Superman: The Movie Movie Poster 
 

In the decade of the 1930's, even the great city of Metropolis was not spared the ravages of the world wide Depression. In the times of fear and confusion, the job of informing the public was the responsibility of the Daily Planet, a great metropolitan newspaper whose reputation for clarity and truth had become a symbol of hope for the city of Metropolis..."

So began the landmark film that, in and of itself, became both part of the long-standing Superman mythology and developed a mythology all its own. Just as Superman went on to make three additional sequels and Supergirl, one could just as likely fill five films with the story of the production of Superman: The Movie.

Our story begins (the production, not the movie) at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, where producers Alexander and son Ilya Salkind make a grand announcement in a grand way. There was no internet, no fax machine, no e-mail, or website on which to make their grand announcement so they did the next best thing: they rented an airplane that flew a sign over the Festival announcing their forthcoming blockbuster: Superman.

Superman has been a symbol of Americana since his debut in comic book form in Action Comics #1, cover dated June 1938. Two young Jewish immigrants living in Cleveland conceived of Superman as early as 1932, but it took Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster six years to find a publisher who would even consider releasing a comic magazine with such an outlandish, unbelievably fantastic character.

It was National Periodical Publications and William Gaines who took a chance and not only agreed to publish Superman but even put him on the cover of their premiere issue of their newest comic book, Action Comics. Action #1 flew off the newsstands faster than a speeding bullet, but it took National some time to figure out that it was Superman that was selling the book. In fact, Superman did not even grace the covers of every issue of Action for the first few months of releases. But that first issue and the cover image of Superman, looking quite different than he does today, lifting an automobile over his head as crooks run in fear, was special, so special that it created a Renaissance in the comic book business. Superman not only resulted in every hero who's come since, but he single-handedly fermented the comic book business into American pop culture.

The concept behind Superman, deemed so outlandish by so many publishers, was simple and remains largely unchanged. In that first story, a baby is rocketed away from an unnamed distant planet before it blows up, the rocket lands on Earth where the baby is taken to an orphanage by the elderly couple that found him. They adopt him, he discovers he has super powers, his adopted parents die, and he decides it's time to use his powers for the good of Mankind. In the beginning, there was no Jor-El or Lara, there was no Daily Planet (his first job of note as Clark Kent is actually with the Daily Star), there wasn't even a name for the destroyed planet he came from ("is that Krypton with a CRI-pton?").

But the legacy grew. Within only three years of his comic book debut, he had one of the highest rated radio shows of the time and was drawing in throngs of kids every weekend to see the classic Fleischer brothers Superman cartoons. Two movie serials, Superman and Atom Man v. Superman, were among the highest grossing live-action weekly serials in the late 40's and early 50's. And then, Superman invaded the newest of innovations: television. TV's Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves (that is Reeves with an "S" at the end, unlike Christopher Reeve -- the name similarities are purely coincidental) was an instant hit. In fact, only one other television show was a bigger hit: I Love Lucy, which eventually prompted one of the first and most unusual of television crossovers -- Superman attends little Ricky's birthday party. (Ironically, in 1983's Superman III, Superman attends another "little Ricky"'s birthday party -- that of little Ricky Lang, son of high school girlfriend Lana Lang).

By the 1970's, National Periodical Publications had become DC Comics, so named after one of their flagship titles, Detective Comics, which in its 27th issue introduced the world to The Batman. DC had been acquired by conglomerate Warner Brothers and had a firm place in WB's publishing division.

But even powerhouse Warner Brothers was not keen on the idea of a live-action film starring one of their most valuable intellectual properties. Memories of the 1966-1968 Batman television series were still very fresh in people's minds and it was difficult to disassociate the words super-hero and camp.

It was Ilya Salkind who first had the idea to produce a live-action serious feature on the American icon. His father, Alexander, had never heard of Superman, but Ilya convinced him that the Man of Steel could "fly" onscreen. So the Salkinds entered into a licensing agreement with Warner Brothers, whereby the Salkinds would acquire the rights to produce a series of films featuring any and all characters who had ever appeared in a Superman comic book and Warner acquired a "negative pick-up" -- i.e., if they liked the movie, they would distribute it. Ilya Salkind has said in interviews that he interpreted the acquired license as giving them the rights to include almost any character in a Superman film, from Supergirl (who eventually did star in her own movie) to Krypto the Superdog to Superboy (and the Salkinds did produce a live-action Superboy TV series from 1988-1992) to even Batman who had indeed guest-starred in Superman comic books at different times.

The Salkinds knew they needed star power to raise money for their venture. It was a different era in Hollywood. Blockbusters were the exception, not the norm like they are today. And it was also a different era for the comic book business too. Sure, Superman has never stopped being a household name (and he, along with Mickey Mouse and Tarzan were at one time officially recognized as the three most recognized fictional characters in the entire world), but times were tough for comic books. It wasn't until the early to mid 1980's that "grim and gritty" comic books were first introduced that raised the maturity quotient and the overall reputation of the industry. Whereas today, AOL Time Warner's efforts to produce a new Superman film, which began in 1997 and are still in early pre-production stages as of this writing in 2003, are stalled because there's too much interest and too much money.

The Salkinds were shrewd businessmen and, if they were going to make a statement about the type of film they were going to make, they had to hire a serious writer for the script, someone with a solid reputation, that would make the media hesitate in prejudging any project called Superman. Mario Puzo had just finished the Godfather a few years earlier and he was just about the most respected writer alive at that time.

Continuing the Godfather reunion of sorts, the Salkinds then retained Marlon Brando to play Superman's biological father, Jor-El, and Gene Hackman, to play Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. But that was all they had in place. They had no Superman, no Lois, and no director. And no one had even begun to think about how to make a man fly.

They eventually found their Director: Guy Hamilton, who had directed James Bond. Hamilton's vision of Superman and the planet Krypton was somewhat primitive even by 70's standards (some of his pre-production work can be seen on side B of the Superman: The Movie Special Edition DVD). But, when there was a significant change in the value of the Italian Lira, the Salkinds realized it would be much less expensive to shoot the film in the U.K. rather than the originally planned for Italian shoot. Hamilton, however, was a tax exile and could not step foot in the U.K. There went Guy Hamilton.

And then, as if an omen itself, Richard Donner's superbly directed feature, The Omen, was a huge hit. The Salkinds wanted him to be their new "it" boy. Donner accepted the job and then realized what he'd taken on. He was unable to use any of Hamilton's pre-production work, he had to cast Superman and Lois, he had to figure out how to make a man fly, and he had to widdle down the mammoth and oftentimes too campy script that Puzo had written. (Puzo's general story concepts and some of his dialogue do find their way into the final film and even Superman II, but he had some odd notions such as Lex Luthor having a penchant for eating Kleenex tissues.)

