The Women of Flash Gordon: The Movie

I recently re-watched Flash Gordon: The Movie, that campy, colorful movie from 1980, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I originally saw it on the big screen and remember being annoyed at what I perceived as one of my favorite TV serials being made fun of. The 1936 version, starring bottle-blonde bombshell, Buster Crabbe, was required Saturday morning viewing for me and I took it all a little too seriously, obviously. But can you blame me? With scenes like this? *giggle*



The movie, second time around, made me laugh out loud. The plot is ridiculous, the dialogue is hilarious, the acting is over-the-top, and the costumes out of this world.  But what grabbed my attention the most was the three main female characters.

Dale Arden: the girl next door type. Sweet and feminine, plucky and kind-hearted, Dale is nevertheless quite capable of taking care of herself when needed. She just kind of enjoys making Flash rescue her for the hell of it. She’s also “extremely responsive,” which struck me as amusing. I’ve come across the trope of the sweet young thing who is nympho-in- waiting for the right man in way too many romance romance novels.

Princess Aura: the femme fatale type. Sly and spoiled, seductive and selfish, Aura eventually finds an iota of goodness in herself when she gets a case of moist spandex for Flash. Bears up extremely well under torture, which is always a nice character trait. Here she raises Flash from the dead with a kiss while wearing a fabulous outfit.






General Kala: the evil villain type. Twisted and cold, efficient and loyal, Kala has, like all the best super-villains, an absolutely delicious accent. Not surprisingly, is unlucky in love, but wields a cat o’ nine with aplomb and talent. Wears sparkly black pleather like a pro.  The magnificent General Kala.







All three were fun to watch and kept my mind off the silliness of it all. They looked spectacular in those costumes and, to my mind, carried the whole film. And let’s not forget the awesome theme song, as audacious and over-the-top as Freddie Mercury himself. The song and the movie are named for the hero, which is funny, because he was the least interesting thing in it. But, anyway. Ready for a sing-along? Bum-bum-bum-bum, FLASH! A-haaaaaaaaaa!




  1. Dianna, thanks for sharing this great flashback (ahem). I loved that movie when it came out, for all the reasons you cite here. Plus, I had a quadrophonic stereo, and man, you have not ever been blown away by music until you hear Freddy Mercury singing “Flash..ahhhahhh – he does the impossible!” in high-volume quad surround sound glory.

    I remember reading a review at the time – the movie *is* so camp, and audiences were laughing at it. In the premier, Dino Delaurentis, the producer, didn’t understand what they were laughing at. He told his interviewer he thought he’d made a “serious science fiction movie”.


    Well, we can appreciate it for what it is. 🙂

    1. Dang – Freddy in quadraphonic does sound glorious!

  2. I’m not sure if it was smart of Ming’s sidekick to say something about Dale’s response rivaling Ming’s daughter’s : )

    Love General Kala, even if she imitates the Wicked Witch of the West at the end there 😉

    I need to see if our video store has this one. Thanks!

    1. Ming also watches his daughter get tortured. Not good baby-daddy material, IMO.

      Kala deserved a better death!

  3. […] characters in Flash Gordon: The Movie over at Contact – Infinite Futures. Here’s the link. And here’s a little taste of Princess Aura, Dale Arden and General Kala […]

  4. I remember when the movie released, 18 years old and went to see the movie with a group of women that I worked with at our local Dairy Queen… It was full of loud music that I loved by Queen, special effects that were so cheesy in comparison to anything used now and yes the female leads were scrumptious in their respective roles… I would not be able to sit through the movie now but back in 1980 it was quite cool. Plus I felt very special it was my first ladies night out, as we all went to the local steakhouse to eat before the movie.

    1. Sounds like a great night out, Jackie!

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