Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1939)

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Comic strip hero Flash Gordon returns to the silver screen in this 15-episode serial, the second to feature Buster Crabbe as the intrepid space jockey. When a superpowerful beam of light begins threatening life on Earth, Flash hops in his spaceship with his sweetheart Dale Arden (Jean Rogers), brilliant scientist Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon), and nosy reporter Happy Hapgood (Donald Kerr). Flash and Dr. Zarkov are able to determine that the deadly ray is coming from Mars, so they head to the Red Planet and discover that their nemesis Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton) has joined forces with Azura, the Queen of Mars (Beatrice Roberts) in an all-out effort to destroy the Earth. Azura is able to keep her minions at bay using a magic white jewel that can turn people into lumps of clay; Flash, Zarkov, and Dale realize that they must find the black jewel hidden in the Martian forest if they are to counter Azura's magical powers, save the Earth, and free the enslaved Martian people. The serial Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, with a complete running time of five hours, was later edited into two feature films, Mars Attacks the World and Deady Ray from Mars; the full-length serial is available on home video.

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