Donner immediately brought in his long-time friend, Tom Mainkewicz, to re-write the script. Mainkewicz did not want to do another re-write job and his immediate reaction was to reject his friend's offer; that is, until Donner showed up in a Superman costume at Mainkewicz's door. When they finished their work on the script, they in fact had two complete scripts for Superman and Superman II. The initial idea was to release Superman with a cliffhanger ending and then release Superman II within the year. That didn't happen.

Donner was on a strict time clock to begin production as both Brando and Hackman had other obligations and scheduling limitations. In fact, Brando stirred up some controversy with his multi-million dollar paycheck when it was revealed that he was basically working for three weeks on the picture and that was it.

So as pre-production was in full-force, so began the search for an actor to play Superman and mild-mannered secret identity Clark Kent, as well as Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Ma and Pa Kent, Kryptonian Mom Lara, and teenage Lana Lang.

Casting genius Lynn Stalmaster introduced the producers and director to Christopher Reeve. Reeve was tall and lanky, he didn't work out, but Stalmaster saw something in Reeve's face and performance that, to him, exuded Superman's essence. The Salkinds, especially dad Alexander, were very keen on getting a big-name star to play Superman, but Donner felt strongly that only an unknown could wear that iconic costume and actually be believable AS Superman. Names like Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone, and even Muhammed Ali were bandied about by the Salkinds. But Stalmaster kept trying to reintroduce them to Reeve who had auditioned early on and passed under the production team's radar screen. Finally, after they had even screen-tested Ilya Salkind's wife's dentist (no kidding!), Stalmaster brought Reeve back in.

Reeve auditioned as both Superman and Clark Kent. But it was when he stepped off Lois Lane's balcony and introduced himself to the woman reading the Lois Lane part, Donner and the Salkinds were convinced that Reeve could pull it off. The idea was initially to build foam rubber musculature into the costume so that Reeve's small frame wouldn't impose significant limitations. Reeve didn't want that and Donner agreed. Reeve immediately began training with David Prowse, the man inside the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars trilogy. And by the time filming began in earnest, Reeve had bulked up. (Note: Helen Slater also trained with Prowse in anticipation of 1984's Supergirl.)

While many actresses were tested for Lois Lane, it came down to two of them -- Margot Kidder and Stockard Channing. Oh how different 1978's Grease might have been had they chosen otherwise....

Production began on both Superman and Superman II simultaneously. All of the scenes with Brando and Hackman for both Superman and Superman II had to be completed on the stars' schedules. In fact, Hackman never acted one inch of film for director of record Richard Lester in 1980's Superman II; all of Hackman's footage was filmed by Donner.

Donner had a singular vision for Superman and he encapsulated that vision in one word: Verisimilitude. He had it posted everywhere on the set. He wanted the fantastic elements of the film to speak for themselves, but the actors had to believe in the world in which they were acting or the audience wouldn't believe in the characters.

Donner, the Salkinds, and producer Pierre Spengler all butted heads frequently. The Salkinds were always worried about money but Donner claims the Salkinds had never provided him with a budget so there was never any way to know if he was going over it time-wise or money-wise.

Originally, Superman was slated for a big Summer 1978 release, but the film simply wasn't ready. Warner Brothers decided it was Christmas 1978 or bust. And a huge star-studded premiere benefiting Special Olympics was scheduled. The production ran incredibly short on time, and incredibly over-budget. The Salkinds had to sell back a piece of the pie to Warner Brothers in exchange for more money and they were clearly frustrated as they lost more control over their own production.

Warner Brothers, stepping in with their additional control, called an immediate halt to further filming on Superman II, the attitude being that, if Superman were a flop, Superman II was not necessarily a fait accomplis. Donner hired another friend, editor Stuart Baird, to edit the film, but even Donner wasn't quite sure what he would see on screen at that premiere as time had run so short, he hadn't ever seen a final print.

We all know that what he did see on screen was nothing short of super. Geoffrey Unsworth, who died shortly before the first film's release, and to whom the picture is respectfully dedicated, had an eye for cinematography. And the score by John Williams was a masterpiece. Donner had clearly assembled the right team and they did the right job. A job for a Superman.

The film opens as old-fashioned curtains draw open and a mock film-grained scene of a boy's hands leafing through an old Superman comic book as he speaks the words quoted at the beginning of this review. Suddenly, the comic book Daily Planet globe becomes real and the camera pans toward outer space.

The credits for Superman -- huge blue-neon block letters that swooshed over the screen as the camera POV takes us on a trip through outer space -- went on and on forever, but even that demonstrated the epic quality of the production. As "Directed by Richard Donner" flies by, we've arrived at our first major destination of what can only be described as a three-act film: Krypton.

"This is no fantasy," we hear as we fade into the great crystalline city of Kryptonopolis. It is Brando's Jor-El, presenting a case to the Council of Elders. Three Kryptonian villains who have resisted all attempts at rehabilitation are finally being judged and sentenced. And the audience is already being prepared for Superman II. General Zod, the woman Ursa, and the brute Non are sentenced to eternal imprisonment in the Phantom Zone, a ghastly prison in another dimension.

We then find Jor-El in the ironic position of defending his own unique world-view. He believes Krypton is doomed, that it is being drawn closer to its red sun and will eventually blow up. No one believes him and Van-Dah, Krypton's second greatest scientist, insists that Krypton is merely shifting its orbit.

Jor-El promises to keep his views to himself and that neither he nor his wife Lara will leave Krypton. But no one thinks to ask about the kid.

Jor-El is constructing a space-cradle of living crystal that will take his infant son, Kal-El, to Earth. His wife, Lara, played by Susannah York, is somewhat dubious and worried about Kal-El. "He won't BE one of them," she says. But when she says that she's worried about Kal-El being isolated and alone, Jor-El looks at and through the sole colored crystal, colored Green, and replies that he will never be alone.

Jor-El has finished construction on the rocket in the nick of time as Krypton begins to shake apart. As the flying chandelier escapes Krypton's atmosphere, the planet literally shakes apart, its gravity runs wild, and the silence of space is shaken by the explosion of Krypton and the near extinction of the Kryptonian race.

Baby Kal-El passes through galaxy after galaxy as the ship sustains him and educates him with the voice of Jor-El. Three years later, in 1951, the rocket lands on Earth in Smallville, U.S.A.

