“And Why Not..?”

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 –

SUPERMANIA wishes you & yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New year.  The Adventure Continues in 2018..! 

 

“That’s MY Beat..!”

SUPERMANIA is proud to present the first of what will hopefully be a series of custom projects to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie in 2018.

A longtime collaboration with Alexei Lambley-Steel has once again yielded an item of superior quality for the discerning SuperFan in the form of a replica necktie as worn by Clark Kent in his first scenes at the Daily Planet.

The ‘City Beat’ has been meticulously recreated from the original costume as originally supplied by Barney’s of New York. Using newly-discovered reference material (Bottom pic) the tie also features a reproduction Bermans & Nathans costume tag with handwritten details (just like the originals!) of the scene number for which it was used (as per the script) and the number from its Limited Edition of 50.

Response to this superb retro accessory has been phenomenal and very few remain. Please email theonlytexaspete@me.com for further info. Coming soon, Clark Kent’s iconic Tortishell eyeglasses…

64…

unmasking-1unmasking-2-001unmasking-3unmasking-4Today would’ve been Christopher Reeve’s 64th birthday.  As is customary here at SUPERMANIA we mark the occasion with a fitting tribute – in this case a rare interview with the man himself taken from the August 1987 issue of Starlog Magazine.

Speaking to Kim Howard Johnson from the set of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in 1986, Reeve, somewhat poignantly indicated how this film was the most personal of the series.  In fact it would be, both thematically and practically having taken story credit and second unit direction besides the standard dual roles.

All of which Reeve seemed to take in his stride, his experience evident after a decade in the red boots and the creative freedom to express what his Superman should be doing.  Some of these character nuances (such as both identities ultimately being a disguise) were firsts here and continue to resonate in Super-Literature.

Though the film would be a critical and commercial failure, Reeve’s performance was universally praised and remains the one constant in what has now regained life as a cult classic.

Rest in Peace, ‘Toph…

Living The Dream…

20160716_16212020160715_14454220160715_14562620160716_085619Regular visitors to SUPERMANIA could be forgiven for noticing a lack of posts in the last few weeks but now we are back, and with exclusive coverage of the most significant and personally gratifying event this site has ever hosted.

As the sun sets on this years Milton Keynes International Festival #IFMKFest, a wide ranging celebration of culture and history within the city, the 10 day celebration closes this very evening with the big screen premiere of Director Richard DeDomenici’s Superman IV: Redux – Thirty years to the date of the UK release of Superman IV back in 1987.

This latest addition to the Redux Project, a bold experimental attempt to remake selected scenes from Hollywood blockbusters brought DeDomenici to the infamous locations used in 1986 by Cannon Films to shoot there some thirty years later. Keen to celebrate their small but fondly remembered involvement in Superman cinematic history, Milton Keynes Council lent their full support to Superman IV: Redux.

With years of research dedicated to the making, marketing and mayhem of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace it was only natural that the project would eventually come to my attention where I would admit to initially being sceptical.  However, as the casting call was open to all and the opportunity to access indoor locations was rare I decided to tag along for the audition process.

Never once did I anticipate or dream I would be cast as Superman/Clark Kent and embark on a short, but life-changing journey but that’s exactly what happened.

A full account of the events leading to, during and after the shoot will be uploaded to a permanent page on the site in the coming weeks.  I can’t wait to share my dream come true with you all…

From the top – Martin Lakin as Superman alongside actor David John Waterman, reprising his role as the Hot Dog Vendor from Superman IV, one of the many props reproduced for the filming of Superman IV Redux, Martin Lakin as Clark Kent in  the Avebury buliding, original location of the Daily Planet offices and Esther Webb exhibiting appropriate sass as Lois Lane…