Superman (1978)

I’m watching the original Superman film with the beautiful Christopher Reeve as Supes.

There’s some truly gorgeous cinematography in the opening chapter. Ma Kent is just saying goodbye to teen Supes in a lovely wide shot:

And Glenn Ford… he is just magical as Pa Kent:

I think Kevin Costner comes close but Ford just pips him for wrinkly, twinkly warmth. Ford only has a short time in the film but he carves it out magnificently, never showy, always gently there.

Now I’m watching the trippy scene where young Kal has generated the Fortress Of Solitude and is getting lessons off his Dad, Marlon Brando. The absence of CGI gives all the imagery its own charm. Aaand…. cue the first shot of adult Supes, Christopher Reeve flying out of the Fortress.

Compared to the more recent film versions of Supes, the original is far less wary of its comics origin, hence Supes’ defiantly primary costume. And, yes, it’s Lex Luthor as ‘great man surrounded by buffoons’ rather than chilling psychopath but Gene Hackman’s Luthor definitely influenced Spacey’s take. I like the comedy like the running gag about Lois’ terrible spelling, it’s a nice light to the shade of the big dramatic set pieces like the runaway copter.

I’ll stop writing now as I want to watch the film properly. But I remember this: Reeve’s Kent is awesomely bumbling and nerdy. The way he changes his body language, posture, gait… he’s brilliant. If you only know Reeve from Superman, please check him out in Deathtrap or Somewhere In Time. He was a wonderful actor who died way too early. I’d love to see him working now, he would have been 63. I’m glad he was on Smallville but I kind of wish he’d got to play Jonathan Kent in one of the films…