The film's first act of outer space fantasy gives way to a Normal Rockwell image of small town America in the fifties. The rocket is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, played by Glen Ford and Phyllis Thaxter. Martha immediately wants to keep the baby, but Jonathan is concerned. As he changes the tire that blew out when the rocket flared past them, their truck dislodges from the jack and suddenly, baby Kal-El, wrapped in his red cape, lifts the truck over his head with a big wide smile on his face. The reality of their responsibility hits them as they turn and look at the rocket one more time. And the baby has a new home and a new name: Clark Kent.

Years pass and young Clark, played by Jeff East (whose voice was dubbed over by Christopher Reeve; if you want to hear East's real voice, he appears as a young military officer on television's M*A*S*H a few years later), is a student at Smallville High School. He's already taken to playing it mild-mannered as he is the football team's water boy with responsibility for stacking and cleaning the team's uniforms. Lana Lang is head cheerleader and Clark is smitten with her. She even invites him to go with her friends to listen to records, but wise-acre fellow student Brad (revealed to be Brad Wilson in 1983's Superman III) has knocked over the bench where Clark had just finished stacking the uniforms. Clark is mortified in front of Lana and the kids drive off, leaving Clark behind. Clark expresses his frustration on a football, which he kicks out of orbit, and then decides to race an express train back to the farm.

He arrives back at the Kent farm just as the car with Lana and Brad drives by and the kids are astounded by how Clark got home so fast. After they drive off, Clark is chastised by his father, Jonathan, about the importance of keeping his powers a secret and his firm belief that Clark had been sent here for a reason.

(Note: It's no secret that the creators of television's current hit, Smallville, have been inspired in largest part by the "Smallville" act of Superman: The Movie and found a way to extrapolate the dialogue from that scene into an entire TV series.)

It's a good thing that Jonathan has that opportunity to teach his son that lesson because, by the time he's finished, he has a heart attack and dies.

At Jonathan's funeral, Clark laments "All those powers and I couldn't even save him..." as he and Ma Kent walk off with the other mourners.

Some time later, Clark is awakened in the middle of the night by a noise in his head that appears to be summoning him. He follows it to the barn and uncovers his rocketship from its hiding place and discovers a green crystal. Day breaks and he stands alone in the wheat fields contemplating his future. Ma Kent, now silver-haired, joins him and he tells her that he has to go North, but that Ben Hubbard has agreed to help her with the farm in Clark's absence. They embrace one last time and Clark begins his trek.

Arriving in the North Pole, the green crystal is still communicating with him. He inherently realizes he has found the right spot and tosses the crystal, where it lands in the ice and appears to melt into the ice itself. Suddenly, even Clark is unsure what is happening, as the ice reshapes itself into Superman's crystalline Fortress of Solitude, a little piece of Krypton in Santa's neighborhood.

Clark enters the Fortress and continues to follow instinct, placing one of the crystals into the control panel. The visage of long-dead Jor-El appears before him and finally Clark is going to get some answers on who he is, why he's so different, and what he's here for. Jor-El's spiritual education takes twelve years of Clark's life and when spirit and body are reunited, it is Christopher Reeve in the Superman costume who is ready to begin his mission. Superman suddenly flies, right toward the camera for the very first time, as Williams' triumphant Main Theme builds.

Act III takes us to Metropolis. This is the Act of the film that most resembles a comic book in tone and Donner intended it that way.

Clark Kent gets a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter on the city beat. Lois Lane, played by Margot Kidder, is put off by this. "Chief, that's my beat," she exclaims, to which editor Perry White matter-of-factly responds: "Look, Clark Kent may seem like just a mild-mannered reporter. But he has a snappy punchy prose style ... and he is in my 40 years in this business, the fastest typist I've ever seen."

Meanwhile, Hackman's Luthor, in his underground lair beneath Grand Central Station, is cleaning up after his henchman, Otis, played with such incredible glee and naivety by Ned Beatty. Otis had allowed himself to be followed by two Metropolis police officers on a simple mission to get Lex a copy of the Daily Planet. Cleanup, to Lex, is simple: murder.

The Daily Planet's headline that the XK-101 rockets are ready to be launched heralds the beginning of Luthor's grand real estate swindle scheme. "What is this obsession you have, all the time, with land?" asks Luthor's buxom assistant, Eve Teschmacher, played by Valerie Perrine.

"Ms. Teschmacher, when I was six years old, my father said ..."

"GET OUT!", she quips back.

Luthor laughs. "Before that. He said, 'Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse, people are no damn good, but they will always need land and they'll pay through the nose to get it. Remember, my father said ...land. It's a pity he didn't see from such humble beginnings how I've created this empire."

Eve is unimpressed with the empire, living underground isn't necessarily her idea of a good time. But even Otis knows what Lex is going to say next as they say it in unison -- "What more could anyone ask?"

Meanwhile, back at the Daily Planet, Clark is settling into his new job and he's smitten with girl reporter Lois Lane. After faking a faint so that he could catch a mugger's bullet that would've hit Lois, she's disgusted. But there's something more to Clark Kent that clearly intrigues her as he makes a "wild guess" as to the exact contents of her purse.

Later, Lois is rushing off to meet up with the President's airplane, Air Force One, for an interview. Clark gets the brush off as he asks her for a date, but he does get the privilege of depositing Lois' mail in a mailbox. As Clark waits for his elevator down, Lois has gone up -- to the roof of the Daily Planet. The Daily Planet helicopter is going to give her a ride to the airport to meet Air Force One.

But, things go awry as they only can in Metropolis. The helicopter snags a wire as it lifts off and the chopper pilot loses control, leaving the copter spinning out of control and eventually smashing into the side of the Daily Planet building. The chopper pilot is unconscious, and Lois is hanging on for dear life.

By the time all this has happened, Clark has finally found that "down" elevator and emerged outside the Daily Planet building. Quickly surveying the situation as well as the identity of the person in jeopardy, he runs off, giving a quick, for-the-audience glance at the at-that-time still new half telephones that replaced full phone booths. No problem for Clark, though, as he finds a revolving door and literally spins into SUPERMAN.

Excusing himself from the pimp who is impressed with his outfit, Superman flies off and, just in the nick of time, catches Lois who has fallen out of the damaged copter. "Easy Miss, I've got you."

"You've got me? Who's got you?"

Superman chuckles as if it's everyday that a man flies out of the sky and catches a damsel in distress. The helicopter then dislodges from the building and plummets toward them. Superman catches the copter with one hand, still holding onto Lois with the other, and flies them up to the Daily Planet roof.

"Who, who are you?" Lois stammers.

"A friend," Superman says with a smile, flying off and leaving Lois behind who does the only natural thing -- she faints.

