The fine folks at StudioCanal are releasing the 1980 classic Flash Gordon on 4K later this year in a five-disc collector’s edition box set. They have now released a trailer previewing the painstaking restoration coming our way, as well as revealing the contents contained within the set. This is not your standard 4K update, as it is packed with bonus features and was supervised by director Mike Hodges personally.
Flash Gordon has never looked so pristine as it does in this new trailer. The movie was scanned from the original 35mm negative to produce 4K files. The job required over 500 hours of manual restoration that included repairing serious damage. The sound was scanned from the original track negative, which also underwent repair. The movie was color graded for theatrical, home entertainment and 4K HDR release, using previous digital releases and 35mm prints for reference. Additionally, VFX work was used to remove strings that were visible in previous shots. Mike Hodges had this to say about it in a statement.
“I’m very grateful to StudioCanal for this brilliant 4k restoration. The restoration captures perfectly the vivid colours of the sets, skies and costumes. It also corrects some of the problems encountered with the special effects system we used. With Chroma key compositing we could insert skies, rocket ships, hawk-men, pretty well whatever we wanted, into the blue backing built into the studio sets. The problems came later when we had to eliminate, for example, the wires used on the hawk-men.”
“We were eventually successful but even then some 35mm prints were variable and the wires would be back again. With this new restoration that problem is thankfully laid to rest. Of course Chroma key is primitive by the side of the current process, CGI (Computer Generated Imaging). That said I’m pleased we stuck with the old fashioned system. CGI would have been too slick. After all Flash Gordon was a cartoon strip from the 1930s brought back to life on celluloid some five decades later.”
StudioCanal did not skimp on the goods outside the restoration. The five-disc set is packed with bonus features, as well as a 32-page booklet, the original soundtrack, a feature-length documentary and much more. Here is the full list of what’s included.
- Flash Gordon Five-Disc Collector’s Edition Contents
- The 4K Blu-ray plus two Blu-ray discs
- Bonus Blu-ray Disc of Life After Flash, the 2017 feature documentary celebrating the film and it’s star, directed by Lisa Downs
- Original CD Soundtrack by Queen & Howard Blake
- 32 page booklet
- 16 page Titan mini book (The Story of Flash Gordon)
- Reproduced booklet of the first strip of original comic books
- Poster of original artwork
- 4 artcards of various incarnations of Flash film posters across the years
- 1 sew-on ‘Flash patch’
- Disc One – 4K Blu-ray
- Brand new 4K restoration of the film, supervised and approved by director Mike Hodges
- New Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon (also iTunes extra)
- Audio commentary with Mike Hodges
- Audio commentary with Brian Blessed
- Behind the scenes of Flash Gordon
- Stills gallery (also iTunes extra)
- Storyboards gallery (also iTunes extra)
- Original theatrical trailer
- Disc 2 – Blu-ray
- Interview with Mike Hodges
- Interview with comic book artist Alex Ross TBC
- Interview with screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. TBC
- Episode 24 of Flash Gordon (1979-1982): The Survival Game / Gremlin’s Finest Hour
- Sam Jones’s acting start
- Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise
- Bob Lindenmayer discusses deleted scenes and original endings
- 35th Anniversary Greenroom
- 35th Anniversary reunion featurette
- Renato Casaro extended interview
- Brian Blessed anecdotes
- Melody’s musings
- On the soundtrack (Brian May & Howard Blake)
- Easter Eggs
Flash Gordon stars Sam Jones as the football star turned hero, with the legendary Max von Sydow as Ming. Melody Anderson stars as Dale and Timothy Dalton is on board as Prince Barin. The movie was adapted from the original 1930s comic strip of the same name. While it wasn’t a huge hit in its day, it has gone on to achieve true cult status.
Aside from the collector’s edition, Flash Gordon 4K will also be released on Blu-ray, Steelbook, DVD and digital on August 3. Unfortunately, for the time being, it is only available in the U.K. but, hopefully, it will get approved for release elsewhere down the line. The re-release is available for pre-order now from StudioCanal. Be sure to check out the trailer and artwork for yourself.