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Flash Gordon

One of my earliest movie memories, and still my favorite: Conan the Barbarian. Starring the action icon Arnold Schwarzeneggar it’s sadly referred to as a simple flight of fantasy. Sure it’s crass and blood soaked cinema… but it’s also an example of craftsmanship at its finest.

One of the aspects of film that is too often overlooked is the artistic design involved. Actors’ performances tend to be the sole focus at almost every viewing, leaving most films with the pressure to perform on that basis alone. Luckily many movies take the leap of faith that their audiences are intelligent and give those extra thoughts to aesthetics.

These strokes of genius can be found in the sets, costume design, hair and make-up, props, models, and music: The Details.

Conan the Barbarian is a perfect example of depth in details; so is another Dino De Laurentiis picture I watched the other night, Flash Gordon. This silver screen adaptation of the cinema serial has now been blessed with a Blu Ray upgrade. The quality of the transfer is impeccable, and the menus and extras excellent, but what we are here to discuss is celluloid specific.

The majority of the film takes place on sound-stages elaborately renovated to appear as secret labs, spaceships, and alien landscapes. From Ming’s massive throne-room to Prince Barin’s secret swamp-land, this avid eye-candy inspires awe in any retina’s receiving it. Then there’s the miniatures built to portray these locations from a distance. From Star Wars to Inception miniatures have been used to act as scaled portrayals of fantastical locations. In Flash Gordon numerous detailed models are employed and their appearance on screen is breathtaking.

Then there’s the films most celebrated achievements, namely, the costumes and its score. The characters in the film enjoy numerous wardrobe changes thanks to the two-time Oscar winner Danilo Donati. Mr. Donati’s costuming accomplishments in this movie are so mind-boggling that I was again estimating the man-hours needed to make the fabric fantasies seen throughout. However, when my eyes weren’t captured by what was being worn, my ears were being tantalized by what was being heard. Queen! Queen made the musical that backs this visual masterpiece. Epic melodic builds are sparked with Freddie Mercury’s screaming vocals. If you haven’t heard it please enjoy another treasured moment from my life at the movies.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Flash Gordon has always had a soft spot in my heart. The first time I watched it most readers and writers werent even born yet! I’ll never forget the set design as well, it had me running around my parents basement like I was a super hero.
    The movie hasnt held up particularly well unlike Conan) but it still remains a cult classic.
    Nice job!

    • Anonymous

      Borrow the Blu Ray… with the upgraded transfer it looks more pristine than ever before. Thanks to advent of this great technology you’ll really be able to appreciate renewed life in this treasured film. Honestly, looks amazing!

  • Chris Elliott

    Nice dude. I liked this piece. It only concretes my theory about your love for ALL movies. I truly can’t fathom how you can be so knowledgeable about EVERY genre. Amazing.

    Props.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks my man! Ya, I do love ALL movies, and I am trying to increase my appreciation all the time. I figure if you are going to spend the time and money you better get your just dues!

      This is a great movie though, whenever I buy something on Blu Ray that is a further stamp of approval… the ultimate one in my books!

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