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Superman

USA 1948
produced by
Sam Katzman for Columbia
directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet, Thomas Carr
starring Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Tommy Bond, Carol Forman, George Meeker, Jack Ingram, Pierre Watkin, Terry Frost, Charles King, Charles Quigley, Herbert Rawlinson, Forrest Taylor, Stephen Carr, Rusty Wescoatt, Virginia Carroll, Ed Cassidy, Nelson Leigh, Luana Walters, Jimmy Aubrey, Robert Barron, Jack Chefe, Edmund Cobb, George DeNormand, Mason Alan Dinehart, William Fawcett, Eddie Foster, Ralph Hodges, Reed Howes, I. Stanford Jolley, Frank Lackteen, Tom London, Wheeler Oakman, Stanley Price, Gene Roth, Paul Stader, Emmett Vogan, Peggy Wynne
adaptation by Geoerge H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, Royal K. Cole, based on the comicbook created by Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, published by DC Comics, musical direction by Mischa Bakaleinikoff, special animation effects by Howard Swift

serial
Superman

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The origin story might sound very familiar to all of us, and fortunately in this one it is stressed to just a few minutes: As the planet Krypton is on the verge of exploding and the council won't hear out the planet's lead scientist Jor-El (Nelson Leigh), who has a plan for evacuation, he and his wife Lara (Luana Walters) at least put their baby boy into a rocketship to send him to a comparable planet - earth. On earth, he is found by the Kents (Ed Cassidy, Virginia Carroll), who decide to rather than handing the innocent child over to the authorities bring him up as their own and call him Clark, and when they find out about his super strength and heightened senses, they educate him to use them for good rather than evil.

After the Kents' death, when Clark's all grown up (and played by Kirk Alyn), he moves to Metropolis, and soon finds a job as a reporter with the city's most influential newspaper, the Daily Planet. And he also moonlights as the city's resident superhero, Superman - basically helping out wherever he can. Because he's both Clark and Superman, he soon becomes the leading reporter of the Planet, because as Superman, he of course is at the center of all the big scoops - much to the dismay of Lois Lane (Noel Neill), girl reporter, who gets herself into more and more dangerous situations to scoop Clark - and needs to be rescued by Superman many a time.

And there are plenty of dangerous situations around, too, as the evil Spider Lady (Carol Forman) plans to ... well, be mighty evil - and to that end, she and her gang plan to get their hands on the Reducer Ray, a ray that can be used as a most powerful weapon in the wrong hands. However, Superman is guarding the ray when it comes to Metropolis for an exhibition. Now first the Spider Lady and her second in command, evil scientist Hackett (Charles Quigley) want to destroy Superman by Kryptonite, having learned about his Achilles heel rather by accident - but that ultimately backfires and their supply of the rare mineral Kryptonite is destroyed. A plot to steal the Reducer Ray as such also fails, so the abduct Dr Graham (Herbert Rawlinson), inventor of the ray, and also using his own expertise, Hackett gets the secret of the ray out of him by the by - but they find component after component (mostly rare minerals and the like) missing so they have to obtain them, mostly illegally ... so plenty of opportunity to capture the Spider Lady's footsoldiers one by one, but she and Hackett get closer and closer to assemble the ray, while Superman finds it mighty hard to find their hideout - which is of course covered by lead, so Superman can't use his x-ray vision to do so.

Eventually, Hackett gets Graham under his hypnotic spell and makes him finish the Reducer Ray this way - which is great for the Spider Lady as she figures she can do without Hackett now and has him imprisoned and then destroys the prison with the Reducer Ray - and this is her first major blunder. Not long after that she promises to destroy the Daily Planet building and that way lures Superman to her hideout, figuring she can kill him with the piece of Kryptonite still in her possession. But Superman sees that coming and wears lead-lined underwear to fight off the Kryptonite's effect when finally paying the Spider Lady a visit, plus Graham has come out of his hypnotic influence and spoils the Spider Lady's plans to destroy the newspaper building - and ultimately, she's killed by her own Reducer Ray ...

 

Superman might be on the camp side, and it's most certainly under-budgeted, plus having flying Superman done via hand-drawn animation looks rather unconvincing (however well the animation's executed) - but in all, Superman's first live-action outing has resulted in quite a lively serial that knows how to spin a yarn from cliffhanger to cliffhanger while still driving the narrative forward and keeping it interesting, and the story features enough tension and suspense despite it's main character being virtually indestructible. Plus Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill make nice enough Clark and Lois, even if their actual interaction is kept to a minimum.

Not great maybe, but fun still.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD