Orginal Superman movie (1978)

So this morning I decided to watch the orginal Superman, mainly to review it for kid safe watching (I have 4 and 7yrs old girls) and the orginal was classified as PG (not sure U was around in 78). Anyway, I think it should be fine, but my eldest has a really cute image in her head of Superman and I want her to be happy watching the film and ready. 2ndly I was feeling so let down by the new movie (not that I've watched it) and the negative views it was getting I needed some classic Superman.

Re-watching with a VFX eye I was blown away by the titles and the first part on Kypton which fankly just looked great. The guys in 78 did such a great job with what they had.

Lastly after the many times I had seen this movie I never noticed the little refereence to Loius Lane on the train and her mum telling her she would make a good reporter. Lovely touch, that I had completely missed.

Arrrhh they just don't make them like they used too.


  • Practical effects I'm assuming? I was a huge fan of dinosaurs (Jurassic Park), I owned all the dinosaur toys, owned the movies, and then I saw Jurassic World, oh my god the disappointment....

    I don't own Superman 1978, but  I wasn't alive back then, so I probably never seen it, unless they showed it on TV but I forgot.

    Ever since I studied filmmaking in school (not VFX), now I can't watch a movie without thinking of how it was made, dolly shots, etc, it's all constantly popping up. It's very hard to watch a movie without breaking it down.

    One of the movies we really tore appart was Jaws. We had a guy come from Hollywood for he was a audio engineer for movies, and his example movie for music and audio was Jaws. Sucks to be me... :D

  • @KevinTheFilmmaker you sound about my youngest brothers age, they would be his film also. The orginal is totally worth a watch, yes some of it is a bit cheesy but I think its worth a look. Infact after starting to watch this it is amazing how many nods there are in the 2013 Man of Steel movie, which although some didn't like I felt didn't do a bad job.

    I try to turn off the VFX breakdown filter off during a first watch and do it on a 2nd, but yes sometimes it is hard.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Superman used a variety of techniques and, at the time, was one of the most technically accomplished movies ever. 

    You have some stunning practical sets and effects, great model work and a combination of rear-projection and blue/screenscreen work ranging from "still looks pretty good," to "that doesn't hold up." Totally worth the watch. The "Richard Donner Cut" is superior, but the theatrical cut is solid. 

    Watch this and Superman II, then skip the rest. 

    Misc notes: Originally a 500 page script, broken into two movies. Studio interference does hurt both films. Donner originally intended to do some things differently, but discussion is spoilers... 

    The first movie is a compelling, emotional story with spectacular action... And doesn't have any battles. Didn't need it. 

    Superman II--Zod... 

  • edited April 2016

    @Triem23 +1 with all you said. Mind you have to admit I don't think I have seen the Richard Donner cut.

     Having watched about half there are a couple of scenes that I personaly think our children don't need in the movie (eg. Cops and robers chase scene with guns - might cut this back a bit, and although the begining of the film sets up the story a child might find this a bit sad, I know my two will, the idea of the child leaving his mum and dad to die on a planet far far away, nope they not liking that, some editing here me thinks.) Ok so I might get the cutting room floor a bit dirty with some scenes but it's that of waiting a few more years and have the risk that her image (what I have told her) corrupted by playground play, which you know will involve some child who had access to the recent movie.

    anyway said my bit, back the hole I crawed from.

  • All these years later, i still love the opening title scene and have used it in various projects.  Well ahead of its time.

    If anyone should ever want or need help with this effect for a project, let me know. ;)

  • At the time, Superman was the most expensive movie ever made.  Here is the very interesting list of the most expensive movies in history record holders ...

    It is interesting to see how the expenses of movies how progressed.

  • Well I finished it over lunch and have to say still made me smile at the end. Only bit I am not sure about for me little ones is the death scene with Louis, I know he brings her back, but they tend to get stuck in the moment, I keep having to remind them it will all work out in the end.

  • @Andy001z - Your 7 year old may cry but she'd be twice as elated when Superman shows how super of a man he is. Kind of like E.T. made people cry but when they find out he didn't truly die, he was just phoning home in his own little alien way, folks were relieved. Your 4 year old on the other hand may not get it. Do what you gotta do. Father knows best. ;^)

    I was 13 when Superman was in the theater. I loved it- probably a little more music wise as I am a huge fan of John Williams, but to this day I still have a little trash can in my bathroom with the Superman movie poster on one side and a shot from under the car with Superman as a child lifting the car up with Glen Ford and Phyllis Thaxter looking on in amazement. Often times I'll start humming the theme just from seeing that can.

    @KevinTheFilmmaker -  (another John Williams soundtrack- love it!) Say what you want about Jaws, there's something to be said about a movie that can keep millions of Americans on the beeches and out of the water for literally dozens of years! I didn't get to see Jaws in the theater because I was too young, 12, when it was released. I did see it on TV a few years later. I still remember it being way past my bed time and there I was in my room with this little black and white TV using the headphone jack so my parents wouldn't find out. Scared the you know what out of me at that time. So don't ruin the mystique, please, by telling me anything they did right or wrong. lol Actually, I've already seen the 'behind the scene's' stuff so the illusion was shattered long ago. I still love Jaws and Jaws 2. I got a thing for sharks, what can I say?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited April 2016

    @StormyKnight no love for Jaws3D? ;-)

    @Andy001z ah, but Reeve so utterly nails that scene! 

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator
    edited April 2016

    This film is very dangerous and Margot Kidder's portrayal of Lois Lane has been known to drive men to insane acts even decades after its initial release. Viewer Beware!

    From my local news December 17, 2015.....

    "Authorities say a Target employee who was reprimanded by supervisors for his alleged advances toward a female co-worker reacted by crashing his car through the front entrance of the Washington store Wednesday morning.

    "Washington police said Glenville has a strong infatuation for actress Margot Kidder, who starred as Lois Lane in the Superman movies in the 1970s and ’80s. The female co-worker who spurned him, “resembled” Kidder in the Lois Lane role, according to Washington Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes.

    Sitzes said he spoke with Kidder, who lives in Livingston, Montana, by phone Wednesday evening and again Thursday morning.

    He said the actress explained how Glenville has been sending her emails, letters, poems and drawings expressing his love for her. “Some of this stuff is disturbing,” Sitzes told The Missourian.

    The probable cause statement filed by police notes that “Glenville has fantasy ideologies about Kidder and has reached out to her on Facebook, email and phone. According to Glenville, Kidder rejected his attention.

    Sitzes said police learned that Glenville recently had applied for a transfer to a Target store in Montana."

  • @Aladdin4d that's powerful stuff right there, also very funny, love the exit to basket :).

    @Triem23 I know what you mean, I don't want to edit the original I LOVE the original, but I don't know what to do (Arrhh internal parenting struggle LOOP)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    I was five the first time. I turned out ok, except for one dead hooker in the backyard.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    Next on Cold Cases how a cryptic internet forum post and crayon markings found on an album jacket cover to a John Williams soundtrack of a super hero movie help investigators solve the decades old mysterious disappearance of a sex worker in Orange County CA............

  • Superman still remains the best superhero movie ever made, full of humor, heart, and an iconic performance by Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel.

  • edited January 3


    It wasn't rear projection. It was front projection (3M high gain reflective sheeting) The flying technology was clever/brilliant -- you'll see how it worked in the vids below.  It had a visual defect that is interesting and educative:

    Front projection is self-matting.  See these vids that describe the Zoptic process.  

    Fast forward to 3:45

    The visual problem with it was, when you had Superman fly towards  and past the camera, the front-proj scene was being automatically reverse-scaled in sync with the camera's  zoom.  In the theater, you ended up with a  movie theater sized screen full of film grain for the micro second until they cut to the next scene. 

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