Superheroes have conquered the movies, selling $3.2 billion dollars’ worth at the U.S. box office in 2019, accounting for nearly 20% of ticket sales. The road to that dominance began on December 15th, 1978 when Superman: The Movie made audiences believe that a man could fly. Although the road to superheroes ruling the screen would be a long one, it begins here with the stirring score of John Williams, the vision of Richard Donner, camera and special effects innovations, and the charm and talent of a cast led by newcomer Christopher Reeve.
This month, the DC History Club will explore the two stories involving this movie, first the introduction of the last son of Krypton on the modern screen, and second the behind the scenes talent and drama of putting this movie together. Each week, we will focus in on a different portion of the film to help us examine everything from the title sequence, score, special effects, direction, actors, and more. And, as always we’ll of polls and a quiz. Please, join me @msgtv and our senior historian @TurokSonOfStone1950 for what should be a great month.
Week 1: Introduction and Krypton
Week 2: Smallville and Fortress of Solitude
Week 3: Superman and the Daily Planet
Week 4: Superman vs Lex Luthor
-Research wiki: Add articles, videos, interviews and more from credible sources concerning anything to do with the making of Superman: The Movie. Senior Historian @TurokSonOfStone1950 has found a ton of good stuff, but there’s more out there. If you find something you think should be added, click on the wiki pencil in the top right hand corner of the post and add.
-Super Facts: Post any super facts you have related to Superman: The Movie.
-Behind the Scenes Photos: Who doesn’t love a good BTS pic? Post your favorites
Topic Suggestions Week 1, choose any or all of these topics or one of your own to discuss, no need to get them all just whatever interests you:
Introduction: What does the black and white introduction add to the movie? What tone, storyline, or other element does it establish in the mind of the viewer.
Title Sequence: Coming immediately after the black and white introduction, how does the title sequence impact the viewer? Does it set any expectations in the audience’s mind?
John Williams: The title sequence gives us the first big moment for John Williams score. How does the Superman Main Title March and the rest of the Williams score elevate the film? What emotions does the theme elicit? How does it compare with other Williams’ work, particularly on Star Wars, Jaws and Indiana Jones?
Brando: Simply put, was Brando worth the reported $3,700,000 plus 3% of the gross he was paid for 12 day’s work?
Scenes: Discuss the trial of Zod, Jor El’s appeal to evacuate Krypton, Jor El and Lara placing Kal El in the rocket, or Kal El’s space flight. What does the scene establish for the film, what works or doesn’t, how does the color pallet of the scene effect it, or anything else you can think of.
Special Effects: Krypton is introduced with a long flying shot over a miniature of the planet’s surface. We see Krypton’s destruction within the dome and from outer space. How effective are these scenes both today and from a perspective of the work in 1978. Discuss any of the artist involved in the SFX, such as production designer John Barry.
Writers: The list of writers responsible for this story is even longer than the list on the opening credits. Seagal and Schuster, Mario Puzo, Tom Mankiewicz, and more deserve some level of credit. Discuss their role in the story and their contributions or not to its success.
Week 2: Smallville & the Fortress Possible Discussion Topics
Special Effects: The most significant special effects for this segment is Clark racing the train and the creation of the Fortress. Do these effects work for you.
The feel of the picture changes with Smallville. What are your thoughts on this segment and how it compares to Krypton.
The Fortress scenes with voice-over from Brando allows the film to skip Superman’s formative years learning to be Superman. What do you think of this decision.
Remember, just grab those topics you want to talk about you don’t need to hit them all.