Saturday, August 31, 2019

Superman (1978): Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando


     It was no easy task bringing DC Comics' most prized character to the big screen in the late 1970's. However, after acquiring the rights, changing the writers, director, stars and the production schedule numerous times, Superman (1978) was finally released to fanfare. For the time period (and even now) the special effects were breathtaking, the story was solid, the direction was exact, Gene Hackman became one of the screen's greatest villains, and the film's star... relatively unknown Christopher Reeve, owned the part that would define him for the rest of his life. Some Old Hollywood faces signed on as well... with Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Superman's father, Glenn Ford as Mr. Kent, and 1930's child star Jackie Cooper playing the editor of the Daily Planet. It was the prototype superhero movie, and by default, the template for many superhero films that followed... a true Classic of the genre.
     Having sentenced three criminals to oblivion, Jor-El (Marlon Brando) is unable to convince the council that Krypton is about to be destroyed... 

Superman. 1978: Marlon Brando

     Fearful for the welfare of his son, Kil-El, Jor-El sends him off into space towards the distant planet Earth, where Kil-El will find a suitable environment and his dense-molecular structure will give him super-abilities. He also hopes that his son will use his powers to become a savior for Earth. Three years later, Kil-El crash lands near the rural town of Smallville, where he is found and adopted by the Kents. They name him Clark. The Kents soon discover that Clark is not like the other children... 

Superman. 1978

     Clark realizes it as well, and heads off to discover who he is. A crystal leads him to the Fortress of Solitude, where images of Jor-El inform him of everything he needs to know... 

Superman. 1978

     He is now comfortable with the powers that set him apart. He is now Superman... 

Superman. 1978: Christopher Reeve

     He gets a job at the Daily Planet newspaper, disguising himself as the bumbling Clark Kent... 

Superman. 1978: Christopher Reeve

     But when someone needs rescuing, Superman responds. He also catches the fancy of co-worker Lois Lane (Margot Kidder)... 

Superman. 1978: Christopher Reeve

     But while all this was going on, villain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has bought up a bunch of desert land, hoping to destroy California and be the owner of new valuable beachfront property. And he's just getting started... 

Superman. 1978: Gene Hackman

      Superman must save the world...

Superman. 1978: Christopher Reeve