Columbia's 43rd serial finds Lex Luthor, secretly the Atom Man, blackmailing the city of Metropolis by threatening to destroy the entire community. Perry White, editor of "The Daily Planet", assigns Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson and Clark Kent/Superman to cover the story. Luthor invents a number of deadly devices to plague the city, including a disintegrating machine which can reduce people to their basic atoms and reassemble them in another place. But Superman manages to thwart each scheme. Since Kryptonite can rob Superman of his powers, Luthor decides to create a synthetic Kryptonite and putters about obtaining the necessary ingredients: plutonium, radium and the undefined 'etc.'(in order to keep viewers from trying this at home). Luthor places the Kryptonite at the launching of a ship, with Superman in attendance. He is exposed to the Kryptonite and passes out. Superman is taken off in an ambulance driven by Luthor's henchmen, and he is now under the control of Luthor. Superman is placed... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In chapter one the shot of Luthor destroying the bridge is actual footage of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that opened in 1940 (also known as "Galloping Gertie"). The footage used is that of the bridge in its final moments prior to its collapse on November 7, 1940, shot on 16mm Kodachrome motion picture film by Barney Elliott and Harbine Monroe of a Tacoma-area camera shop. See more »
At the Beginning of Chapter Six, the outline of the hole Superman's about to make in the barn door is already visible. See more »
I am a 29-year-old serial fan and 'Atom Man vs. Superman' is one of my all-time favorites. This serial is a big improvement over the first one, and it gives Superman many things to do to show why he is the World's Greatest Super-Hero. Much has been made over the fact that animation was used to depict Superman flying. 'Atom Man' at least tries to improve upon it's predecessor by having close-ups of Kirk Alyn in flight to off-set the animated footage used in the long shots. As for the use of animation at all, I think we as audiences can tell what is used for an effect (stop-motion, CGI, miniatures, et al), and I would say that at least the animation was used creatively. Take the scene where Superman lifts the truck out of the path of the oncoming flood; I think the creative staff did a remarkable job at giving Superman fantastic things to do, and is probably the only chapterplay hero to do as many things in one serial as he does in 'Atom Man...'.
This serial gives the audience a pretty good story and is true to the characters regarding their comic-book origins. Whereas many serials (and modern films) completely change or contradict what has been told in the comic they're based on ('Captain America' for example), the Superman serials are completely faithful to their comic book origins.
If you have never seen a serial, this might be a good place to start. Superman is one of the most widely-recognized characters of all time, and will only help a beginner who is entering his (or her) first serial. Just remember not to watch more than one chapter a day (it'll add to the suspense if you wait a day or two).
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