It was a huge deal! The production was very troubled, and went WAY over budget and schedule, yet word was always positive. Remember, there had been no Superman feature ever, only the serials with Kirk Alyn from the late 40s, and certainly nothing mainstream since the black and white tv series which ended in 1958. That was really only 20 years before the movie came out, but culturally was a Stone Age relic by 1978.
I rabidly entered a Boston radio contest to attend a premiere screening, and was destroyed when I didn't win. Superman the Movie and the first sequel are both expertly made, and in my opinion the best versions to date!
Midnight Express has cool music. Williams' Superman score was probably thought of as too similar to Star Wars.
OP, how old are you?
When it came out, everyone I knew rushed to see it, and absolutely loved it. Half the people I knew developed massive crushes on Christ Reeve, and talked about Gee Hackman getting a Best Supporting Oscar.
Not all of the fangirl crushes of Chris Reeve's Superman have gone away.
Auto correct much?
Kate Jackson should have played Lois Lane.
Brando in Superman was a very big deal, especially talk of his salary for such a small role.
No doubt Brando appearing in "Superman" sold enough tickets to cover his salary many times over. Nobody had heard of Christopher Reeve then, and Brando had been off the radar since The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris, so people were very eager to see what he'd do with the role of Superman's dad.
Posters all over London promising..."You'll believe a man can fly".
We all seemed to love the film, and, of course, Chris Reeve.
Part of my youth. Memories of happy days, and losing of my virginity!!!!
I loved that movie when it came out. Christopher Reeve is one of the most handsome stars ever.
Can you read my mind?
Valerie Perrine as Miss Tesmacher!!!
Did people know who Margot Kidder was before Superman?
kind or r14....she was popular in Canada and had done The Reincarnation of Peter Proud but Superman really put her on the map
make that "kind OF"
Chris Reeve's performance was deeply underrated at the time. Everyone thought he was good, but his performance seemed so easy and simple that everyone took it for granted. Kidder, Hackman, and Perrine got all the critical raves, while everyone dismissed Reeve as "fine".
It turns out that nobody else has ever been able to play the character with that kind of genuineness, a real purity of spirit. Other actors can't resist bringing darkness and irony, which Reeve could work without, or they're just boring. Reeve managed to be completely decent, honest, and simple, without being boring. It was a perfect performance, really.
Slap my ass and call me "fangurl"
Williams had just won for STAR WARS the year before, so R4 has a point, and Williams had won two years before that for JAWS.
The real oversight came in 1981 and 1982. The Imperial March from EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is still played today, and that score combined with the dark script and intense direction made that film the best of the series, and really an emotional experience - the love theme throughout is poignant and gives this sense of foreboding and sweep to it that is hard to beat.
What did it lose to? The thin synth pop of FAME.
Nearly just as bad - losing for RAIDERS to Vangelis for CHARIOTS OF FIRE. Yes, that was iconic for the time, but the score is repetitive, weak on production, not moving at all and completely wrong for the period in which the film is set. Fittingly, it's one of the most parodied scores in film history.
Fortunately, Williams won for E.T. in 1983, even though I remember it a lot less.
1. Everyone was blown away by the credit sequence which was the first time (apart from a few seconds in Zanadu) when the light streak effect had been seen, which was cutting edge for the time.
2. We were then somewhat bored by the leaden Brando sequence, but the Jamie Wyeth inspired Kansas sequence was dazzling and moving (I can rember gasping at the shot of his mother in front of the flyscreen door). The creation of the ice palace sequence was also dazzling (shot on the original 007 Stage) but the rest was tonely all over the place because of the different directors, and often verging on boring. The genuine tone of the Kansas sequence was replaced by broad charicature. When Superman 2 came out it was a big hit because Richard Lester nailed it according to his vision: tonely it was cohesive and funny and entertaining. A far better film except for the marvellous Kansas and Ice Palace sequence of the first film.
It was well-liked, one of the big summer blockbusters of my childhood, starting with Jaws, and then Star Wars, Close Encounters, Alien, Raiders, ect. But even watching it the first time I thought it was overlong, and Brando was really hammy. I was never that much into it on cable, I preferred the sequel, which was more consistent and had better effects. But I haven't watched that either for decades.
I was only 7 when it came out in theaters. I remember the opening Krypton sequence being far too serious for me and I hated when the planet was destroyed. Even at 7, I felt that the entire sequence was too grave for a comic book hero.
Plus, the film seemed endless. Some of those sequences do go on for quite a while.
I watched it a few years ago and was struck by how Christopher Reeve didn't even appear until an hour into the film.
