5.6/10
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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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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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 »

Goofs

When Ellen climbs the fire escape she is wearing flats. Inside the factory she's in heels. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References Friday the 13th (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One and Only adaptation of Will Eisner's SPIRIT was pretty good
1 June 2005 | by redryan64See all my reviews

The adaptation of Will Eisner's SPIRIT to the TV screen followed many other offerings developed from comic strip pages or comic books. (Remember, the two aren't exactly the same medium) It is indeed ironic that this is the one and only adaptation (as of the time of this writing)of Eisner's smart alec, wise cracking, tongue-in-cheek super hero.

Story has it that Republic Pictures was interested in doing a film version and was in negotiation with the copyright owner in the mid '40's, but they were never able to close the deal. The left over screen play became the serial, THE MASKED MARVEL, one of Republic's best. Perhaps that it was just as well, for that studio had a penchant for tinkering with material adapted from the comic strips, pulp mags, radio and the comic books.

As for this 1987 made for TV movie, it's pretty obvious that it was a failed pilot for a proposed television series. Whereas an old, long time comic reader,like myself, can be a little harsh in criticism of an adaptation, a viewer unfamiliar with the character may be able to give some fresh observations, clear of any preconceived notions of what this screen version should look like.

Well, while sitting and watching the story unfold, with the characters interacting amid some crime wave, the Little Lady (my wife, Mrs. Ryan) nailed it with one statement. "This can't make up its mind if it's serious or not!" That pretty well describes both THE SPIRIT and his creator, Mr. Will Eisner, the true creative genius in the comics.

The film is a sincere attempt to put Eisner's world on the screen. The casting of Denny Colt/The Spirit, Commissioner Dolan and Ellen was really quite well done. Though in a contemporary setting, it was still in the tradition of "the good old days" as far as the costuming goes, you know, when men and women still wore hats! That brings up this one final (and meandering) point, and that is that the director and the production made a conscious effort and succeeded in giving the characters a Will Eisner look as far as facial expressions and body language. We say,Kudos to them for their efforts.

It's just too bad that no series followed! Oh, well in today's motion picture world, comic adaptations seem to be a hot item. Maybe some big timer producer and director could do a really 1st class SPIRIT production for the Big Screen. We can only hope.

UPDATE: Dateline, Chicago, Illinois. 6/4/2008. By now, everyone who goes to the Movies at the Shopping Centre Multiplexes has seen the poster advertising the new film of THE SPIRIT, (subtitled, MY CITY SCREAMS); which is to be released Christmas Day, 2008. Well, we'll see then just what we've been talking about. Just keep your fingers crossed! TO BE CONTINUED.............

UPDATE II: We saw the new film, Writer-Director Frank Miller's rendition of THE SPIRIT a couple of days ago. Well, we got our wish; but is this a good thing or another case of "Be careful what you ask for; because you may get it?" Please read our write-up elsewhere in IMDb.com. THANX!


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