Thursday, September 09, 2010

Too Grumpy Movie Club: Flash Gordon (1980)

Flash! ppcchhheeww! aah-aaaahhh! Saviour of the u-ni-verse! ner ner ner-ner ner NER!

That's the sound of Queen, and what better band to score one of the campest movies of the 20th century, right kids? It's Paul's turn on the Too Grumpy Movie Club and, inspired by a stunning new BluRay transfer of the - ahem - classic, has tossed the green egg/football thing to you, for your opinion.

Grab a hold of the movie any way that you can (Netflix has it, but not on instant streaming; ditto Love Film), and let us know what you think. Is it your first time seeing it? Maybe it's your last time. Loved it? Hated it? Indifferent? tell us at The Usual Address, or sign in with your existing Facebook or Twitter account at and leave a comment.

We'll need your thoughts by Wednesday the 15th of September at 6pm us/11pm uk at the latest, so get cracking!.

Posted via email from Paul&Spike: Too Grumpy Critics

1 comment:

Gavin said...

Brilliant choice gentlemen - and, before we start, was it intentional that you've picked two movies directed by Mike Hodges - yep, the man who delivered the gritty machismo (detective Gritty Machismo to you) of 'Get Carter' also delivered the camp, "Whoops, don't mind me dear", "I had had a good lunch when I slipped on a bar of soap in the public lavatory m'lud" campery of 'Flash Gordon'.
The film itself kind of inverts 'Star Wars', grafting pantomime glitz and make-up onto a fairly fast-paced "Heroes Journey" take on the old serial stalwart.
The "was he, wasn't he" debate over whether Sam Jones was dubbed is a moot point now because he looks the part, was the best He-Man the cinema never had (sorry had to slip He-Man in there) and played everything completely straight.
Subliminal cinema adventure lore is recalled in Timothy Dalton's Errol-Flynn-esque 'Prince Barin', Max Von Sydow channels Charles Middleton from the 1936 serials while adding his own drip-dripping sense of dread and Peter Wyngarde, a man you could do a whole show on, is masked throughout as intergalactic prissy dominatrix madam-dressed-as-doctor-doom 'Klytus'.
Special mention has to go to Brian Blessed who not only doesn't mind fans continually frigging reminding him of 'Gordon's Alive', but he volunteers it against the will of any assembled members of the public willing to hear it.
This phrase is whispered in the film, but Blessed now roars his now catchphrase with all the accusatory bombasticity of Pavarotti shouting his kids in for dinner.
I know I'm very much alone in my 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fandom, but 'Flash Gordon' must have inspired it. 'Gordon' mines European character actors to incredible effect, making up for the lack of decent creature make-up. 'Pirates' did the same, realizing that modern blockbusters were missing the hissing villainy and carbuncled sidekickery of fantasy movies of even a decade before.
'Flash Gordon' never once has its characters wink to camera which is why it is so enjoyable, why they're able to employ the 'Roman Holiday' joke to horrific effect with a plastic tree and why the lixard people, with the actors looking through the jaws like a bad kid's costume never make you wince. Anyway, as Peter Wyngarde would tell you, you have to pay for that kind of action.
Yours, Ward 'Gritty Machismo' Ruther.