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The Mechanical Monsters (1941)

Approved  |   |  Animation, Short, Action  |  21 November 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 634 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 2 critic

Superman battles a criminal mastermind and his robot army.



(comic strip created by: Superman), (comic strip created by: Superman) (as Jerome Siegel) , 2 more credits »
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Uncredited cast:
Joan Alexander ...
Lois Lane (voice) (uncredited)
Jackson Beck ...
Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Bud Collyer ...
Superman / Clark Kent / Scientist (voice) (uncredited)


An inventor has built powerful giant robots that can fly like planes and open banks like cans. Of course, Lois Lane gets into trouble with a robot; can Superman rescue her from the inventor's hideout? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 November 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los monstruos mecánicos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After robot #13 has robbed the House of Gems and flown off with Lois Lane in its hold, Superman flies up and attempts to rescue her, causing an "Interference" alarm to sound. It is not explained why this alarm did not sound when Lois climbed inside in the first place. See more »


[first lines]
Voices: Up in the sky, look! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!
Narrator: Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, this amazing stranger from the planet Krypton, The Man of Steel: Superman! Empowered with X-ray vision, possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice, disguised as a mild-mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent.
See more »


Referenced in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) See more »

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See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Other than the Robots' having a problem with switching 'Jersey Numbers' , we can not find anything major to criticize! (Schultz really digs 'artifical life/intelligence!)
31 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

BEING the second entry into the Fleischer Brothers Studios' line of SUPERMAN Cartoons, 'The Mechanical Monsters (Fleischer Studios/Paramount Pictures Corporation, 1941) was released for theatrical exhibition to the movie going public in November of 1941. This gave it the distinction of being on the theatre screens when the Sunday morning sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th.

CLEARLY this would mark an abrupt change of direction that the series would be taking as the Fleischer animation operation would join in with the rest of Hollywood in the War Effort. The story lines from hence forth would be as populated with Nazi Soldiers, Imperial Japanese Agents and 5th Column Saboteurs as the were with all of those Mad Scientists.

MUCH in the same manner as the other entries into the SUPERMAN Series, there is no wasting of time. The trouble with the giant, metal creatures are in progress of wreaking their brand of havoc on the Good Folks of Metropolis when the Cartoon Short opens. They are in the middle of an in-progress menace. Much of the necessary exposition is put into place by means of headlines in the Daily Planet. (A clever use of the visual medium; as the inclusion of any Title Cards would be considered strictly passé and a throwback to the days of the Silent Movies.) FOR all of the magnificent scientific marvels that were embodied in the invention of the giant metal robots, the Mad Scientist is concerned only in looting bank vaults, pillaging jewelry establishments and repelling attacks from Tommy Gun wielding Uniformed Coppers. Perhaps this is due to poor pay, working conditions and lack of employment opportunities for brilliant, albeit Mad Scientists that they are forced to supplement their meager incomes through such unlawful means.

FURTHERMORE no one ever has truly explained just what makes these eggheads so 'Mad', anyhow! ALL kidding aside, the short is fast moving, well plotted and rendered in such a manner as to be an animated equivalent of a museum quality painting from one of the Dutch Masters. (No, Schultz; I didn't mean the Cigars!) 'MECHANICAL MONSTERS' comes complete with all the accoutrements that are needed in a series entry. First of all, the above mentioned renegade scientist is there for starters; along with some spectacular method of exacting the plunder on an otherwise helpless Metropolis. The regular Daily Planet gang gets involved in the natural manner; coming to the danger with hopes of getting "a Scoop!" MISS LOIS LANE, in order to have a chance to "Scoop the other Scoopers" gets a little too close and is abducted unwittingly by the baddies; having slipped and fallen into the iron giant's convenient and cavernous trunk space. (What's an Editor to do? She seems to get caught up in similar fashion time and time again! SPEAKING of recurring patterns, Superman manages to save the day, saving Miss Lane and her headline story. All's well that ends well, especially in Metropolis; as the episode closes out with a wink from Clark Kent to the audience.

WE suppose that we could brand the Superman Cartoons as being formula and even clichéd, but that may not be fair, either; for after all, the Fleischer/Famous Studios' productions were essentially blazing new trails in the field of the animated movie. Whereas here to for, virtually all of the animated cartoon out put was done using highly caricatured human characters, anthropomorphic talking animal's characters or both. The idea of writing an action-adventure story featuring realistically rendered human characters in fantastic, albeit serious short subjects hadn't been done before, unless it would be highly obscure.* THE Fleischer SUPERMAN Series changed all of that by paving the way for so many of those adventure cartoons that we have enjoyed over the years on Saturday morn. Like most of the rest of this series, we rate it very high on the scale.

NOTE * We can think of Walt Disney's FANTASIA (Walt Disney Productions/RKO Radio PUctures/1940) as being an exception; several of the segments having been done in a realistic style. Are there any others? POODLE SWCHNITZ!!

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