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Superman
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Superman (1948) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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Writers:
George H. Plympton (adaptation) and
Joseph F. Poland (adaptation) ...
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Contact:
View company contact information for Superman on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 July 1948 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
FOR THE FIRST TIME! (original poster - all caps) See more »
Plot:
Superman comes to Earth as a child and grows up to be his home's first superhero with his first major challenge being to oppose The Spider Lady. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
First live-action Superman is good in parts, but flawed See more (18 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Kirk Alyn ... Superman / Clark Kent

Noel Neill ... Lois Lane
Tommy Bond ... Jimmy Olsen
Carol Forman ... Spider Lady
George Meeker ... Driller
Jack Ingram ... Anton
Pierre Watkin ... Perry White
Terry Frost ... Brock
Charles King ... Conrad [Chs. 6-15]
Charles Quigley ... Hackett [Chs. 6-15]
Herbert Rawlinson ... Graham [Chs. 3, 9-11, 13-15]
Forrest Taylor ... Leeds [Chs. 3-4]
Stephen Carr ... Morgan [Chs. 3-4]
Rusty Wescoatt ... Elton [Chs. 7-15]
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Aldrich ... Cop at Museum (uncredited)
Phil Arnold ... Cabbie (uncredited)
Jimmy Aubrey ... Wave Tracer (uncredited)
Robert Barron ... Ro-Zon (uncredited)
Roy Butler ... Radio Operator (uncredited)
James Carlisle ... Government Agent (uncredited)
Virginia Carroll ... Martha Kent (uncredited)
Ed Cassidy ... Eben Kent (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Dupe (uncredited)
Edmund Cobb ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Tom Coleman ... Government Agent (uncredited)
George DeNormand ... Agent with Crandall (uncredited)
Mason Alan Dinehart ... Young Clark Kent (uncredited)
Frank Ellis ... Mine Security Guard (uncredited)
William Fawcett ... Phoney News-Hawker (uncredited)
Eddie Foster ... Fred Collier (uncredited)
Jack George ... Railroad Workman (uncredited)
Frank Hagney ... Car 1 Henchman (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton ... Prison Guard at Siren (uncredited)
Ralph Hodges ... Teenage Clark Kent (uncredited)
Reed Howes ... Jackson (uncredited)

I. Stanford Jolley ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Frank Lackteen ... Hawkins (uncredited)

Nelson Leigh ... Jor-El (uncredited)
Tom London ... Old-Timer at Mine (uncredited)
George Magrill ... Bank Robber (uncredited)
Knox Manning ... Narrator (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Spectator at Fire / Police Chief Forman (uncredited)
Wheeler Oakman ... Dr. Fredrick Larkin (uncredited)
Eddie Parker ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Leonard Penn ... Electronics Store Owner / Henchman (uncredited)
Stanley Price ... Crandall (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... Carson (uncredited)
Charles Schaeffer ... Thug Holding Lois (uncredited)
Charles Sherlock ... Daily Planet Worker (uncredited)
Cap Somers ... Man at Mine (uncredited)
Paul Stader ... Irwin (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Man Sent for Help at RR Station (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Secretary of National Security (uncredited)
Glen Walters ... Woman at Mine (uncredited)
Luana Walters ... Lara (uncredited)

Doodles Weaver ... Metropolis University Administration Building Guard (uncredited)
Wally West ... Spectator at Fire / State Trooper (uncredited)
Al Wyatt Sr. ... Thug Holding Lois (uncredited)
Peggy Wynne ... Gloria (uncredited)

Directed by
Spencer Gordon Bennet  (as Spencer Bennet)
Thomas Carr 
 
Writing credits
George H. Plympton (adaptation) and
Joseph F. Poland (adaptation)

Arthur Hoerl (screenplay) and
Lewis Clay (screenplay) and
Royal K. Cole (screenplay) (as Royal Cole)

Joe Shuster  characters (uncredited)
Jerry Siegel  characters (uncredited)

Produced by
Sam Katzman .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Ira H. Morgan 
 
Film Editing by
Earl Turner 
 
Art Direction by
Paul Palmentola 
 
Set Decoration by
Sidney Clifford 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
R.M. Andrews .... assistant director
 
