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Old 20-03-2009, 03:13 PM   #1
Tim Partridge
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Default Flash Gordon (1980) questions

I am quite interested to know any of the behind the scenes stories regarding this film. It is really quite a curious oddity and also a great looking film.

A British Aerospace Hangar at Brooklands near Weybridge in England was apparently used in the film. From what I understand this was to film the live action aeroplane crashing into Zarkoff's lab. Is Zarkoff's lab therefore just a Brooklands hangar with a real plane pushed into it, through a mock up greenhouse wall? It seems quite an expensive and elaborate approach as oppose to just shooting a plane shell on a ram crashing through a special effects stage. The distance travelled by the plane in the movie doesn't appear to be THAT long. Please, if you can answer this it would be much appreciated.

I also noticed that Hollywood special effects legend Glen Robinson is credited as special efects consultant on the film. Robinson had worked previously with producer Dino Delaurentis on the Oscar winning King Kong remake. Martin Bower's website says that Robinson was responsible for the Hawkmen wings. Does anyone have any information on Robinson's full contributions to the film?

Any and all other info and trivia on FLASH GORDON is welcome in this thread!

I absolutely LOVE the miniature and swirling sky work Richard Conway supervised on FG, photographed by Harry Oakes. I also really like the optical and matte work handled by Van Der Veer Photo. In many ways FLASH GORDON was a bit of a dry run for films like the Phantom Menace, in it's dependence of extensively mixing model and bluescreen optical work with studio sets.
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Old 20-03-2009, 07:24 PM   #2
Jade Falcon
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An airfield on the Isle of Skye was used in the filming at the beginning.


From Wikipedia. It's mentioned in the closing credits.

"Skye has been used as a location for a number of feature films. The Ashaig aerodrome was used for the opening scenes of the 1980 film Flash Gordon"

The aircraft that Flash and Dale are on is if I remember right a De Havilland Dove, once used by many civil and military operators.

I'd love to have a model of the War Rocket Ajax, whoever designed that, it's a work of art with that art deco look.

For Matte work, I believe The Black Hole still was one of the record holders for numbers of matte painting used for some years. That featured another retro-favourite ship of mine, the USS Cygnus.
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Old 20-03-2009, 07:32 PM   #3
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Don't know who built the original, but

Despatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body

Is Martin Bowers replica build.
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Old 20-03-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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The aircraft that Flash and Dale are on is if I remember right a De Havilland Dove, once used by many civil and military operators
Yeah it's definitely a Dove. The photography of the miniature Dove crashing appears quite soft due to the anamorphic lenses used on such low key effects photography Generally though I think those Zarkoff exteriors are a true knock out.

I wonder why they chose Skye for the opening? What is it supposed to be doubling as? I assume somewhere in the States, but it does look quite Wicker Man-ish and overcast. The wide angle shots of falling meteors look very much like something from a quirky British film or TV show in what is supposed to be a stylized Italian made American blockbuster! Don't get me wrong, I love the location and it looks great, but it does seem rather random for a Flash Gordon movie. Maybe this was Mike Hodge's intellectualised attempt to create something very different looking from the rest of the film?

Great Scottish location work I thought was the doubling of Castle Tioram, Loch Moidart in the movie Supergirl, standing in for a more picturesque Illinois Beach State Park. It matches the aerial footage shot in the USA perfectly.
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Old 20-03-2009, 09:44 PM   #5
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Tim, when they mention the hangars on the production of FG, they just mean as big empty buildings to use as stage space. Martin Bower has commented in interviews that "We'd be at Shepperton, then Dino would work out that he could save two dollars by moving to Weybridge".

Oh really? If that's true then that is tight! Quite surprising given that the production was already occupying Elstree and Shepperton. I'd love to know what was shot where. Seems the lion share of the models at least were shot at Shepperton. Suprised the Booklands plant didn't become a permanent facility (kind of like Frogmore studios, I guess)!

Thanks for those Pearson stories. Delaurentis seemed to be quite the character but he had a very unique eye for production. I think the crew he assembled on FG was pure gold.
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Old 20-03-2009, 09:54 PM   #6
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Here's an interview with Brian Blessed on his roll in Flash Gordon where he tells a great story about how he messed up a full day's shoot...

http://video.google.com/videosearch?...&hl=en&tab=wv#
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Old 21-04-2009, 11:32 PM   #7
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1980 Flash Gordon trivia?
Why in the world did they think Sam J Jones was the best choice for the role when they had to dye his hair and then (worst of all) make Flash have brown eyes because Jones couldn't wear contacts to make his eyes blue like Gordon's are supposed to be?
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Old 23-04-2009, 07:08 AM   #8
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Flash Gordon is such a awesome movie. Everything from the music score,writing,acting is totally awesome.
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Old 27-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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Sam J Jones? Ultimate Flash. Movie is a classic.