R20, it was released in December of '78.
We're supposed to not like the sequel but as a kid, I found it more action packed, more fun and faster.
The film is amazing and was really the first BIG BUDGET superhero movie and set the stage for the films we have today. In a related note I feel like Superman III gets a bad rap I watched it last year for the first time in years and was entertained by it. I really liked the campy, light, approach to Superman and Richard Pryor was great.
Superman III! The robot scene destroyed my childhood!
We're not supposed to like the 2nd sequel with Richard Pryor, the first sequel got great reviews as far as I remember, it certainly deserved them.
I even liked the Richard Pryor thing a bit too on it's own level, but it's more of a special effects comedy than a real Superman movie. The last sequel was an unwatchable mess.
The first sequel had so many behind the scenes problems that it was delayed.
I remember at the end of the first film it said, "Coming next year: Superman 2." But it didn't hit theaters until 81 due to all the reshoots. I remember when I saw Superman 2 that Kidder looked very different in certain scenes- thinner and with a very bad wig.
I also loved Superman II when it came out - much more than the first film.
But I was a kid and didn't know anything about the drama of Richard Donner not being happy with the studio cut of the film. Did he want his name completely removed from the movie?
It wasn't until recently that I've seen the Donner cut and heard that story - which I guess I still don't understand well.
The Phantom Zone sequence in the first film also freaked me out and added to that whole overly serious tone. iw as expecting a superhero film and we got a lot of death that first hour.
Yes the original version of Superman II was shut-down and they changed directors. Trouble behind the scenes does mean the finished product is a failure. It gets an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, nuff said.
Superman II features the greatest moment in cinema history:
Lois to Ursa the Krypton Bitch: "You know something? You're a real pain in the NECK!" (punches neck)
What happened to good movies? It seemed like every week back then people couldn't wait to get to the movies. They were always sold out. You had to get in line, and get in line early or you were SOL.
When was the last time people stood in line to see a movie?
I have only been to a private showing of Religulous in the last 10 years. I think the last movie I actually paid to see was Independence Day. When was that, 1999? Absolutely nothing interests me. I even start watching some current movies on Netflix, but without fail I stop halfway through because they are too boring, stupid, and poorly acted.
Is it the directors? Does the world need another young Spielberg?
[quote]Superman II features the greatest moment in cinema history:
[quote]Lois to Ursa the Krypton Bitch: "You know something? You're a real pain in the NECK!" (punches neck)
Once people stopped understanding my reference to Ursa saying "Look! They need machines to fly!", I knew I'd become eldergay.
"You'll believe a man can fly" was the hook here in the U.S. as well R10.
I remember the audience clapping and cheering for several sequences- especially young Clark racing the train and Chris Reeve's first real flight.
"I asked you to kill Superman for me and you're telling me you couldn't do that one simple thing?" Ross Webster to Gus Gorman in Superman III.
One reason you no longer see people standing in line for a film is because of "front loading" where maybe five theaters will be showing the same film opening weekend.
When I saw "Superman" in late '78, we had to wait in a freezing cold line. It was showing at a multiplex but the multiplex was showing a different movie on every screen.
it was huge.
DC Comics had a contest in which you'd cut out lettered coupons in comics and spell out either SUPERMAN or CLARK KENT and mail them in and two names were drawn (by Christopher Reeve!) to appear as extras in the movie.
They picked two boys who played football players in the Clark Kent high school scene.
I mailed mine in and SO wanted to win!
I didn't. Won instead a free subscription to World's Finest Dollar Comic.
Later, I moved to Hollywood and did extra work in Spider-Man 2.
I grew up in Little Rock, AR. Superman was shown at the Cinema 150, a huge domed widescreen cinema with stadium seating built in the 70s, long before that configuration was common. Only *event!* films opened at the 150, and it was an event to see them there.
Oldster-hag here. Lived in SF then. Northpoint Theater(RIP.) GREAT excitement; went with 8, 20-something (at the time) friends from a theater group; no advance tix in those days - we arrived at 12:00 to get in line at 12:05 for the 2:00ish show. Brought picnic lunch (prob had popcorn too, inside!) Packed house of course. Wonderful, superb film; yes, IS surprising that score didn't win Oscar; "Can You Read My Mind?" was a great song.
Brando, RIP; Christopher Reeve, RIP; Margo Kidder's sanity (since recovered?!; Terence Stamp: HOT!; special effects in those days, even - a marvelous afternoon at the movies!
Oldster but fun to reminisce...
It was huge since it was the first duel project by Lucas and Spielberg since Star Wars and Close Encounters.