Superman has now made himself known to the world and wastes no time righting wrongs. By the end of his first night in Metropolis, he has saved a kitty from a tree, stopped a burglar, foiled a robbery getaway, and saved Air Force One from crashing.

The world has gone Superman crazy. The next day's Daily Planet headline: Caped Wonder Stuns City. Jackie Cooper's Perry White wants "the name of this flying whatchamacallit to go with the Daily Planet like bacon and eggs, franks and beans, death and taxes, politics and corruption...." While Clark is obviously concerned that Superman retain his autonomy, Lois has received a note from "a friend" suggesting an 8pm rendezvous at her place.

That night, Lois puts on her best dress, pours champagne, and waits on her terrace, a terrace she couldn't possibly afford on a reporter's salary.

Superman arrives, slightly late, and Lois interviews him as they innocently flirt with one another like teenagers discovering love for the first time. By the time Superman has offered to take Lois for a spin around the city with him, she's enthralled. "Clark said you're just a figment of somebody's imagination, like Peter Pan."

"Clark, uh, who's that? Your boyfriend?" Superman, you sly one you.

"Oh Clark, he's nothing, he's nobo..."

"Peter Pan, huh? Peter Pan flew with children, Lois, in a fairy tale," Superman responds and off they go.

The flirting continues and we hear Lois' inner thoughts, as she speaks the words to "Can You Read My Mind?"

They return to Lois' apartment and Superman flies off. "What a super man ... Superman!" Lois has a name for the Man of Steel and it just might stick.

Then Clark arrives for a date. "Goodness Lois, didn't you hear me knocking?"

But Lois' spirit is still soaring over the city with thoughts of Superman. Clark considers telling all in a moment where Reeve demonstrates exactly how effective a pair of glasses, a slouch, and a change in voice pitch can be.

The next day's Daily Planet headline is a Lois Lane exclusive, "I Spent the Night With Superman". Ms. Teschmacher focuses on the important things -- "he's six foot four, has black hair, blue eyes, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and tells the truth."

But Lex cares more about Krypton. Applying his analytically criminal mind to the task, Luthor reasons that Krypton's remains would have landed on Earth in the form of meteorites and that the specific radiation of the stones would be lethal to Superman. "Wait a minute, you mean fire and bullets can't kill this guy, but this stuff here..." Otis says, to which all continue in unison, "will kill him." So it's off to Addis Ababa to recover a meteorite that Lex believes to be Kryptonite.

Luthor then continues with his plan and waylays the two XK-101 rockets so that his assistants can change the coordinates to Lex's intended targets. One of those targets is California's San Andreas fault line. The other? We never find out as Otis inadvertently enters the wrong coordinates so that the second rocket will target Hackensack, New Jersey. Double jeopardy for a super guy. (Note: The leader of the Army convoy is played by Larry Hagman, who was still known only as Major Nelson from TV's I Dream of Jeannie and was about to burst out as J.R. Ewing on TV's landmark Dallas.)

Time passes and it's another day at the Daily Planet. Clark is looking for Lois, but Perry wants to see Clark. Perry tells Clark that he sent Lois and Jimmy out west to investigate a land fraud deal as some unknown party (i.e., Lex Luthor) was purchasing up hundreds of acres of worthless desert property at exorbitant rates. As Perry continues, his obsession with Superman continues, urging Clark to get Lois to introduce them. But, suddenly, Lex Luthor, speaking at an ultra-high frequency that only Superman and dogs can hear, warns Superman that he is going to release a propane-lithium compound into the Metropolis sewer ducts, effectively annihilating half the population of Metropolis. This, Lex says, is in lieu of an invitation to tea.

Clark slips out as Perry's rant continues, and finds an open window. This is most definitely a job for Superman!

Superman tracks the signal to its source and burrows underground to Luthor's Lair where the hero and the arch-enemy meet for the first time face to face. The propane-lithium thing was just a fake-out, Lex tells Superman, and he was just kidding around. "Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the deaths of innocent people?"

"No," Luthor answers coldly, "by causing the deaths of innocent people."

Luthor slowly divulges the details of his plan to Superman as the two rockets are fired and begin to head to Luthor's targets, not the military's.

Luthor's scheme is to sink California into the ocean, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and to rebuild the West Coast with the desert land that he owns. Lex Luthor would own the new West Coast.

"Costa del Lex, Luthorville, Marina del Lex, Otisburg ... Otisburg?" Otis erases his dream, but Superman remains focused.

"You're a dreamer, Lex Luthor. A sick twisted dreamer. Your plan couldn't possibly work."

But that's when Lex lets it spill -- the plan is already in action. He also insinuates that he could stop it all right now with his detonator, but for one little problem: he won't tell Supes where the detonator is.

Superman, who let slip in his interview with Lois that he can't see through lead, thinks Lex has hidden it in a lead case and Supey promises to "mold this box into your prison bars." But there is no detonator, just Kryptonite.

Superman feels real pain for the first time and Luthor has even fashioned the Kryptonite into a chain for Superman to wear. Pulling the ultimate villain slip-up of tossing the hero into an escapable trap and leaving him unattended to die, he tosses the Man of Steel into his swimming pool to drown just after telling Supes that the second missile is headed to Hackensack.

Ms. Teschmacher's mother lives in Hackensack and she's torn. Slipping away from Lex, she makes Superman promise to stop the Hackensack missile first if she saves him. He does. So she does. Before tossing the Kryptonite down the sewer, she gives Supey a peck on the lips. "Why, why did you kiss me first?" he asks.

"Because I didn't think you'd let me later.... Why is it I can't get it on with the good guys?"

Superman acknowledges her sacrifice, tells her to stand aside and to leave Luthor's Lair ASAP, and flies off to stop the rockets.

Superman grabs the Hackensack rocket just in the nick of time and flings it into space, but just as he has flown it out of Earth's orbit, the other rocket reaches its target and has triggered a massive California earthquake.

This is definitely a job for Superman.

Superman's first mission - stop the quake from creating additional damage by literally lifting up California's fault line. Then he has time to deal with the people already in jeopardy from the quake -- a bus full of children hanging off the teetering Golden Gate Bridge, Jimmy hanging on for dear life as Hoover Dam literally bursts under his feet, and stopping the rushing waters from flooding nearby towns by constructing a makeshift dam out of rocks.

That's when he realizes that he has forgotten one thing -- LOIS.

Zooming off to find Lois and make sure she's managed to avoid trouble (though probably knowing better), he finds her car buried by the quake and Lois dead.

