Today marks what would’ve been Christopher Reeve’s 65th birthday and forty years to the day where he turned 25 on the set of Superman: The Movie.
One cannot help but wonder what Reeve would be doing now had his life not taken such a fateful turn in 1995. It would seem (by Hollywood standards) that being of pensionable age no longer inhibits the revival of vintage franchises (see Harrison Ford) so its conceivable that Reeve would still be involved in some capacity with his most celebrated turn – maybe even as a director. Indeed, just before his accident Reeve seemed to be set on a return to the mainstream again, appearing in the critically acclaimed Remains of the Day alongside cult fare like The Village of The Damned. Tragic, then, on one hand that his best work onscreen may have been to come but on the other, his pioneering efforts on behalf of the disabled community will surely serve to change lives for the better all over the world.
SUPERMANIA is proud to help preserve the legacy with this newest addition to the collection, a significant find that surfaced only recently after more than 40 years. Many Superfans are aware that lifecasts/masks were taken by makeup supremo Stuart Freeborn for most of the lead actors and that recasts of Reeve’s have been circulating for a number of years (click here). These reproductions were of an altered cast made for production (where the eyes were cut out for the purposes of adding false ones later) so are more of an SFX curio than a ‘standard’ lifecast. These, along with a few other variations offered by Propstore over the years (serving as wig mounts and suchlike) were believed to be the only existing examples remaining from the series after Freeborn’s passing.
So imagine the surprise when a complete, almost full-head casting with superb detail appears from nowhere and instantly becomes the definitive source for reference to date. While some consider lifecasts to be ghoulish, this fibreglass pull is nonetheless a superb impression of the late actor. Note how it compares in size with the older FX casting (third pic) having shrunk many generations down the line. Though the newer cast isn’t perfect (suffering from some distortion and lack of clarity around the nose) its shortcomings are made up for by the inclusion of the ears, a very uncommon feature to survive the process…
As a great editor once said – ‘Well if Paris is gonna go kablooey I want my best reporter right in the middle of it’ – and so SUPERMANIA brings you the lowdown on the gleaming new exhibition in France which opened to the public this week.
Quite out of nowhere and “In collaboration with DC Entertainment and with the participation of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, The Art Ludique Le Musee presents “The Art of DC – The Dawn of Super Heroes,” a unique world first exhibition that pays tribute to the story of DC and its iconic Super Heroes and Villains such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Joker at the origin of a true contemporary mythology.
An original creation of the Art Ludique-Le Musée team, “The Art of DC – The Dawn of the Super Heroes”, unveils more than 250 original historical plates and more than 300 works of research from the cinema and many Costumes and genuine props from the films
We also present the authentic costumes created for the great DC movies such as the mythical costume worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman and the famous costume worn by Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman in the 1970’s…”
While this may be an all-new installation some of the artefacts shown may look familiar. Indeed, the Superman costume is the same one remounted from the 75th anniversary showcase at comic-con in 2013.
The Clark Kent ensemble, however (third pic) is more of a mystery and may be comprised of genuine suit pieces over a screenused Superman tunic completed with replacement glasses and hat.
The real finds here though are the miniature costumes for special effects flying models of Reeve & Kidder for the ‘Can you read my mind’ sequence in ‘Superman – The Movie’ (third pic). These wonderful, intricate creations were never seen in the finished picture but remain a testament to the ingenuity of the art dept. as the Superman costume, for example, is made form the same fabric as the full-size outfits. Set in a glass case surrounded by hand-drawn storyboards, its as fine a collection of Super-movie history collected in one place you’re ever likely to see…
From March 31, 2017 to September 10, 2017
Address : 34 Quai d’Austerlitz – 75013 Paris (metro station Gare d’Austerlitz, parking paying opposite)
Prices : 16.50 € (regular rate), 13.50 € (reduced rate), 11 € (children from 4 to 12 years or group +20)
Now somewhat more worthy of the ‘Highly detailed and authentic’ promise of the packaging, the discerning adult collector would surely appreciate the subtle cosmetic changes made to match this figure to his screen counterpart as shown in Superman II (and perhaps more literally inthe Donner Cut)
In fact as custom mods go, this was a relatively simple task as the sculpt for the scale is rather magnificent and only diminished by a stock paintjob. If anything the challenge here was to find a paint that would replicate the metallic maroon finish of the actual costume trim and boots (the boots themselves now residing at Propstore, click here for the story). When Mattel correctly emulated this detail on their great 1/6 scale Movie Masters figure in 2010 it was met with derision as the costume was generally perceived to be jet black. There would be no such ‘mistake’ with this later release.
Having tested dozens of colour combinations salvation would come in the form of nail polish of all things – a perfect balance of colour and shine applied to the appropriate areas – (top pic) only betraying hints of the maroon (second pic) just like the original costume on film.
With only a few more embellishments (chest hair and silvered temples) the figure was finished and photographed against the perfect backdrop of the Hot Toys Superman figure and the result when compared to the factory version speaks for itself.
The Superman figure from this line is next to receive the custom treatment but is typically a far more complex and intricate job – look out for him in a future post..!