Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Superman (1948)

Starring Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Tommy Bond, Carol Forman, George Meeker
Directed by Spencer Bennet & Thomas Carr
(actor & director credits courtesy

Superman, the powerful hero of Metropolis, tries to defeat the plans of the sinister Spider Lady, who's after a deadly weapon the government has developed.

While not one of the better movie serials produced, I've always found this production tremendously entertaining, due to the Man of Steel's ideal capacity as a cinema hero, first proved in the decade's cartoon productions of the Fleischer brothers, and the splendid characterizations of the cast.  Alyn strongly resembles the hero of the comics as drawn by artists of the the time, particularly Wayne Boring, and Neill would become the pre-eminent Lois Lane for some time, returning in not only another serial, but also the popular The Adventures Of Superman TV series in the 1950s.  Much of the serial's story comes not from the comics, but from the Superman radio series, most notably incorporating the "This looks a job for...Superman!" dialogue that actor Bud Collier used as a vocal transformation from Clark Kent to Superman on the airwaves.  The driving music score was used in several other serials and films for Columbia Pictures, but to me never seemed as well-suited as it is here to the exploits of DC Comics' flagship hero.

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