Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
United Kingdom/USA, 1978. Dovemead Films, Film Export A.G., International Film Production. Story by Mario Puzo, Screenplay by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, based on the character created by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster. Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Produced by Pierre Spengler. Music by John Williams. Production Design by John Barry. Costume Design by Yvonne Blake. Film Editing by Stuart Baird, Michael Ellis. Academy Awards 1978. Golden Globe Awards 1978. National Board of Review Awards 1978.
Despite an extended opening setup, this is an exciting and inventive film version of the classic comic book superhero. Christopher Reeve is perfectly cast as the man of steel, an alien from another planet who is left on earth by his desperate father (Marlon Brando) and raised by farmers (Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter). When he grows up and discovers his phenomenal abilities, Superman uses them to clean up the city of Metropolis where he works as a reporter under the name of Clark Kent. When the evil Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) steals nuclear weapons in an effort to aim them at the San Andreas fault and send all of California to the bottom of the sea, Superman concentrates his efforts on stopping him, but not before enjoying a little romance with the lovely Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). The visual effects still look pretty spiffy, while Brando received an astonishing $4 million dollars for his brief appearance. Much of the superior sequel was written and filmed during production of this one (though replacement director Richard Lester would reshoot much of Richard Donner’s original footage).