Special Effects by
Howard Swift .... special animation effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
George DeNormand .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton .... stunts (uncredited)
George Magrill .... stunts (uncredited)
Eddie Parker .... stunts (uncredited)
Paul Stader .... stunt double: Kirk Alyn (uncredited)
Wally West .... stunts (uncredited)
Al Wyatt Sr. .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Mischa Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
Daniele Amfitheatrof .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Gerard Carbonara .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Sidney Cutner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Friedrich Hollaender .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
John Leipold .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Floyd Morgan .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Ben Oakland .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
David Raksin .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Milan Roder .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Miklós Rózsa .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Paul Sawtell .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
William Grant Still .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
244 min (15 episodes)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This serial marks the very first live-action portrayal of Superman.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In Chapter 11, when a gangster discovers Jimmy hiding in a crate in the back of a truck, he calls his partner back and both men shoot into the crate. But in the recap in Chapter 12, he does not call his partner back, and he alone shoots into the crate.See more »
Quotes:
Jimmy Olsen:[unaware of approaching derailment] This train is really goin'. The engineer must be late for dinner.
Lois Lane:The way he's traveling he hasn't eaten all week!
[looks out window]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of "Smallville" (2001)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
12 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
First live-action Superman is good in parts, but flawed, 19 December 2003
Author: Brian Camp from Bronx, NY

The 15-chapter serial, SUPERMAN (1948), is best in its early chapters as it details the more familiar parts of the Superman story, including an elaborate sequence on Krypton dealing with the planet's destruction and Jorel's sending his son off in a rocket to Earth. We see Clark growing up with the Kents and heading off to Metropolis and a job at the Daily Planet where he meets Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. We see Superman doing superheroic things in these early episodes like rescuing people from a burning building or rescuing miners trapped in a tunnel.

However, after roughly the first third, each episode follows tried-and-true serial formula with standard cliffhanger endings as Superman gets hit with kryptonite or Lois gets trapped somewhere and only Superman can save her. There are even long stretches where Superman doesn't use his powers at all. It all comes to a disappointingly abrupt ending and anticlimactic resolution.

Superman fights an unlikely villain in the Spider Lady (Carol Forman) and her gang of standard-issue thugs--middle-aged crooks in suits, ties and fedoras who are constantly slugging Jimmy and kidnapping Lois. The Spider Lady gets help from a renegade scientist who has an agenda of his own, but he's so badly acted that he slows the film down considerably. The Spider Lady (who loses her ridiculous mask after her first few appearances) is more of a standard serial villain, and, while not unattractive, is coiffed and dressed like a film noir floozie and would probably have been more at home sidling up to Humphrey Bogart in a gambling joint than fighting Superman.

That said, there are considerable points of interest here. When Superman flies, the effect is created through animation as a fluidly animated Superman cartoon figure takes over for the live actor (Kirk Alyn). This tactic allows the makers to show Superman flying through a variety of locales and settings. While the contrast may be jarring at first, it does acknowledge the comic book origins of the character.

Noel Neill is a perfect Lois Lane and is as spunky as they come. When thugs attack, she recklessly plunges into each fight with the verve and daring normally associated with the standard square-jawed cliffhanger hero. When she's not fighting, she's smiling, always eager to get the story and clearly loving her job. A seedy character named Hawkins (played by Frank Lackteen with undetermined accent) is an informant who gives Lois tips about Spider Lady's activities. Lois is always happy to see him and at one point pays for his tips by taking him to lunch at a restaurant called Luigi's (surely a foolhardy act for an informant). None of the characters gets a single change of costume throughout the serial, but it's more noticeable on Lois. Neill played Lois in a second serial, ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN, and later in the TV series, "Superman," opposite George Reeves.

Jimmy Olsen, on the other hand, gets little of consequence to do, other than getting constantly knocked out by thugs and stating the obvious when needed. He's played by Tommy Bond, better known as Butch from "The Little Rascals." (In the TV series, Jack Larson was a vast improvement in the role.) Pierre Watkin makes a good, dyspeptic Perry White, behaving more like J. Jonah Jameson from "Spiderman" than the Perry we know and love.

A point should be made here about the sequel, ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN (1950). It improved on this serial greatly and had a more comic book-like villain in Lex Luthor (well played by Lyle Talbot). It also had Superman doing a great many more Superman-like things and offered a new twist in each episode. It had a better story structure and more satisfying resolution. The characters also got to change their outfits.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (18 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Superman (1948)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Favorite Supermans? kingplanet
THAT was the ending!? Forgotten_Hero
You could tell Kirk Alyn was none to excited about the role. Forgotten_Hero
No credit for Kirk Alyn? vaneyck
Cliffhanger clip jamerson5
was this the series that aired on Nick At Nite in the 80s? bassheadboy
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