Review | Life After Flash (2017)

Review | Life After Flash (2017)

A documentary looks behind the scenes on Flash Gordon and what became of it’s leading man.

Life After Flash follows it star Sam J. Jones as he visits several comic conventions. His appearance at these conventions is due to his biggest starring role, that of Flash Gordon from the 1980 film of the same name.

Sam’s first major acting role didn’t go quite to plan. Whilst the producer of the film, Dino De Laurentiis, was mostly pleased with Sam’s physical appearance, he asked him to dye his hair blond and also wear blue contact lenses to change his natural eye colour.

Principal photography started fairly smoothly but towards the end, cracks started to show. Sam was taken advice from his representation about money, and he started to abuse his position on set.

Sam would show up several hours late and in once case, wouldn’t appear at all for two days until his pay was brought up to date and paid correctly. Then towards the end of December 1979, the cast and crew broke up for their Christmas break. Sam flew back home to America, he was later asked not to return.

Dino De Laurentiis was tired of Sam’s attitude and decided to finish what was left of the film without him. A double would stand in for the few shots remaining.

This is how I learned why Sam Jones’s voice was dubbed for the film. Sam was due to come back and perform what are called ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) sessions. This is when actors come back and rerecord their lines for the soundtrack as on set recording is not always good enough. Another actor was brought in and replaced all of Sam’s dialogue for the film.

Sam J. Jones as he appeared in the cult classic Flash Gordon and as he appears today.

This is just one of the great stories that I learned from Life After Flash, a crowd funded documentary written and directed by Lisa Downs.

Almost every major player is interviewed in this documentary and if need be archival footage is used so that at least everyone makes an appearance in some form.

Life After Flash covers the behind the scenes stories with not only the main cast and crew but also speaks to the fans, several of which have amassed an impressive prop collection from the film.

The documentary also talks to other famous actors and discuses the ways in which they feel connected to the film or just about tackling the issue of fame.

The real highlight of the documentary is Brian Blessed who played Prince Vultan, he recounts tales from the set, swearing included, with his unique booming voice.

But this documentary doesn’t just focus on the making of the film, it also spends time getting to know Sam Jones’s life both before and after the production of Flash Gordon.

As you’ll find out, his career and personal life was hugely affected by the film and the documentary reveals how he has managed to turn his life around for the better.

Life After Flash is available to view now as part of Amazon Prime.

Four out of Five

A very good documentary that reveals what happens to those who are sometimes forgotten after the fame has faded away. – 4/5


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.