Superman kneels over Lois's lifeless body for hours, considering what to do next, and finally gives in to his own desires, screaming out desperately as he flies up toward the sky. He is met by the voice of Jor-El, who warns him yet again about interfering in human history. Then he hears his Earth father's own voice, telling him he's here for a reason, and finally, his own voice as he lamented having powers and not being able to save his Earth father.

Determined, Superman disobeys Jor-El and flies around the world in reverse, which has the effect of reversing time. It is unclear exactly how much time he has reversed, how much of the quake anyone lived through in the new timeline, or what he did to prevent all the same things from happening again after he had reversed time. But, leaving that alone for now, he reappears at Lois's car just as the "stupid car runs out of gas."

Initially, Lois berates Superman for not being there as she's driving through the quake with telephone poles falling all over the road. Superman apologizes (when he should just smack her) and says, with all humility, that "I've been kind of busy for a while."

Jimmy catches up with Lois and Superman just as they are about to kiss. Superman flies off as his job is unfinished, seemingly blissfully unaware of how Lois and Jimmy are going to get out of the desert.

Superman flies Luthor and Otis into the walls of the Metropolis Penitentiary, where he is met by the Warden. "I think these two men should be safe here with you, Warden, until they can get a fair trial."

"Who is it, Superman?" the warden asks, but it is Luthor who replies. Pulling off his toupee, he reveals his bald head for the first time.

"Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of all time. I hereby serve notice that these walls ..."

But Otis's sincere attempt to back up his lord and master's words just annoys Lex as the two are carted off to a cell.

"This country is safe again, Superman, thanks to you," the Warden says as Supey ascends.

"No Sir. Don't thank me, Warden. We're all part of the same team. Goodnight."

The music builds to a crescendo, the Man of Steel flies high above the Earth (used again and again at the end of Superman II, III and IV), and the credits roll.

Wow.

Don't forget that Superman: The Movie is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
Written By: Barry Freiman [Contact]

Superman has never had an easy time of it. After all, most critics of the character decry him as "too powerful", "able to do anything", "juggle planets", and too "goody goody". Only Richard Donner had the vision to use all of that to his advantage by creating a world where he did in fact exist as a "goody goody". At the same time as Superman was breaking down Lois's emotional walls, he was doing the same thing to audiences.

There are so many incredible talents responsible for making Superman into an epic and they all deserve recognition. It truly was the right team for that film, even though many on the team didn't get along during production, i.e., Donner and the producers.
One has to give the Salkinds credit for taking the shot in the dark in the first place. No matter what wound up transpiring between Richard Donner and the Salkinds, they took a tremendous risk financially that no one else, not even the owners of the character, were willing to take.

Then we have Richard Donner, who did not make an "action film" or a "blockbuster", but created an epic story. His decision to create distinct atmospheres and attitudes for each of the three principal acts of the film was crucial to the film's universal appeal. And Donner himself as Director hired just the right talents to assist him: from Tom Mainkewicz to Stuart Baird to Lynn Stalmaster to composer John Williams. And one of his finest choices was Geoffrey Unsworth as cinematographer. Unsworth was from "old Hollywood" and he was beloved on the set and had an incredible eye for lighting a scene just right.

As even Donner himself says, no one but Christopher Reeve could have been Superman. It isn't that he's an unknown that made him so believable; the casting agent saw a lot of unknowns. It was Chris' determination to find real-world motivations for fantasy characters. It was his decision to ape Carey Grant in his clumsy Clark Kent persona. It was his decision not to speak like a super-hero in terms of tone of voice. He felt that the suit spoke for itself and chose to underplay Superman, which just made audiences like the character more.

And while the crew deserves accolades for making a man fly so successfully in a pre-CGI world, Donner has said that it was principally Chris's commitment to actually looking like he was flying by using his arms and legs, the only parts of his body that could freely move in the harness, to simulate the movements that an actual flying man would make. As Superman flies toward the camera for the first time in the Fortress of Solitude, Chris actually contorts his body in such a way that he manages a fly-by right in front of the camera that went well beyond what anyone there expected to film that day. Reeve has always had an interest in aviation and that experience suited him well in flying sequences.

Kidder's Lois Lane was less the "together" Lois of the comic books that existed at the time, and more of a driven career girl, with more in common with The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Mary Richards than the "girls are icky" persona that for a long time motivated the character of Lois Lane in comics. This was Lois Lane for the mid-1970's and it worked perfectly. What I always appreciated about Kidder's Lois Lane throughout the entire Superman series was how, with each sequel (ignoring the quality of the sequel in question), she became less and less cynical, which, in fact, is at the essence of the Superman and Lois relationship. In Superman, she's jibing Big Blue that he's going to end up fighting every elected official in the country in his quest for truth, justice, and the American way; and, by Superman IV, she's the first one on her feet applauding in the U.N. building when Superman vows to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

As with almost any film, there are a lot of nitpick moments that make the film less than absolutely perfect. Superman's flying around the world in reverse is the most obvious candidate for critique. The ending seemed a bit rushed and, given the production woes, it probably was. When Superman and Superman II were being filmed simultaneously, the Hackensack missile would have cracked open the Phantom Zone at the end of Superman, and Superman would simply have saved the West Coast and Lois without changing time. According to Mainkewicz, the reversing time ending was actually planned for Superman II after the villains from Krypton had pretty much demolished Metropolis and killed Lois. They felt it was a nice fairy-tale style ending to the film and, because the idea of there being a Superman II was no longer certain, a decision was made to use what they considered to be the better ending for the first film. The time travel implications aside, it is a poetic ending to the film, and does leave sufficient questions open for there to be a sequel.

As time has gone on, Superman's significance to film history has been overshadowed in large part by Star Wars, which George Lucas had released a year earlier in 1977. There was a lot of special effects team crossover between the two projects and, in fact, the Superman production is as significant to the evolution of special effects in film as Star Wars, if not more so. We'd already seen outer space in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Integrating a Super Man into a real world, and inventing technologies on the spot to make these things look real, were monumental steps in film-making.

Superman: The Movie has a loyal fan following, which resulted in large part in the release of a special edition DVD which remastered the film and added eight remastered minutes of footage into the special edition cut of the film, all under the watchful eye of Donner.

Superman is super, that's my verdict.


Rewind Factor: 9.9

Marlon Brando was infamous for refusing to memorize dialogue. Brando's style of acting called for the use of cue cards and inconspicuously placed scripts throughout the sets. Brando felt that, when real people talk, they don't know what the next thing coming out of their mouth is going to be until their brain creates it. So, to Brando, the best way to simulate the spontaneity of real conversation was to read his dialogue.

When Brando met Donner for the first time, Brando seemed to "test" Donner and see how far he could push him. Brando had suggested that, because Kryptonians were aliens, Jor-El could just as easily be a suitcase or a green bagel with Brando's voice instead of a humanoid. Donner wasn't buying.

