to throw in with Lawson against her father, Middleton.

It’s a bridging chapter. Flash Gordon’s getting geared up for whatever’s next–besides the opening, there’s not even a fight scene. The lull gives Rogers and Crabbe a nice scene together, complete with character development. And Lawson and Lorch are great together.

The hint of the fire dragon is pretty cool too.


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), Theodore Lorch (High Priest), and Frank Shannon (Dr. Alexis Zarkov).


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