Superman: the Theatrical Serials Collection

Overview

Chances are that, had they not been resurrected for cable television in the early 1990's (and run regularly on AMC), the two Superman chapter-plays represented here -- Superman and Atom Man Vs. Superman -- would be complete anomalies to anyone under the age of 65 or 70. Owing to contractual restrictions on their distribution after their original releases, they were never revived for broadcast television in the manner of many of the Republic, Universal, and Columbia serials during the late 1950's and 1960's, nor ...
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Overview

Chances are that, had they not been resurrected for cable television in the early 1990's (and run regularly on AMC), the two Superman chapter-plays represented here -- Superman and Atom Man Vs. Superman -- would be complete anomalies to anyone under the age of 65 or 70. Owing to contractual restrictions on their distribution after their original releases, they were never revived for broadcast television in the manner of many of the Republic, Universal, and Columbia serials during the late 1950's and 1960's, nor were the re-edited as feature films in the way that most of the Republic serials and some of the Universal serials were; and unlike the two Batman serials of the 1940's, which were rushed back into theaters in 1966 to take advantage of the craze associated with the Adam West TV series, the Superman serials never saw another airing in theaters. Kirk Alyn's portrayal of the hero will still prove to be new to most people, and may take some getting used to -- he's not as physically imposing as George Reeves, or as good an actor as Christopher Reeve, but he brings a dancer and gymnast's approach to the role that is interesting and different, and does work; and within the limits of acting and portrayals that wer possible in serials, his Clark Kent is entertaining, if not as substantial as what George Reeves was able to do across six seasons of television. The film-to-video transfers -- all full-screen (1.33-to-1) -- are excellent, better than this reviewer remembers the serials looking on cable a decade earlier, and the sound is sharp and consistent; these serials, produced originally by Columbia Pictures, have been far better preserved than the same studio's two Batman serials of the same era. Each serial chapter gets a chapter marker on the DVD and the main bonus feature is a delight, a short entitled "Saturdays With Superman," telling of the character's leap to the big-screen, although they leave out the reason for the 10-year delay in bringing Superman to movies (which was partly a result of the Fleischer Studios' contract to do the Superman cartoons); they do convey the excitement that kids felt upon seeing the first serial, and some of the failed attempts at trying to show Alyn's Superman in flight (he basically turns into a cartoon when he takes to the air, but it's so well done -- reminiscent in many ways of the Fleischers' roto-scoping on their Superman cartoons -- that kids at the time forgave the "cheat"). And it's wonderful to see co-star Noel Neill discussing the two chapterplays in some detail, though one wishes that this featurette ran about 10 or 15 minutes longer and really delved into the pre- and post-history of the production. Still, these won't disappoint fans of the 40's (or even the 50's) version of the character, or the genre -- directors Spencer Bennet and Thomas Carr (who later helmed the first two seasons of the TV series starring Reeves) knew how to keep a plot moving, often like an express train barreing down a mountain, and some of the action sequences will still leave viewers breathless, especially as presented as well as they are here; it all makes one long to see how it really looked up on a 100-foot screen, the way kids saw it in 1948 or 1950.
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Special Features

Saturdays With Superman: Noel Neill and historians Bob Burns, Donald Glut, Gary Grossman, Jim Harmon and Jan Henderson recall the making of these 2 serial adventures; Look, up in th Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman: Excerpts from the new documentary produced by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/28/2006
  • UPC: 012569821255
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Full Frame
  • Time: 8:38:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 21,459

Menu

Disc #1 -- Superman
   Play
   Episodes
      Superman Comes to Earth
      Depths of the Earth
      The Reducer Ray
      Man of Steel
      A Job for Superman!
      Superman in Danger!
      Into the Electric Furnace!
      Superman to the Rescue
      Irresistible Force!
      Between Two Fires
   Special Features: See Disc 4 for Special Features
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         Français
         Español
         Off
Disc #2 -- Superman
   Play
   Episodes
      Superman's Dilemma
      Blast in the Depths
      Hurled to Destruction
      Superman at Bay
      The Payoff
   Special Features: See Disc 4 for Special Features
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         Français
         Español
         Off
Disc #3 -- Atom Man Vs. Superman
   Play
   Episodes
      Superman Flies Again
      Atom Man Appears!
      Ablaze in the Sky!
      Superman Meets Atom Man!
      Atom Man Tricks Superman
      Atom Man's Challenge
      At the Mercy of Atom Man!
      Into the Empty Doom!
      Superman Crashes Through
   Special Features: See Disc 4 for Special Features
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         Français
         Español
         Off
Disc #4 -- Atom Man Vs. Superman
   Play
   Episodes
      Atom Man's Heat Ray
      Luthor's Strategy
      Atom Man Strikes!
      Atom Man's Flying Saucers
      Rocket of Vengeance
      Superman Saves the Universe
   Special Features
      Saturdays With Superman
      Look, up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman Excerpts From the New Documentary Produced by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         Français
         Español
         Off
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