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Taking Flight: The Development of 'Superman' (2001)

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The story of the development of the visual effects used in the first Christopher Reeve Superman film.

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Credited cast:
Himself - Host
Himself - Director
Tom Mankiewicz ...
Himself - Creative Consultant
Himself / Superman / Clark Kent
Himself / Lex Luthor
Herself / Lois Lane
Himself (archive footage)
Himself - Composer
Himself (credit only)
Lynn Stalmaster ...
Himself - Casting Director
Andrew Fogelson ...
Himself - President Warner Bros. Marketing '78-'80
Herself (credit only)
Roy Field ...
Himself (credit only)
Melody McClure ...
Herself (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lois Lane (archive footage)


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Documentary | Short





Release Date:

1 May 2001 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Features Superman (1978) See more »


Theme from Superman (Main Title)
Written by John Williams
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Verisimilitude, part I
20 October 2004 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Marty McFly's older brother hosts this retrospective on the making of Superman – The Movie. Well he would, being the only person willing to appear in all four Superman films as well as Supergirl. To thank him for his trouble, they let his daughter do the opening narration (a homage to the opening of The Movie). All the main players reassemble to reminisce about the movie (except the all powerful Salkinds) and give us an honest and funny look back (as apposed to one of those salesman like making of features made to promote a movie).

After chopping their 'Three Musketeers' movie into two separate pictures (a trend that unfortunately has made a comeback in recent years), the Salkinds planned to do the same on Superman. They managed to snatch Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman to fill the space above the title and promptly released the first mock up poster. Then they got Mario Puzo to write a script enormous enough for two movies. When Guy Hamilton passed on filming in England, Richard Donner took his place. Dick immediately got rid of all of Guy's preproduction work and hired Tom Mankiewicz (who has been appearing on quite a number of these DVD featurettes) to rewrite the campy Batman influenced script.

Next came the difficult task of finding the right man to fill Superman's tights. Christopher Reeve appears in his wheelchair to share his memories and soon his fellow interviewees offer him a small tribute devoted to Reeve's horse riding accident and his hopes of regaining the use of his legs. Christopher's first screentest is a hoot: wearing a prototype supersuit and sweating like a stuck pig (as Donner eloquently puts it), it is amazing to see how much of a difference a year of working out under the tutelage of Dave Prowse made this skinny kid into the Superman we all know and love.

Glad to see Margot Kidder is back to normal, providing us with some of the funniest anecdotes and observations. Still, when watching footage of other actresses up for the part, you can't help but wonder what the movie would have been like with the over the top Lesley Anne Warren or the just a tad to gorgeous Anne Archer as Lois. Gene Hackman also shares some fun memories, and they included some footage of Brando from 1978, which strangely enough earns him a place in the end credits. These credits suddenly appear after the completion of the cast and we have to move on to Making 'Superman': Filming the Legend'.

8 out of 10

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