Starring: Kirk Alyn as Superman/Clark Kent Noel Neill as Lois Lane Lyle Talbot as Luthor/The Atom Man Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen Pierre Watkin as Perry White Jack Ingram as Foster (dapper henchman) Don C. Harvey as Albor (lab henchman) Rusty Wescoatt as Carl (beefy henchman) Terry Frost as Baer (medium henchman)
Special Features: Includes the 1948 “Superman” serial and the 1950 “Atom Man vs. Superman” serial
“Saturdays with Superman” – a look back at the first live-action Superman
“Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman” – Excerpts from the new documentary produced by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns
Other Info: Fullscreen (2.35:1) French and Spanish Subtitles Running Time: 518 Minutes
Synopsis: The following is from the DVD cover:
“Kirk Alyn sets the heroic standard for generations to come, portraying Superman in these fun multi-chapter cliffhanger adventures. The 15-chapter Superman (1948) spans our hero’s first arrival on Earth to his alter-ego role as reporter Clark Kent of the Daily Planet (where Noel Neil portrays Lois Lane) through his battle with sinister Spider Lady and her relativity reducer ray. Next, while the real world faced the dawn of nuclear age, our caped hero faced that menace and more in the 15-part ‘Atom Man Vs. Superman’ (1950). Is Lex Luthor behind the UFO and A-bomb that imperial Metropolis? Naah. He says he’s just a simple repairman for those new devices called televisions!”
“Superman: The Theatrical Serials Collection” is not rated.
Mini-Review: Even though I’m a huge Superman fan, I never had the chance to see the theatrical serials until now. This DVD offers a unique glimpse into the history of the Man of Steel. This series had a lot of unique aspects that set it apart from other Superman incarnations. For one, Superman had a unique way of flying. Right before he’d jump in the air, the live action footage would turn into cartoon animation and he’d fly into the sky. Neat trick. Kirk Alyn’s portrayal of Clark Kent and Superman was also unique. His mild mannered reporter was really a mellow dude while his Superman was wound up like a 5 year old on Jolt cola. He’d run around quickly, fling his cape around, and strike dramatic super-poses whenever he was required to stand still. It was a dramatic contrast. You’ll also note that Noel Neill plays Lois Lane just like she did on the subsequent TV series. As for the villains, the serials offered up traditional baddie Lex Luthor along with new characters like the Spider Lady. Overall, these are some cool (yet cheesy) Superman movies that all fans need to see before they go to that big comic store in the sky.
There’s only one unique bonus feature on the DVD. “Saturdays with Superman” is a 9 minute retrospective featuring a number of film and Superman experts talking about the days of serials and the unique portrayal of everyone’s favorite hero. Noel Neill also appears and talks a bit about her role.