George Lucas admitted that he developed Star Wars after his attempt to make a feature-length Flash Gordon film based on the 1930s serials was met with disinterest from the rights holders. Ironically, the incomparable box-office success of Star Wars caused producer Dino De Laurentiis to fast track Flash for a return to the big screen. The result, 1980's Flash Gordon, is certainly not what most Luke 'n' Leia-loving filmgoers had anticipated. With its unforgettable soundtrack by Queen, wooden protagonist and candy-colored scenery ready-made for chewing, Flash gave audiences something much closer in tone to Barbarella (which De Laurentiis produced twelve years earlier) or the 1960s Batman TV show than Lucas' rousing space epic. The film flopped in the USA, was a smash in the UK and has gone on to achieve considerable cult-classic status in the intervening 30 years. Flash Gordon rockets to the Central branch of the St. Louis Public Library (1301 Olive Street; 314-241-2288 or www.slpl.org) this evening as part of Central Library Cinema's They Came From (or Went to) Outer Space! series. The universe saving begins at 6:30 p.m., and admission is free.
Thu., Aug. 15, 2013