He saved every one of us, and now his epic adventure is getting the 4K treatment.
Arrow Video will release a special 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of the 1980 Flash Gordon in August. Starring Sam J. Jones as the titular hero and Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless, the campy delight was rejected by audiences hungering for the more serious mood of The Empire Strikes Back at the time. It eventually found a cult following thanks to repeated cable and local television broadcasts. Leaning into some of the wilder aspects of creator Alex Raymond‘s comic strip, the film tells of Flash’s arrival on the planet Mongo, how he meets lady love Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) and allies like Prince Barrin (Timothy Dalton), Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed), and Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol), and brings an end to Ming’s regime. It’s a bright, silly film from director Mike Hodges, who is better known for gritty crime dramas like Get Carter and Croupier. Somehow, though, it all works and thanks to a soundtrack by Queen and Howard Blake, it continues to be one of the best comic book movies ever made (even if we profiled it in Your Weekend Cheesy Movie some years ago).
Arrow’s new release features a brand new 4K restoration by Studiocanal from the original camera negative approved by director Mike Hodges and a
4K UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision. As long as you turn off all the motion smoothing technology on your TV and Blu-ray player, it should be the most vibrant version of the film ever on home video. For US audiences, the Blu-ray disc will also feature, for the first time, commentary tracks by Hodges and Blessed. Having obtained the film on DVD in the UK many years ago, we can say both are quite fun and informative. The set will also include interviews from the cast, Queen member Brian May, and more. Another exciting special feature we cannot wait to watch is a documentary on filmmaker Nicolas Roeg‘s attempt to develop the film.
And as this is the collectable home video market, Arrow will also release a special limited edition with all of the above plus reproductions of the film’s poster and lobby cards, a booklet of essays, and a second disc featuring the recent Sam Jones documentary Life After Flash — complete with its own selection of special features. Of course, it is a bit pricier, but that’s the way the collector’s market works. We haven’t made a decision yet on which version to buy — Life After Flash is an interesting doc, but we’re not sure if we need it or the printed materials — but the regular edition is such a treat that we will be get the one disc at the very least.
Flash Gordon comes to 4K UHD on August 18th.
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