Toes Pointed…

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With 50 years in the business, its inevitable that you will have seen Mr. Paul Weston in numerous genre classics and most likely not even realised.

With an impressive (most impressive) resume that boasts seminal pictures like ALIEN, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Return Of The Jedi, Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and Bond films The Living Daylights, Octopussy and Moonraker to name but a few, it should come as no surprise Paul would also lend his talents and expertise to the big screen adventures of the Man of Steel.

“I worked on Superman’s one, two and three, the veteran stuntman, co-ordinator and second – unit Director revealed to SUPERMANIA this past weekend at MCM Comic-Con –  

“Chris Reeve was just lovely.  He came in and he was so young – just a kid – and he was tall and broad but he had no chest, it was flat.  I remember they made him up a padded suit, like the Batman ones now and he wouldn’t have it, he went straight to the gym.  After a while they brought in Dave Prowse and when he was ready he looked fantastic.

When we had him up in the air the first few times he was learning how to hold himself so he was streamlined.  We found that unless he pointed his toes it didn’t look right but it was hard to do, hold yourself like that.  We’d be down on the ground shouting up at him ‘POINT YOUR TOES CHRIS!’ and when he did he’d got it.  It became so much of a thing on set that when he eventually went home on Concorde, we had the pilot announce over the tannoy ‘Would a Mr. Christopher Reeve remember to keep his toes pointed in flight’.  He loved that.

“Everything you see in the Junkyard battle in Part III that isn’t Chris himself is me.  We worked really hard on that scene.  There were instances where we both had to be in the same shot and they super-imposed his face over mine.  In The Making Of Superman III you can see me on the swing being thrown into the car crusher.

I had Superman belt and a pair of boots – I kept them for years but eventually I just threw them away.  Same with ALIEN, I had a costume, pipes on the back and everything but that was thrown too.  Back then these things had no worth, its all different now.  I heard the ALIEN costume would’ve fetched literally thousands but there you go…” 

Obviously not one for hanging on to souvenirs, very few pictures of Paul on the Superman sets exist so he was kind enough to sign a still of his late friend Chris for SUPERMANIA (top pic) while the remainder of them are borrowed form Paul’s fantastic website – these rare pics show Paul on the Chemical Plant set (second from top), consulting with fellow Stuntman Roy Alon in Calgary for the fire hydrant crash and celebrating in the early days at Pinewood (bottom) with the news of Chris Reeve’s impending fatherhood.

Still very much active in the industry, Paul finds time to attend conventions and give talks on his fascinating career and is always happy to share stories with fans.  Should you wish to catch him he has an upcoming event in December at GATA where he is hosting an evening called ‘My Life In Stunts’ which is sure to be another Super-Occasion…

Lot 774/983…

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Eubanks Entertainment & Memorabilia (Movie, Music, Sporting & Toys), 12th May 2016, 12:00pm

Lot 774
Description

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987) Christopher Reeve leotard in pale blue stretch fabric with Superman logo to front, zip to back & four stud fasteners on shoulders to attach cape, label to inside, ‘ Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St, London NW1, Christopher Reeve 4913 Flying Superman IV ‘.

Provenance: A friend of the vendor worked on the set of the film.

Lot 983
Description

Superman – Acrylic crystal production used movie prop in the Fortress of Solitude scenes with Gene Hackman as he learns about his arch-nemesis Superman, and later in the film as Superman’s powers are taken away from him. approx 11 inches long.

Provenance: The vendors family have a long history of working on film sets in Elstree, Pinewood & Shepperton Studios. Her granddad was Bill Lowen (Rigger) & her father was Dave Lowen (Carpenter). This was given to the vendor as a gift from her father who worked at the Studios.

These two superior upcoming lots from the famed Surrey auction house represent the first original pieces of genuine Superman movie memorabilia on offer this year –

The ‘flying’ tunic (top three pics) is a great example of what distinguishes the Superman IV costume from the preceding films with its narrow bottom curve of the \S/ on the chest shield.  The lack of shorts also suggests (or harness vents) also indicate this tunic may have been used for bluescreen effects and its soiling indicates potential use for the climatic Moon battle…

A Sentimental Replica…

DSC_3218 (2)DSC_3224DSC_3210DSC_3222First shown case-fresh over a year ago on SUPERMANIA, Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse 4″ General Zod action figure returns to Planet Houston having endured the full custom treatment.

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 in the 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..!

Alert, Alert..!

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Fleetingly glimpsed in both Superman: The Movie and Superman II and sharing a grim demise in both movies, the iconic, anonymous Kryptonian guard’s scenes may have been short but left a lasting impression.

In fact, the nameless soldier (played by uncredited actors) in Superman: The Movie had a larger role than the theatrical cut led us to believe, where through footage restored for the TV edits (and later, the Special Edition) revealed the guard was despatched by the council elders to arrest Jor-El and was crushed by falling debris from the eruptions enroute.  Despite apparently having being teleported to Jor-El’s quarters (suspended on wires to convey levitation), the intercutting of the extended version suggests the journey took considerable time, culminating in a bizarre closeup of the soldier’s eyes as he’s wiped out.

A similar guard opens preceedings with considerable style in Richard Lester’s Superman II, where an atmospheric tight shot of the helmet reveals it to be somewhat different than Donner’s version.  Although it appears to be the same design, its lack of 3M material shrouding gives it a smooth finish (decorated with aluminium tape?) and its black lenses replaced by mirrored.  Despite a speaking part this time (Alert, Alert!) his screentime is cut short as he’s dispensed with in a swift attack by General Zod’s cohort Non.

So distinct was the guards design that 30 plus years later, talented Superfan Tim Allen sought to recreate the helmet design using today’s technology –

“I was inspired to re-create this Kryptonian guard helmet from Superman (above) because I felt it was one of those props in the movie that often gets overlooked and I thought the fans of this movie would appreciate viewing a unique piece from the film. I created this CG model purely in 3DS Max using the Mental Ray render and procedural texturing. The helmet was created to fit the average human head so theoretically this model could be 3D printed for display or as part of a costume. It could also be scaled down to either ¼ or 1/6th scale for custom collectible figures/statues..”

Watch this space for updates as the Kryptonian guard potentially rises again as a 1/6th figure exclusive to SUPERMANIA..!

“Freeee!”

DSC_3211DSC_3214DSC_3217DSC_3216SUPERMANIA closes out the month the way it began with a pictorial review of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse General Zod from Superman II.

As of now only the third figure ever to bear the likeness of Terrance Stamp as everybody’s favourite Kryptonian villain, this release had credible competition as its 1/6 counterpart (from the 12″ Movie Masters series) was far and away the best of the trio with its all-round superior sculpt.

Thankfully nothing has been lost in the character’s translation to 4″ scale, with crisp details similar to the Superman figure and splendid articulation.  Perhaps wisely this time the maroon highlights (a subject of contention with the 12″ figure) were dropped in favour of the perceived all-black costume as seen in Richard Lester’s footage.  Zod even has an accessory in the bendy shape of an M-16 rifle which is a nice little touch but again, given the authenticity promised, a straight one with strap would’ve been welcome (and where was Superman’s accessory?  is a tiny crystal too much to ask??)

Only minor quibbles then in an otherwise solid release – now, can/will Mattel follow through and fulfil collectors dreams by rounding out the group with Ursa and Non or are they to remain in the eternal void that is the toy Phantom Zone..?