Superman  (1978)


IMDB Rating 7.5/10  143 min - Rated PG Sci-Fi | Action

Stars:            Christopher Reeve,  Gene Hackman            Director:      Richard Donner

A small boy is sent to Earth from a dying alien world. Blessed with superpowers, he becomes a crime-fighter in the city of Metropolis whilst his alter-ego works as a newspaper reporter.  In 1973, 28-year-old Ilya Salkind pitched the idea of a Superman movie to his producer father Alexander. Although popular as cartoons, television shows and serials, comic books weren't considered suitable for feature film adaptation, but the Salkinds were convinced it would work. Eventually gaining finance from Warners (who were to distribute but not produce), the film started shooting in March, 1977 with Richard Donner (in demand after The Omen) at the helm. But a troubled pre­production (original director, James Bond legend Guy Hamilton, was forced to drop out at the last minute) rolled straight into a troubled shoot, with a titanic power struggle between the Salkinds and Donner. The European producers weren't interested in Superman the American icon, envisioning instead a campy, kitsch hero closer to the Batman series. Although Dormer prevailed, his insistence on taking his time and doing it properly caused the abandonment of Superman 2 (being shot simultaneously).  Dormer's bullish perseverance would certainly pay dividends, his excellent judgement allowing for plenty of comedy without the loss of dignity. Reeve is superb as both Superman and alter-ego Clark Kent, while the clever casting of Brando and Hackman adds a legitimacy to the film's claims of sophistication and sincerity. The success in realizing this claim is probably Superman's most lasting influence — the comic book adaptation golden rule: Respect the characters at all costs! After all, who remembers Dick Tracy?


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