5.7/10
157
8 user 12 critic

The Spirit (1987)

A legally dead police detective decides to battle crime as a masked superhero.

Director:

Michael Schultz

Writers:

Will Eisner (characters), Steven E. de Souza
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Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Alan Arkin, Christopher Lee, Kate Fitzpatrick
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Cast

Cast overview:
Sam J. Jones ... Spirit / Denny Colt (as Sam Jones)
Nana Visitor ... Ellen Dolan
Bumper Robinson ... Eubie
Garry Walberg ... Commissioner Dolan
Les Lannom ... Officer King
Laura Robinson Laura Robinson ... P'Gell Roxton (as McKinlay Robinson)
Daniel Davis ... Simon Teasdale
Philip Baker Hall ... Sevrin
John Allen John Allen ... Bruno
Sarah Dammann Thomas Sarah Dammann Thomas ... Hilde (as Sarah Dammann)
Janet Rotblatt ... Victim
Ernestine Mercer Ernestine Mercer ... Martha
Annibal Llende Annibal Llende ... Ricardo
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Storyline

When Denny Colt, detective for the Central City Police Department, survives an assassination attempt by criminals, he is still believed by the public to be dead. He decides to use to his advantage, since being "dead", he isn't subject to the rules that bind regular cops. To this end, he equips an abandoned tomb in a graveyard into a residence and headquarters and prepares for a new career. With that, he becomes the Spirit, a mysterious crime fighter whose only costume is a blue business suit, fedora hat and a little eye mask. His first major case pits him against P'Gell, a femme fatal who has criminal designs on the city. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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Genres:

Action

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duh See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the comic book on which the film is based, Eubie is called Ebony White and he is usually depicted as a racial stereotype. The movie changed his name and characterization in an effort to make him more acceptable to audiences of the time. See more »

Quotes

Ellen Dolan: Do I look like the kind of girl who goes around undressing men?
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Connections

References First Blood (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

A decent, well-intentioned attempt at a classic character
2 December 2001 | by johntrumbullSee all my reviews

I just saw this unsold pilot for the first time since it aired in 1987, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was much better than I remembered. Sam Jones looked great as the Spirit and he played the part in a tongue-in-cheek manner that was just right. Nana Visitor (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE 9) was also very good as Ellen Dolan and showed some real chemistry with Jones, as well as a gift for physical comedy (she did start out as a dancer, after all). The fellow who played Commissioner Dolan suited his part very well. The woman who played P'Gell was okay, but she didn't have quite the spark the role needed. A sultry young Joan Collins type would've been better. Eubie (formerly Ebony) White didn't have much to contribute to the plot and consequently didn't make much of an impression. The movie's plot (about some art forgeries at a Central City museum) is more of a straightforward adventure story than anything Will Eisner ever did, which does take away from some of the Spirit's uniqueness. There are a couple of plot holes here and there (why do they have a gravestone for Denny Colt in a Central City cemetery when he was just visiting?), but nothing too heinous. And, if you have more than a passing familiarity with the Spirit, it's all too easy to figure out who the mystery villain is. The movie takes place in 1987 instead the 1940s (with plenty of contemporary references to remind you of that fact). It was too expensive to do it as period piece, I'd imagine. Sometimes the budget limitations are all too evident (Wildwood Cemetery looks like nothing so much as a studio set). And a few too many scenes are daytime ones. But there are a few shots here and there which positively REEK of the right sort of film noir atmosphere. You can definitely tell the creators of the movie had a genuine affection for the Spirit. It would've been very interesting to see where this show would've gone if it had become a series. If you come across a copy somewhere (I was told it originally ran 90 minutes long but it was edited down to 70 before air), check it out, it's worth a look. For another cool movie with a Spirit reference, see THE IRON GIANT.


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