By: John M Jerva

If you were of movie going age back in 1980, then chances are you went to see Flash Gordon which starred Sam J. Jones. I know I did and the rest is history. The film embodies everything that is pure sci-fi cheese and is gloriously bad for all the right reasons. It’s the guiltiest of guilty pleasures and I consider it a classic in its own to this day.

The film is coming up on its 40th anniversary and to help celebrate the occasion. Studio Canal is releasing the film in a special 4K box set that is loaded, and I do mean loaded, with out of this world special features. The film itself has been scanned from the original 35mm negative to produce a beautiful 4K restoration that original director Mike Hodges has signed off on.

The special edition set will be available in a two disc set and a five disc box set that includes:

DISC ONE – 4K BLU-RAY

BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM, SUPERVISED AND APPROVED BY DIRECTOR MIKE HODGES

New Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon (also iTunes extra)

Audio commentary with Mike Hodges

Audio commentary with Brian Blessed

Behind the scenes of Flash Gordon

Stills gallery (also iTunes extra)

Storyboards gallery (also iTunes extra)

Original theatrical trailer

DISC TWO – BLU-RAY

  • Interview with Mike Hodges
  • Interview with comic book artist Alex Ross TBC
  • Interview with screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. TBC
  • Episode 24 of Flash Gordon (1979-1982): The Survival Game / Gremlin’s Finest Hour
  • Sam Jones’ acting start
  • Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise
  • Bob Lindenmayer discusses deleted scenes and original endings
  • 35th Anniversary Greenroom
  • 35th Anniversary reunion featurette
  • Renato Casaro extended interview
  • Brian Blessed anecdotes
  • Melody’s musings
  • On the soundtrack (Brian May & Howard Blake)
  • Easter Eggs

THE FIVE-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION INCLUDES

  • The 4K Blu-ray plus two Blu-ray discs
  • BONUS BLU-RAY DISC OF LIFE AFTER FLASH, the 2017 feature documentary celebrating the film and it’s star, directed by Lisa Downs
  • ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK CD by Queen & Howard Blake
  • 32 page booklet
  • 16 page Titan mini book (The Story of Flash Gordon)
  • Reproduced booklet of the first strip of original comic books
  • Poster of original artwork
  • 4 artcards of various incarnations of Flash film posters across the years
  • 1 sew on ‘Flash patch’

Original Synopsis: Based upon the classic comic-strip by Alex Raymond, the film follows Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol) as he takes football star Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) into space to get to the bottom of a series of strange natural disasters which have been plaguing the Earth. Upon their arrival on the planet Mongo, they find that Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) has been attacking Earth out of pure boredom, and it’s up to Flash Gordon, along with the Hawkmen, to save the day.

Director Mike Hodges released a special statement for the release saying:

I’m very grateful to STUDIOCANAL for this brilliant 4k restoration. The restoration captures perfectly the vivid colours of the sets, skies and costumes. It also corrects some of the problems encountered with the special effects system we used. With Chroma key compositing we could insert skies, rocket ships, hawk-men, pretty well whatever we wanted, into the blue backing built into the studio sets. The problems came later when we had to eliminate, for example, the wires used on the hawk-men. We were eventually successful but even then some 35mm prints were variable and the wires would be back again. With this new restoration that problem is thankfully laid to rest. Of course Chroma key is primitive by the side of the current process, CGI (Computer Generated Imaging). That said I’m pleased we stuck with the old fashioned system. CGI would have been too slick. After all Flash Gordon was a cartoon strip from the 1930s brought back to life on celluloid some five decades later.

Unfortunately, the release is only for France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand so North America once again is left in the cold. Hopefully we will start giving the fans what they want here too because overseas releases seem to always overshadow ours.

Flash Gordon will always have a special place in my heart, cheese and all, because it brings back great memories of going to the movies and experiencing these films for the first time. You have to be a true genre fan to get a movie like this and even today it’s still a fantastic watch.

The special edition of Flash Gordon hits on August 3rd, so if you’re in the area or have the money for a region free player, then scoop this one up!

Source: JoBlo.com

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