Remember 'The Highwayman' though?
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Old 27-04-2009, 05:25 PM   #10
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I actually liked The Highwayman despite its use of Jacko. Lots of old stars: Gary Lockwood, Chad Everett, Kent McCord.. Not to mention Howie Long in Send in the Clones !
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Old 27-04-2009, 07:35 PM   #11
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I've seen the reimagined Sci-Fi channel series of Flash Gordon (I got it from a website for 4.99) and while it was heavily criticised it wasn't bad, not great, but not bad. The character of Flash himself was the one that I was the least keen on, but the others weren't too bad. The new Ming was actually an interesting character, he reminded me a bit of William Hurt's Duke Leto in the Sci-Fi channel Dune.
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Old 28-04-2009, 08:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman1188 View Post
I actually liked The Highwayman despite its use of Jacko. Lots of old stars: Gary Lockwood, Chad Everett, Kent McCord.. Not to mention Howie Long in Send in the Clones !

Jacko!! hehehe

Sorry, Tony42 for the dodgy Aussie accent here, but:

"c'mon Oi-way!!" lol
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Old 29-08-2009, 03:57 AM   #13
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Got to meet Sam J. Jones a couple of years ago, top bloke, great movie!

Cheers, Chris
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Old 29-08-2009, 03:40 PM   #14
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Default FLASH GORDON 1979-1981 ANIMATED SERIES

I liked the FLASH GORDON 1980 live-action Movie too!
Brian Blessed was great as Vultan King Of The Hawkmen.
FLASH GORDON 1979-1981 ANIMATED SERIES from Filmation was another produced for Television while the 1980 Movie was being released.




FLASH GORDON 1979-1981 ANIMATED SERIES from Filmation had Vultan and the HAWKMEN too!

I wished the 1980 live-action Movie had adopted these
FLASH GORDON 1979-1981 ANIMATED SERIES from Filmation production designs:

Extremely menacing LIONMEN.


Ming's Army of METALMEN(like yellow gold Cylon Centurions) were menacing designs.


Ming's AERIAL NAVY IMPERIAL FLYERS(yellow) and AERIAL NAVY ROYAL IMPERIAL FLYERS(white) were excellent designs.



Last edited by Steve Gerard; 30-08-2009 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman1188 View Post
I actually liked The Highwayman despite its use of Jacko. Lots of old stars: Gary Lockwood, Chad Everett, Kent McCord.. Not to mention Howie Long in Send in the Clones !
OMG, I actually worked on that episode.
Someone LIKED The Highwayman?
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:35 AM   #16
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Great movie with some classic Queen music and even better movie lines...

General Kala, Flash Gordon approaching.

What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?

Erm...well Flash Gordon is sort off coming towards us. Which bit of that didn't you understand?
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:22 PM   #17
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Sci-Fi Channel's FLASH GORDON 2007-2008 television series had extremely poor production design...cheap spaceship fx...no lionmen...no hawkmen(except for a tribe that would hang glide with capes on).

The 1980 movie FLASH GORDON and the 1979-81 Animated Series FLASH GORDON both had great production design.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:28 PM   #18
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If my memory serves the bluescreen effects for Flash Gordon were done electronically, a first for a major film project......I think?
__________________



....... S.I.G David Mark Sisson
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Old 14-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #19
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Default Best "FLASH GORDON" versions

Best "FLASH GORDON" versions based upon the visual Production Design are only
the 1979-1981 Animated series from Filmation and of course the live-action 1980 motion picture.


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Old 12-10-2009, 06:42 PM   #20
Tim Partridge
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Hmm, that jogs my memory, as well. ISTR Van Der Veer Optical in the credits, a very long-serving traditional Hollywood fx house.

It seems a bit early on in the history of electronic compositing, although Brian Johnson did mention it in the book on the making of 'The Empire Strikes Back'. Maybe there was some experimental work done on the Flash Gordon, that might not have ultimately made it into the film?

For some reason and on the same subject, the 1984 'Dune' pops into my head, too.

No, a few of the blue screen shots of Flash and Ming's daughter in the spaceship to the forest planet were composited electronically, on a 3000 line video system:

http://www.theasc.com/magazine/april...um2/page1.html

I still think the work is miles ahead of the bluescreen or travelling matte work done the same year for films like Superman 2 or Empre Strikes Back.
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