Brando shot all of his footage for "Superman II" with Richard Donner and all of that footage was excised from Superman II when Richard Lester was officially made Director of record on the sequel. The Salkinds have suggested that they did not need Brando's star power anymore because, since the first film's release, their Superman, Reeve, had himself become a superstar. Ironically, Reeve has publicly stated he feels "Superman II" suffers for the lack of the scenes he shot with Brando's Jor-El.

The theatrical print of the film doesn't make this clear but, with the footage added into the Special Edition DVD, it is clear: Jor-El discovered the Phantom Zone. This is verbatim from the comic books where Jor-El was indeed Krypton's greatest scientist whose achievements included the discovery of the Phantom Zone.

General Zod is a character also lifted from the DC Comic Books, though Non and Ursa are original creations of the movie-makers. Jor-El's brief mention during the sentencing of Zod that Zod was once charged with maintaining the Planet Krypton's defenses is again verbatim from the comic books. At that time, General Zod had indeed been the high General in charge of Krypton's defense, until he went mad and wound up in the Phantom Zone much like in the film.

The character of Ursa, in attitude and look, was probably inspired by the comic book Phantom Zone villain, Faora Hull, also a tough chick Phantom Zone resident.

What can I say about Non? About as much as he'd say, I suppose.

The movie-makers' vision of Krypton as a cold and crystalline planet of emotionlessly evolved people was a significant departure from the comic book Krypton. In the comic books, Krypton had always been depicted as a Utopia of sorts. Jor-El, in fact, wore a bright green outfit most times with an emblem not of the "S", but of a bright red sun (like the one around which their planet revolved). And the "S" logo had never been interpreted to be some kind of Kryptonian family crest before either, but rather something Clark thought up himself. In 1987, writer and artist John Byrne was charged with the task of re-inventing Superman. He started with a six issue miniseries titled Man of Steel, which retold Superman's origin. For the first time, in the comics, Krypton was seen not as a Utopia, but as a race that had lost all feeling and emotion eons ago. Clearly, the film influenced the comic book in many ways. The family crest idea behind Superman's "S" hasn't shown up in the comic books yet, but it has been used since, including on television's Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and the current hit, Smallville.

The Smallville scenes could not be shot in Kansas because the crew was mostly British and so Union rules made it difficult, so they shot in Canada where they grew wheat especially.

Lana Lang's brief cameo in the Smallville High scene and the rude jock, Brad, who prevents Clark from coming with them to listen to records (at Mary Ellen's no less), inspired the storyline behind "Superman III", where Clark returns to Smallville, meets up with Lana again, and has to face down with Brad again. While Lana Lang has a long-standing history in the comic books -- created as a teenage version of Lois originally to bother Superboy -- the character Brad, given the last name "Wilson" in Superman III, was a new character created for the film.

As the football players are running off the field in uniform, two players seem somewhat out of place. They are wearing gray sweats and as they run past the camera, they each do a 360 to turn briefly and face the camera. That's because these two won a contest sponsored by DC Comics to appear in the Superman movie.

DC Comics published one-page periodic updates on Superman: The Movie's progress throughout 1977 and 1978 and, in one cast listing, they included in the cast "Krypto" (who is Superman's super-powered white dog) as playing himself. Very funny.

After Clark kicks the football into outer space, he races a speeding express train and is seen by a little girl. In the theatrical print, the little girl is nameless and has no lines. In the new DVD, it's revealed that the little girl is actually Lois Lane. And, in fact, Lois's parents sitting beside her are played by Noell Neill (who portrayed Lois Lane in the movie serials and on TV's Adventures of Superman with the exception of the first season) and Kirk Allyn (who portrayed Superman in the movie serials before George Reeves took on the part for TV).

One of the few "pop" songs that can be heard during the film is "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets, playing on the car radio driven by the Smallville High kids. Later in the film, Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit" can be heard as Lois is pulling into the gas station prior to the Earthquake.

Although some reviewers wondered how it was that Martha Kent went completely gray-haired (or, if you ask Clark, "silver-haired") overnight. In the Special Edition DVD, the answer is made clear by adding a few seconds of Martha coming down into the kitchen, feeding her bird, and calling for Clark to give the impression of the passage of time so that it doesn't seem like Clark is ditching his Mom right after his Dad died.

The task of casting a teenage Clark Kent was difficult because the filmmakers felt it was important that he look and sound like Chris Reeve. As a result, Jeff East, who played young Clark, wore a prosthetic nose and his voice was dubbed over in all of his scenes by Chris Reeve.

Baby Kal-El, played by Aaron Smolinski, appears again in a cameo in Superman III, as the boy at the Photo-booth that Clark uses to change into Superman.

As Krypton explodes, you can slowly see the debris changing color to green, as in green Kryptonite.

In the comic books, Siegel and Schuster, Superman's creators, invented "Superboy" in the 1940's, establishing the idea that Superman was doing his saving the world gig from the time he was eight years old in Smallville. In the comic books, DC had a general guideline that, whatever year it was in the present, any comic with Superboy was set 10 years prior to that present. This got a little silly by the late 1970's when Clark's Superboy became a creature of the late 60's. When Byrne re-invented Superman in 1987, he did away with the idea that Clark was a costumed teenage hero in Smallville. In fact, as the legend goes now, Clark's powers developed slowly on Earth and he didn't even learn to fly until his late teenage years.

In the first episode of the 1952-1957 Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, titled "Superman on Earth", which recaps the Man of Steel's origins, a frustrated Perry White is unable to open a bottle. He calls for Lois Lane who opens it right away. At that moment, Clark enters Perry's office, having snuck out on the building ledge to get in for a job interview with Perry. It would appear that scene was adapted for 1978 when Kidder's Lane shakes the bottle that Perry can't open during Clark's job interview.

Margot Kidder's principal competition for the role of Lois Lane was Stockard Channing who instead went on to play Betty Rizzo in 1978's Grease.

Only Marc McClure, as Jimmy Olsen, appeared in all five of the Superman family of movies, including 1984's Supergirl.

Lois refers to having a sister with a mortgage and cats as she and Clark are leaving the office before the helicopter scene. In the comics, Lois has only a younger sister, Lucy Lane, who in fact appears in the film series in Supergirl, played by Maureen Teefy.

The first night that Chris was hoisted on a crane to film flying scenes in New York City was the night of the infamous 1977 blackout.

