30 Days Of Flash Gordon #30
“Do you, Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe, take this Earthling Dale Arden, to be your Empress of the Hour?”
“Of the hour, yes.”
“Do you promise to use her as you will?”
“Not to blast her into space? Uh, until such time as you grow weary of her?”
Two things that amuse me about the wedding scene in Flash Gordon:
1) That Ming, self-proclaimed Ruler of the Universe, still feels the need to “put a ring on it.”
2) The familiar “Wedding March” as interpreted by Queen, whose spectacular musical contribution to the Flash Gordon experience has been shamefully overlooked here*.
Especially amusing is that it’s used as “source music,” meaning that it’s being generated from a source within the world of the film. The implication is that either the Wedding March is a universal constant or that the Mingo City wedding planners decided to incorporated the Earth ditty into their ceremony. Either way, their musicians sound have been trained to sound like a ’70s glam rock band.
The final Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon movie serial killed off Ming by crashing a rocket ship filled with explosives into his tower, but the feature film did it one better by spearing him on the tip of the rocket. I cannot be certain, but I believe this to be the only instance of death by rocket ship puncture in all of pop fiction.
If there’s one disappointment in the finale, it’s that there’s really not a proper battle between Flash and Ming. The titles use an image from the original Alex Raymond comic strips depicting the two locked in a sword duel, but here Flash only has the chance to threaten the fatally wounded monarch. Ming, his power fading, is mysteriously sucked into his own ring, which clatters to the ground to await a sequel which sadly will never come.
I hoped that you’ve enjoyed this month-long retrospective of one of my favorite films. It grew from what was meant to be a single post, and later a string of quick-and-dirty screen captures. However, as often happens when I get into one of these projects, it metastasized into something requiring a great deal more effort on my part!
“Long live Flash! You’ve saved your Earth. Have a nice day!”
*I’ve also overlooked the orchestral score by composer Howard Blake. I suspect that most people think Queen performed all of the film’s music, but you can hear a lot of Blake’s work on the familiar Flash Gordon soundtrack album. Blake’s full score is available on a limited edition CD.