True Blue…

Superman_III_237823000289000-poster-000-1983Superman-III-Retro-International-Ad-128371200-1983-0000Superman_III_98239200000-poster-0000Superman_III_237829000-poster-000-1983SUPERMANIA extends a warm welcome back to one of its greatest contributors and as evidenced above, Superfan Jayce76 has maintained a keen eye for the iconic.

As showcased on the all-new site CinemaZone Wallpaper, these amazingly authentic-looking print ad style compositions continue Jayce long association with celebrating the classic Superman series.  All these unique creations from the best (and most obscure) cult properties from the silver screen are free to download.  See some of his equally stunning earlier works here and look out for more in future…

The Magic Underneath The Cape…

super 1asuper 3super 4superman3-movie-screencaps.com-13592It may have taken over thirty years to clarify but when Perry White confronts his Daily Planet staff about the mysterious ‘flying whatchamacallit’ and asks “What does he keep hidden under that cape of his??  Batteries!?”  The answer, most emphatically, is yes.

Courtesy of SuperFan Steve Lumsdon comes yet another SUPERMANIA exclusive and tribute to the ingenuity of special effects craftsmen of yesteryear.  Pictured above is the finest reference to date of the legendary ‘Cape Flapping’ device built by Colin Chilvers & Co. to simulate convincing movement whilst ‘in flight”.  The mechanism was created out of necessity to control the flow of the cape whilst star Christopher Reeve was suspended on the infamous ‘Pole Arm’ or wire flying rig.

Operated by remote control, the custom unit consisted of a motor and battery pack housed in an aluminum box which was mounted on Reeve’s back by a velcro attachment (third pic).  When activated, the motor would drive the umbrella-like poles (covered in cape fabric to blend seamlessly into folds) up & down at random to create ripples.  Besides the full-size version, at least one more was created, amazingly, in miniature for models in certain scenes.

As the production team in 1978 worked hard to preserve the illusion that ‘you will believe a man can fly’ by not revealing the details on how many of the effects were achieved, this device was widely considered a myth until it was officially acknowledged in the extras on the Superman: The Movie Special Edition on DVD.  Although undetectable for the vast majority of the Salkind produced films (including Supergirl) in which it was used, the scene where Superman swoops down to save Frisky from the tree and the blooper from Superman III (Bottom pic) are the best proof of its existence until now…

For the enviable opportunity of owning this piece of SFX Magic and cinema history, catch Steve’s auction here…

“Together Again…”

A SUPERMANIA exclusive courtesy of Jim Lynn and his fantastic blog VHISTORY, from tape 222 of his vast archive of 3000 vintage VHS recordings comes this long-thought-lost footage from the making of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

Barry Norman’s Film (insert year) was a British institution on the BBC for decades and pre-internet, arguably the best source for all things Cinema. Despite his famously sardonic presentation style it was clear Norman had an enduring affection for the Superman series as evidenced by this excellent location report from Film ’87, presented here for the FIRST time on the internet with never-before-seen onset footage.

The basis for Norman’s report is how Christopher Reeve had come back to the franchise after controversially (at the time) declaring ‘Never again’ during part III.  Reeve’s comments in the interview are hilariously contradicted by a clearly embittered Margot Kidder, nose firmly out of joint having been thought of as too old to resume her role as Lois Lane.  While Reeve is clearly happy indulging himself with his second-unit direction/story contribution and comparing his latest co-star (Mariel Hemmingway) to Ingrid Bergman, Kidder’s opinion about being sidelined is ironically at odds with her part in the finished film as the love story between Superman & Lois had not been given greater emphasis since Superman II…

“An Event…”

BTS_VeniceBTS_StreetBTS_TakeoffIn 2004, three years after the all-too-brief resurgence created by the Superman : The Movie Special Edition and its abandoned worldwide cinematic re-release, the prospect of any unseen footage emerging from the sequels still seemed laughably unlikely.

Though major plans by WB were in fact already underway to collate all the footage for the four movies to present the Ultimate Collection on DVD, (and, Indeed, the ambitious Richard Donner Cut) there was still a firm belief across the fan community that most, if not all footage, from Superman IV especially, was forever lost.

And then, out of nowhere, the efforts of a SuperFan (as ever) paved the way to enforce the belief that anything is possible.  In this short archive ‘Making Of’ video (top) captured and restored by Alex Serpa, more from the production of Superman IV was revealed in four minutes that had been for 20 years previously.  From the opening storyboard to the on-set footage of the Nuclearman II battle at Elstree Studios, (filmed on December 10th 1986) the footage is sweetened even further by the insights of Christopher Reeve.

Showing the confrontation and first revelation of dialogue between Superman and Nuclearman I, the brief action was more than enough to restore faith that somehow, somewhere, one day the deleted scenes would be found

Rare stills above from the set to correspond with the scenes shown in the video courtesy of Alexei Lambley-Steel and Matt Derby.  Many thanks to Alex Serpa for the use of his awesome video!