Planet MadDog

Ba ba ba-ba baaaa... SU-PER-MAAAAN!

I've been watching the Superman movies on blu-ray with Amy (now 7) recently. Last week it was Superman; today it was Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, and next week we'll conveniently-but-rightly forget about a certain couple of other movies and finish it up with Superman Returns.

One thing I quickly wanted to mention was that it was quite mind-bending to watch the Richard Donner version of Superman II. It had me fondly remembering scenes that never actually happened in the original theatrical version (directed by replacement, Richard Lester, after Donner was unceremoniusly dumped from the project after shooting about 83% of the film, concurrently with Superman I).

For example, part-way though the movie, Gracie (who was reading a book in the next room) came in to ask me to rewind the last scene so she could watch it. She said she loved this part as a kid and just wanted to watch this part. I said "Yeah, it's one of my favourites too," and replayed the scene again.

The scene was when Lois, realising that Clark Kent was in fact Superman, pulled a gun on Clark and said "I'm willing to risk your life that you are the man of steel" and pulled the trigger. Of course, the gun only fired a blank and Supes was stooged into revealing that Lois was correct in her assumption. It was a great scene, Gracie and I smiled at each other and we continued to watch the movie. It wasn't until about an hour later that I realised something that blew my mind.

That scene never happened in the version of the film I grew up with.

The Lester-directed version had Clark tripping over and burning his hand in their hotel fireplace, revealing his identity to Lois. The scene we watched today was pieced together from old pre-production test screening footage. Looking back, all the signs were there. The set looked like it was made from plywood. Clark's hairstyle and glasses were much different, and his physique was much slimmer.

It's been literally decades since I last saw this movie, so it got me thinking about all the other parts of the movie I was probably remembering incorrectly. After a good Wikipedia'ing (that's a word, right?) I suddenly remembered all of the other campy jokes and bad visual gags that was removed (thankfully) from Lester's theatrical version. (I'm not goting to list them all here; go read the wiki article.)

All I can say is that I'm thankful for this new(-ish) version of Superman II, which lines up almost perfectly with next week's viewing of Superman Returns. I say "almost" because Donner's ending was a bit of a mess, in a "best-we-could-do-under-the-circumstances" kind of way. Richard Donner sounds pretty bitter towards the producers of the Superman films, and quite resentful about the fact that some of Lester's footage was required to complete his vision of Superman II. I just hope he is proud of the movie he put together, because I loved it.

Posted by a very super MadDog on Saturday September 10, 2011 at 7:56:03 PM - (0 comments)


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