Hackman was not interested in wearing a skull cap throughout the movie to mimic the bald Luthor of comic book history so the filmmakers conceived of the idea that Lex would be vain and have an extensive collection of toupees. Only in the last scene of the film does Hackman reveal a bald head to the Prison Warden. In fact, Hackman didn't even want to shave his mustache to play Luthor until tricked into doing so by Donner (evoking memories of Ceasar Romero's Joker on TV's Batman who likewise refused to shave his mustache, though in the case of the Joker, they simply put white makeup over the 'stache).

Larry Hagman isn't the only "big-name TV star" to appear in Superman. John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on TV's hit Cheers, plays a military man in the missile control scene. He appears again in Superman II monitoring the activities of the astronauts on the Moon who are killed by the Kryptonian bad guys.

Richard Lester was brought onto the set of Superman as a liaison between Donner and the producers. Lester was owed significant sums of money by the Salkinds for his work on the Three Musketeers films and he was eager to take on work with the Salkinds if that meant getting paid. Donner was fired after Superman was released and Lester was already on board so he simply got bumped up to Director and finished Superman II. Lester is one of the few major players in the Superman film series who does not speak publicly about the films. As a result, he's been vilified to a large extent by fans who believe that Donner's vision is the predominant one in "Superman II" though Lester got the credit. Lester took on full directing duties from day one with "Superman III".

Puzo's original script for Superman weighed in at over 500 pages and pieces of it found their way not only into the first two films, but Superman III as well. One scene had a love struck Superman accidentally flying into the Leaning Tower of Pisa and straightening it. That scene was adapted -- poorly -- for "Superman III".

By the 1970's, the comic book Clark Kent did not even work for the Daily Planet anymore. Galaxy Communications had purchased the Daily Planet and Galaxy's CEO, Morgan Edge, promoted Clark to Television Reporter. By 1978, not only was Clark anchoring the WGBS news, but his co-anchor was none other than former teen sweetheart Lana Lang. The movie's reliance on the mythic presence of the Daily Planet resonated back into the comic books and eventually the TV thing was phased out of comic book continuity.

The helicopter scene took more than six months to shoot in two different countries.

Superman: The Movie premiered on ABC-TV in 1980 and was presented as a two-night event. Just about 40 minutes of footage was re-inserted into the film to fit the movie into two nights. The principal sponsor of the TV broadcast was Atari. Donner disassociates himself from this extended version of the movie. Apparently, as the Salkinds sold more and more of their rights back to Warner Brothers in exchange for financial help, they held tightly onto their TV broadcast rights so they added as much footage as possible to maximize their revenues. There are detailed discussions of the footage added on sites such as Superman Homepage and Superman Cinema. One scene conspicuously absent from the ABC broadcast was the later-introduced scene where Superman returns to the Fortress of Solitude to talk to Jor-El after revealing himself to the world. One possible theory for not including that scene is that it would have required the Salkinds pay Brando more money. However, that scene did show up, along with another new scene, in what has now been referred to as the KCOP-TV version of the film. In the 1990's, Viacom syndicated Superman and local stations had the option to take the extended cut of the film. It was first shown on KCOP in Los Angeles, which is where it got its moniker, and it was also shown twice on WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. In 2001, WB released Superman: The Movie Special Edition DVD. Donner and a team of film restorers remastered the video and sound, and added only eight minutes of footage into the film's special edition, including the Brando/Reeve scene.

Superman: The Movie was the only film of the four Superman films not released at summertime as it had a December 1978 release date.

The premiere for Superman was a benefit for Special Olympics attended by, among others, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Amy Carter.

While Warner Books did release a novel to coincide with the release of the film, the novel was not an adaptation of the film. Prolific comic writer Elliott S! Maggin wrote Superman: The Last Son of Krypton as a serious novel that was clearly based in comic book continuity. A really fascinating plot point in Maggin's novel involved a probe that Jor-El sent to Earth designed to seek out the planet's greatest mind to be Kal-El's caretaker. However, Albert Einstein, who received the message, realized he wasn't the man for the job and arranged for the Kents to be driving by as the rocket landed. The book did include photographic stills from the movie. This was done again with Superman II with a book titled Superman: Miracle Monday. Superman III, Supergirl, and Superman IV all had direct novelization adaptations.

Characters in the film with comic book origins are: Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lex Luthor, Jor-El, Lara, Ma and Pa Kent, and Lana Lang.

Jackie Cooper, who played Perry White, before Superman, was best known as being one of the Little Rascals.

Kryptonite hadn't appeared in the comics for quite some time before the film's release as DC creators thought it was becoming too easy an out to place Supey in jeopardy. So, in the early 1970's, all Kryptonite on Earth had been accidentally transformed into ordinary iron. Only after Superman: The Movie came out did Kryptonite return in full force in the comics. In fact, Kryptonite is not a creation of the comic books. It was a plot device invented by the scripters of the 1940's radio show to allow Bud Collyer, the voice of Clark and Superman, to take a vacation for two weeks. They pre-recorded Collyer's moaning voice and trapped Superman in a closet with Kryptonite for two weeks and Collyer had a nice vacation and the Superman legacy had a new piece of the myth.

In removing the idea of "Superboy" from the film, they also removed the idea of Clark and Lex growing up together in Smallville, which was comic book canon by that point. Of course, Hackman's Luthor was several years older than Clark Kent.

It is never revealed what the precise planned location had been for the second rocket had Otis not inadvertently set the coordinates for Hackensack, New Jersey.

Do you know some Superman: The Movie trivia that we could add? [Please send it in]


Principal filming took place at the soundstages of Pinewood Studios in England. This is true for all the Salkind-produced Superman films. Most of the Krypton and North Pole/Fortress of Solitude scenes were shot on elaborate soundstages in Pinewood as was Luthor's underground lair.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada was used for the wheatfields of Smallville, Kansas. Filming in Kansas was out as the Kansas wheatfields had already been harvested at the time of filming. (Though it looks like an identical, but older, version of the same place, a different location was used to recreate the Kent farm in 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.)

New York, New York, so great they named it twice, substituted for Metropolis, the fictional metropolis where Superman and his alter ego work and live. The Daily News Building on 43rd Street in Manhattan filled in for the fictional great metropolitan newspaper, The Daily Planet. This explains why the Daily News' reviewer at the time, Rex Reed, appeared in the film. It may also explain why Reed's review of Supergirl in November 1984 was the least scathing of the New York newspaper reviews. Some interior work was done in the Daily News lobby as Clark tells Lois how "swell" his first day of work was for him. The magnificent Earth globe in the Daily News building that appeared in Superman I was recreated -- poorly -- for a scene shot in the lobby of the Daily Planet building in 1987's Superman IV with an obviously inflatable globe.

