In a week where the first and best Superhero movie of the modern era was welcomed into the National Film Registry archive and its latest media release awarded ‘Best Product’ by fans on the Superman Homepage, SUPERMANIA concludes 2017 with another first –
Martin Lakin – Editor, SUPERMANIA78.com
Just as Superman IV: Redux was a personal triumph, SUPERMANIA was doubly honoured to act as consultant on this magnificent project initiated by two friends made from back in the earliest days of web fandom.
It fills me with pride when I recall, some 20+ years ago now, how a random bunch of young fans united by their passion for the Superman series deigned to meet and explore some of the locations shown above and marvel at how little had changed since filming had completed years before. The experiences from that day obviously left lasting impressions on more than just myself, and now here we are, with once coy Oliver Harper chairman of his own YouTube empire and quiet Introspective Tim Partridge now a tenured filmmaker. Keeping in touch with these talented folks over the years has culminated in the superb piece of broadcast-standard material above. Think you know everything about Superman IV? Think again and be entertained doing so.
Many times since this website has been live I have mused on quite why a 30-year old movie reviled by most should still court quite so much analysis and attention today. I could go on and on as to what I love about it, but like religion, would never force it on anybody else. What surprises me is I never have to and I’m gratified beyond words when many fans tell me the best reference for the film is to be found right here. Like many fans I wish to pass on my thanks to Tim and Oli for putting it to such memorable use, I look forward to future collaborations…
Tim Partridge – Director
I’m a professional filmmaker and Oliver Harper is a popular YouTuber, specialising in video essays. Both of us have known for decades about the filming locations of Superman IV, thanks mostly to SUPERMANIA, and we always felt there was a great story to tell about the unusual choice of it’s settings. We wanted to both analyse and celebrate the film’s undeniably creative production design. We thought this project was very appropriate for Oliver’s YouTube channel, and would enhance his format by putting him on-camera in the Superman IV locations.
We went through all of the original production/publicity material we could find in order to research this, as well as speaking to some of the crew members who worked on the film. Oliver and I had spoken of making the video as early as 2012, and had aimed to release it in the autumn of 2016, exactly 30 years after Superman IV went into production. However, the project grew and our narrative adjusted itself. We were very lucky to interview double Oscar-winning set decorator Peter Young about his experiences on the film, enriching the video with a first hand perspective and insight into the production design of Superman IV.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped us along the way.
Oliver Harper – Film Documentarian/Video Editor
I’ve been fascinated with Superman IV ever since I was a kid. It’s obviously a bad movie but I always appreciated its good intentions and its production and design I found very interesting. With the movie making use of the United Kingdom for many of its locations, far more so than Superman 1 to 3 and Supergirl, I wanted to explore these places and see how they made use of them. However, this was always just an idea in the back of my mind. I had made a trip to Milton Keynes in the late ’90s with Martin Lakin and Tim Partridge (director) but that was as far as I got in seeing what they used. Come 2011 when I started my YouTube channel, which focused on movies of the ’80s and ’90s, my first review was on Superman IV and the idea of making a video on the locations was something that I felt could be interesting. The director of the ‘Man of Steel and Glass’ video, Tim, and I both shared similar views on the film and we had discussed ideas about making something a couple of years before we even decided to officially move forward with it. Come 2016 I finally said let’s get this going so we could celebrate the 30th anniversary of the production, although it grew into a bigger project which we would release the following year.
The documentary started out as something quite simple but the narrative began to change. The whole design of it shifted radically into something more than just a before and after video like most traditional videos of this nature that you find on YouTube. Tim especially wanted to push the magic of the movies and how filmmakers have continuously tricked audiences into believing they’re shooting in one location but in fact are shooting in a entirely different country. Superman IV could’ve successfully done that but was let down by some poor decisions regarding the photography of the locations, thus undoing the illusion…
2018 marks the fortieth anniversary of Superman: The Movie’s cinematic release and advance word is that the celebration will last in various forms all year long. In the US, 40th Anniversary Cons attended by many of the original cast have already begun with more promised across the world in the coming months. Indeed, for a franchise entering middle age, it shows no signs of slowing down and new discoveries continue to emerge such as these exclusive images below from the Milton Keynes location of Superman IV in 1986 –