211. Superman

Movie: Superman

Release Date: December 15, 1978

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glen Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York.

Tag Lines: “You’ll believe a man can fly.”

“The movie that makes a legend come to life.”

Relevance: I have never been a real “superhero” fan, even as a kid. I never got into comics, in fact to this day, I haven’t even read one. I did watch “Batman” on TV with Adam West and Burt Ward and enjoyed it, but I only got really excited when Batgirl’s motorcycle drove across the opening credits. That meant she was going to be in the episode, and I loved me some Batgirl. I mean, she had the best outfit. Even my Halloween costumes were not superhero related. I was always the scary costume kind of kid. All of that is 100% true as long as you take Superman out of the equation. Him I loved.

I remember watching George Reeves in the television show “The Adventures of Superman” with my dad every Saturday and Sunday. I just loved that character. He was wholesome. He was handsome. He was kind. He fought for truth, justice and the American way and he never lied. Plus, he flew. I always wanted to be able to fly. To this day any ride or activity that has me shooting across the sky, sign me up. I am also hoping in my next life I am a bird of some sort. I had many Superman t-shirts growing up and my favorite Underoos to wear were, you guessed it, Superman. I used to wear them around the house with a blanket tied around my neck and fly. Well, at least in my imagination.

I do not recall the first time that I saw the movie ‘Superman’ with Christopher Reeve, but I do remember the first time that I saw it on HBO. My mom, as mentioned before (see 326. Somewhere In Time), was a huge Christopher Reeve fan. Sometime during the summer in the very early 1980’s my family was visiting with my maternal Grandparents, who lived a block away from us, as well as my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Growing up we spent a lot of time with my Aunt and her family, either visiting them in New Jersey or spending time with them when they came to visit us in Pennsylvania. It was always a loud, fun time. One early evening, still hanging at my Grandparent’s house, my mom announced that she was leaving. She was going home to get ready for ‘Superman’ that was premiering on HBO that night. My dad said, “You already saw it.” She responded, “I want to see Superman in color.” Apparently the last time we saw it was on a black and white television. Leaving my dad and my sister with the rest of the family, I left with her. I wanted to see ‘Superman’ in color as well.

Christopher Reeve was pure perfection as both Superman and Clark Kent to me as a kid. I absolutely loved him in those roles. I loved the movie as well. In fact, I loved everything about it: the story, the characters, the actors, the special effects. It was truly a fantastic movie and it enhanced my love for that superhero tenfold. And boy did my mom enjoy the movie too. A science fiction, superhero movie wasn’t exactly her cup of tea, but she loved her some Christopher Reeve in tights. She also loved the romance between Lois Lane and Superman as well as the comedy that filled the movie thanks to the screenplay and performances. The movie was a family favorite and was watched many times in our household.

As I grew up, Superman continued to be the only real superhero that I loved completely. I have watched all sequels, remakes, reincarnations both on the big and little screen and although I have enjoyed them, there is nothing like the original. To me, Superman is Christopher Reeve and the only film about this character anyone needs to watch is this 1978 Richard Donner classic.

Today’s Thoughts: “It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Superman!” I will never grow tired of that or this character. We could really use a Superman right now to take care of a “thug” (and by “thug” I mean the current President of the United States) lingering around and making 2020 a pretty hideous year. But I digress.

I have not watched ‘Superman’ in probably fifteen years or so. I know that last year I watched ‘Superman II’ on a streaming service. As much as I do enjoy that movie a lot, it is not a part of this project. This is the only time Christopher Reeve in blue tights will be watched this year as part of the project. So I was very excited to sit down today and watch my one true superhero.

What a treat! The film holds up remarkably well, considering it is almost forty-two years since its theatrical run. Sure, some of the effects are a bit dated, but it is still thrilling to watch Superman fly. Christopher Reeve was absolutely made for this role. I loved him in it as a kid, and I loved him in it as an adult. He just makes me smile the entire time. The entire cast is actually quite superb. Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando and Ned Beatty are so good in the film. It is quite the A-list cast for a superhero film, which is one of the reasons why it is one of the best.

I know that I am in the minority when it comes to superheroes and their subsequent movies. I’m just not a real fan of Marvel and DC movies of today. They are okay, but in my opinion there is nothing as thrilling and exciting as Christopher Reeve in ‘Superman.’ He was a hero off the screen and he was by far the best one on the screen.

Awards: Academy Award for Special Achievement, Visual Effects, Les Bowie, Colin Chilvers, Denys N. Coop, Roy Field, Derek Meddings, Zoran Perisic (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Gordon K. McCallum, Graham V Hartstone, Nicholas Le Messurier, Roy Charman (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Stuart Baird (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, John Williams (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture, John Williams (nomination), BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, Christopher Reeve (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, Gene Hackman (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Geoffrey Unsworth (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design/Art Direction, John Barry (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Gordon K. McCallum, Graham V Hartstone, Nicholas Le Messurier, Roy Charman (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Film Registry (2017), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, DC Universe, DVD Availability.

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