Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN (1950). 15 Chapter Columbia serial. Director: Spencer Bennet.

Superman not only has to contend with the villainy of Lex Luthor, but Luthor's “ally” Atom Man who wears a silly concealing helmet. Even the kids had no trouble figuring out who Atom Man really was. Luthor has mastered a teleportation device that sends his henchmen back to his cave hide out before they can be captured, and can also speed any of his enemies, Superman included, into a vast space Luthor calls “the empty doom.” Luthor also uses an explosive ray gun and an earthquake device to try to bring down the Daily Planet building and Metropolis itself. Superman is shown to fly via cartoon animation [aside from in close ups] but this is more effective than expected. At one point the “real” Superman is shown riding a missile that is aimed for the Daily Planet building. Lex Luthor is played by a comparatively bland Lyle Talbot, but Kirk Alyn isn't bad at all as Clark Kent and Superman. Noel Neill is a perfect Lois Lane, both sweet and spunky and never a bitch. Pierre Watkin is fine as a very petulant Perry White.
Verdict: Moderately entertaining serial is not one of the best but there have certainly been worse. **1/2.

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