Superman, Star Wars and all the other popcorn movies came after the boom of great movies at the beginning of the Seventies: Godfather, Taxi Driver, etc. They were fun after all that heavy sledding of serious movies.
If we had only known that studios would spend almost all their resources on popcorn movies, we should have strangled them in their cradles.
One of the biggest laughs in the original happens when Clark wants to change to Superman and we see a shot of a telephone booth, but it's one of those mini-booths and Reeve has a bemused look.
I wonder if the original would be considered kiddie porn since the child actor who played Superman shows his peenie.
After I saw the movie on TV as a confused 11-year-old, I had erotic fantasies about Margot Kidder AND Christopher Reeve. They were so sexy together.
Was there a McDonald's Happy Meal tie in for the original Superman?
I don't remember when that kind of cross promotion started. The first movie I remember being marketed to me as a kid through my fast food meal was The Black Hole - that 1979 Disney movie.
This was the movie that made me realize I would live in Manhattan one day. Sounds cheesy, I know...but "Metropolis" looked so gritty yet glamourous and exciting to my little blossoming queer sensibility. I became obsessed with the movie for that reason.
It's funny, because years later when I actually moved here to NYC, one of my colleagues at work revealed that he grew up in the building where Lois Lane's apartment is (on East End Avenue). He had great stories of all the filming and meeting both Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.
Why was Kidder barely in SIII? They replaced Lois with Lana Lang in that one. Was it because of drugs or her mental illness? I also noticed that in the 2 scenes she's in Kidder looks horrible she must have really pissed off the lighting people and the cinematographer.
Margot Kidder publicly drummed the Salkinds (father and son producers) for removing Richard Donner from Part II and replacing him with Richard Lester. (Donner actually shot up to 75% of Part II). The Salkinds diminished Lois's role from Part III as punishment.
If we had to lose Lois in SIII, I'm glad we at least had Annette O'Toole as Lana.
I think Margot Kidder is really underrated in the movies as well. She really nailed Lois Lane's simultaneous strength and vulnerability. The reason the first two movies are so well-remembered is that the love story between Lois and Superman is the real heart of the story.
I agree, Margot was, in many ways, the best Lois Lane.
Though I love Phyllis Coates' Lois.
[quote]It was huge since it was the first duel project by Lucas and Spielberg since Star Wars and Close Encounters.
Margot Kidder WAS Lois Lane.
I was jealous of her in Superman 2 that she got to sleep with Superman in that mylar bed.
The rooftop scene really is perfect, isn't it? You really believe that this is how the first "date" between Lois and Superman would go. Everything Chris Reeve did, his diction, his mannerisms, was spot on. And his physicality, his body... this is a man who could stop a helicopter but also take you flying in his arms.
He was perfect.
Yes, r53, perfection.
I was also a sucker for the film's final flight with Superman making a turn far above the Earth and smiling. Right at ME.
I love this movie and it made me a Superman fan forever. Remember the train young Clark leaps in front of? What you may not have realized is on that train were Lois and her parents, played by Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill!
But poor Jeff East had his whole performance dubbed!
You really could believe that Margot Kidder was the star reporter for a major newspaper. She had a real sharpness and intelligence.
"The rooftop scene really is perfect, isn't it? You really believe that this is how the first "date" between Lois and Superman would go"
Just the way he looked at her when he arrived; no calculation, no bravado, no fear, no baggage, none of the things humans have in their eyes when they're trying to impress someone. He knows he doesn't have to impress, hell, he's about to take her flying! He knows he has to be gentle, which is the last thing tough Lois expects. It still makes me melt, and it's one reason I said that Reeve's performance was underappreciated for a long time.
Even though Lois seemed like the toughest, smartest women in Metropolis, you could believe she fell madly in love then and there. WHY did they let the bland and talentless Kate Bosworth take her place!
Elaine Benes as Lois Loan
Another great scene is just the moment Lois "meets" Superman for the first time, when he saves her from the fall from the helicopter. It's only a few seconds long but it tells you everything you need to know about their characters.
"Easy Miss, I've got you."
"You've got me? Who's got YOU?"
John Williams' score for Superman is one of my most favorite scores. The intro of "The Planet Krypton" may be one of the best musical lines Williams has ever written.
While the movie opened in major cities on Dec. 15, 1978, it didn't open wide until Christmas Day.
I remember rushing my family through opening Christmas presents so I could get to the first showing on Christmas Day. For a Superman geek like me, the opening of the movie was the best Christmas present I got that year!
One of the oddest things about the movie was that the end credits ran something like seven minutes, something quite strange at that point, but very common now.