Note: The first night of crane work coincided with the 1977 New York City Blackout and Reeve spent some time stuck up in the sky in the dark -- New York reporters seized the opportunity to both ham it up afterward that Superman was useless to New York during its blackout and to snap some of the earliest media photographs of Reeve in air in costume.

Some exterior work filmed in New York City that appeared in the theatrical print of Superman appears again in Superman II and Superman III. One particular short sequence is the establishing exterior shot of the Daily Planet Building, with the same shot used in Superman, Superman II, and Superman III. The extras are the same in all three shots (one particular blonde man with a shag 70's 'do stands out especially by 1983's Superman III). Also noticeable is the fruit cart selling fruit outside the Planet Building that would have "caught" Kidder's Lois Lane after she jumped out of the Daily Planet building at the beginning of Superman II (a scene that, though filmed, was nixed with much of Donner's Superman II footage when Richard Lester came on as director of record -- see 1980's Superman II at the original fast-rewind.com for an extended discussion of the director issue on Superman II).

Actual New York City landmarks featured in the film include not just the Daily News Building, but also the former Pan Am (now Met Life) building, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building (featured even more prominently in the special effects laden battle scene in Superman II and given its Metropolis name, the Metropolis Tower, as opposed to the Empire State Building, in 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace), and the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty returns to the Superman franchise in Superman IV in what may be one of her poorest career choices to date -- except perhaps for her misinformed decision to participate in Ghostbusters 2.

New York City not only gave Superman a live-action Metropolis, but also a Superman. After a world wide search for a Man of Steel, Reeve initially met with producers in New York City where he was doing theater. Similarly, a world wide search years later for a Girl of Steel resulted in New York born and bred newcomer Helen Slater's casting as the lead in 1984's Supergirl.

Can you help? Do you know any of the filming locations used for Superman: The Movie? [Please send them in]

Superman: The Movie DVD  Superman: The Movie on DVD?
 
DVD Help / More info
[USA or Region 1 DVD]
[16:9 -Widescreen Enhanced][5.1 CH SURROUND]Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, Notes, OutTakes, Score
Our Comments: What all DVDs should be.
[UK / Europe or Region 2 DVD]
[16:9 -Widescreen Enhanced]
[5.1 CH SURROUND]
Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, Notes, OutTakes, Score
Our Comments: 4 disk Special Edition due 20th November 2006!
 
Superman: The Movie Soundtrack

This is one of John Williams' most magnificent and triumphant scores, almost as mythic as the character himself. The Superman theme is so integral to the character, it's even been used on TV's Smallville and during the opening credits of a short lived 1987 Superman cartoon, produced by Ruby Spears

Williams followed the course set by Donner and even the music specifically fits the particular Act of the film that we're in. The Krypton music is majestic and almost operatic with a sense of tragedy to it.

The 'Leaving Home' and other Smallville music simply reinforces the Norman Rockwell imagery.

And the music once Superman arrives in Metropolis becomes bouncy and vibrant, like a colorful comic book page, whether it's the Superman theme itself or the simultaneously menacing and comedic tones to Lex Luthor's themes.

The score to Superman is available in many different formats today, though, back in 1978, it was released on LP, cassette, and, yes, eight-track.

In the early 1990's, Warner finally released Superman: The Movie on compact disc, but omitted two tracks from the original release due to time limitations of the technology at the time. A Japanese release, however, became popular in America, because it contained the entire original score.

But even the Japanese version of the score was far from complete. For instance, one of the highlights musically from the film, is Superman's first public appearance, and the helicopter rescue music never appeared on the score.

Rhino Records recently released a special edition Superman Score with many of the previously unreleased tracks included and including several alternate cues.

The pop song, "Can You Read My Mind", made popular by singer Maureen McGovern, was not included in the score, though Margot Kidder's dialogue of the words to that song are included.

If you want to hear the music of Superman: The Movie at its best, I recommend the Rhino release. Track listing:

1. Prelude and Main Title March
2. Planet Krypton, The
3. Destruction of Krypton
4. Star Ship Escapes
5. Trip to Earth, The
6. Growing Up
7. Death of Jonathan Kent
8. Leaving Home
9. Fortress of Solitude, The
10. Welcome to Metropolis
11. Lex Luthor's Lair
12. Big Rescue, The
13. Super Crime Fighter
14. Super Rescues
15. Luther's Luau
16. Planet Krypton (Alternate), The
17. Main Title March (Alternate)

Disc: 2

1. Superman March (Alternate)
2. March of the Villains, The
3. Terrace, The
4. Flying Sequence, The
5. Lois and Clark
6. Crime of the Century
7. Sonic Greeting
8. Misguided Missiles and Kryptonite
9. Chasing Rockets
10. Supefeates
11. Super Dam and Finding Lois
12. Turning Back the World
13. Finale and End Title March
14. Love Theme from Superman
15. Can You Read My MInd (Alternate performed by Margot Kidder)
16. Flying Sequence/Can You Read My Mind
17. Can You Read My Mind (Alternate Instrumental)
18. Theme from Superman
19. March of the Villains
20. Terrace
21. Flying Sequence
22. Lois and Clark
23. Crime of the Century
24. Sonic Greeting
25. Misquided Missiles and Kryptonite
26. Chasing Rockets
27. Superfeats
28. Super Dam and Finding Lois
29. Turning Back the World
30. Finale, and End Title March
31. Love Theme from "Superman"
32. Can You Read My Mind [Alternative] - Margot Kidder
33. Flying Sequence/Can You Read My Mind - Margot Kidder
34. Can You Read My Mind [Alternate: Instrumental - Margot Kidder
35. Theme from Superman [Concert Version]- Margot Kidder

Soundtrack Available: On CD

 


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"You'll Believe a Man Can Fly"

 
Superman: The Movie Picture
Realisation that he's here...
Superman: The Movie Picture
"...Not to Score Touchdowns"
Superman: The Movie Picture
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Truth, Liberty and ...Justice.

Superman: The Movie Movie Details
Year:
1978
Studio:
Warner Brothers
Director:
Richard Donner
Starring:
Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Valerie Perrine, Susannah York
--
Genre:
Action
  
+
Verisimilitude, Richard Donner, Tom Mainkewicz, Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, and yes, for a while, even the Salkinds.
-
The rushed and somewhat convoluted time travel ending. The lack of explanation of how a baby could travel for three years in a rocketship with only one diaper.

Superman: The Movie Links
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There would in all likelihood not be a special edition DVD of Superman without GandalfDC's marvelous UK site.

Superman Homepage
This is daily must reading for any fan of any incarnation of Superman.
DC Comics
They did it first, they did it best.


 

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