The Most Influential Cliffhanger Film
The cliffhanger film is one that is often part of a much
larger story. It is about people who are in particular situations where they
have to fight in order to make it out of certain situations that might be
dangerous. The most noteworthy thing about such a film is that it is one that
often has an ending where it is hard to figure out what will happen next.
Many cliffhanger films that are highly influential are
actually serials. These include films from the 1930s and 1940s that often
entailed twenty or thirty-minute run times where a longer story was to be told.
Many of these had endings that would lead into suspense and make people want to
see what would happen the next time around.
The most noteworthy and influential of these films was that
of the Flash Gordon series from Universal. This was introduced in 1936 as a
thirteen-installment series with each installment lasting about twenty minutes.
The series features Flash Gordon, a comic strip character
created by Alex Raymond. The series is about a mild-mannered American who is
brought into a fantastic intergalactic world where he meets Ming the Merciless,
an evil ruler of a strange planet.
The series featured plenty of amazing twists and turns as
Flash and two other travelers befriend many on the planet Mongo where Ming
rules all. As they travel around the planet, they come across many allies who
will help them to defeat Ming. But even with this, Ming and his armies are
willing to do what they can to capture and defeat Flash.
The series was popular for having many exciting cliffhangers
with each part always leading into something new and suspenseful. The variety
of stories involving great monsters, amnesia, secret lives and unique
motivations helped make the series popular.
The many charismatic and unique characters of the series
were also important inspirations to many other serials. Buster Crabbe’s role as
the dashing Flash Gordon especially inspired many filmmakers and actors.
Charles B. Middleton’s fiendish turn as Ming especially laid the blueprint for
how a traditional villain is to be played.
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