Le Face A Face At 33…

On this day, a mere 33 years ago, a 13-year old boy ran up several flights of stairs at the Kings 123 Cinema West Bromwich in great anticipation.  For this was the first showing of the eagerly-awaited fourth film in the beloved Superman franchise, and this one even had an intriguing byline – The Quest For Peace.  Much later I would discover the translation of this title in other countries was interesting (and in some cases, better.)  In Brazil it was ‘In Search Of Peace’.  In Denmark, ‘The Struggle For Peace’.  The Swedish title was ‘The Threat From The Sun’, the German (and possibly my favourite) was ‘World On The Brink’.  In Hungary it was known as ‘The Power Of Darkness’, and in France, Superman: Face To Face.  Don’t be fooled by the first pic above, the proceeding vintage feature in French is not from MAD Movies but its short-lived companion IMPACT magazine, where Superman IV is given some serious coverage with rare images to boot.

Having viewed the movie for the first time I left the cinema in a daze only to bump into a schoolmate waiting in line for the next showing.  I joined him and went back a second time.  For all its apparent faults, it was a visceral experience and as serendipity would have it, remains a significant part of my life to date – not bad going for a notorious franchise-killing controversy-mired embarrassing box-office disaster.  Yes, of course its terrible – part of embracing this picture is acknowledging its inherent Roger Corman production values – but having said that, love it or hate it, are we still talking about Billy Zane’s Phantom, for example, Lundgren’s Punisher or even Beatty’s Dick Tracy (to name but a few) all these years later with the same enthusiasm?  Much of the film’s longevity can be attributed to the fact the behind the scenes story of how it even got made is arguably more captivating than the film itself, and yet, in this age of fan-lead campaigns powered by social media actively forcing major studios to re-tool failed theatrical edits nobody is asking for an extended edition of Batman & Robin.

Over three decades later, however, the campaign to restore the original edit (or Furie Cut) only seems to gain momentum, with final judgement out on the film until we see the full version.  Of course, the infamous test-screening in San Antonio has become part of the legend now (to this day nobody to my knowledge has ever attested to seeing it) and theories prevail about whether or not the longest cut actually exists at all.  The closest we’ve come to date was the Deluxe Edition from 2006, where ‘a great deal of deleted scenes’ were included, restoring faith that even in its ugly test print form, the footage still existed.  Possibly more telling was Warner Bros. declaration ‘We have located all the footage from Superman IV’ but as fan cuts were all the rage at the time, were afraid to present it.

As the upcoming Snyder Cut of the equally-lauded Justice League has ably demonstrated, the fan is more empowered than ever and if enough voices are heard in unison, it can yield results.  Nowhere was this better proved than with the original Richard Donner Cut of Superman II, restored and released without anywhere near the kind of aggressive campaigning prevalent today.  We count on Warner Archive, having done such masterful restoration of the Extended Cut of Superman: The Movie and Supergirl on Blu-Ray to once again dazzle us with the kind of quality release us dedicated fans deserve, and, speaking personally, make me feel like a 13-year old all over again…

 

Steppin’ Out…

What started out as a field trip to research an upcoming piece on Superman Costumes has ended with a series of unbelievable revelations here at SUPERMANIA.  And while I could digress further here, the discovery of the incredible lots in Propstore’s upcoming Entertainment Memorabila Live Auction is probably best shared courtesy of Jim Bowers & Jay Towers in my debut on the Capedwonder Superman Podcast

Where the experience of viewing so many genuine rare artefacts from the Superman Movie series all at once can be expressed firsthand!

Once more I’d like to thank Propstore CEO Stephen Lane and GM Tim Lawes for their hospitality and wish them every success for the coming auction.  For any Superfans wanting to add any of the featured items to their collection the gavel is raised on Sept. 30th.  As for the costume article, prepare for even more revelations and the definitive word on the subject coming soon…

 

Flying Into New Danger..!

As cub reporter Jimmy Olsen himself once said “We’re back!!!!”

A very warm welcome to SUPERMANIA’78 for friends old and new alike.  Over the last year the site has been completely regenerated with a dynamic new look featuring all new navigation.  Please make your first destination here for an introduction and mission statement.  Then I invite you to click across the top menu for pages featuring brand new content ending with one devoted entirely to you – the Superfans and your experiences.

Meantime, older posts have been updated and links to both my Instagram page and, finally, YouTube Channel have been added.  SUPERMANIA on video is a new venture for me and I’m very excited by its potential.  I have a number of shoots upcoming that will include everything from cast member interviews to showcasing original Props & Costumes!  See the first of these shorts here and be sure to subscribe!

Please feel free to leave any feedback and continue to check back for updates – my email is martin-el@supermania78.com should you wish to contribute or just get in touch.  In the meantime, on the very day Superman IV: The Quest For Peace premiered 32 years ago I’m proud to bring you a world exclusive from the filming on location in the UK –

This amazing backstage pass is awarded to you by one Graham Bedford – a photographer who happened to be working right in the centre of the city doubling for Metropolis.  Graham tells his story below –

“Way back in 1986 I had an office in Milton Keynes, adjacent to the Railway Station – 
When I discovered that some scenes for Superman IV were to be filmed there I couldn’t resist taking in my camera to get a few pictures. As a life long Superman fan it all seemed quite magical!
Once filming got underway I mingled with the other onlookers and chatted with some of the film crew – Health & Safety restrictions didn’t exist in those days!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to Christopher Reeve himself but I did manage to get some images of him in action.  The pictures are a bit “grainy” but in those days and with a cheap camera they were as good as I could expect.  It all made for a great tale to pass on to my Grandson one day…”

 

All images ©Graham Bedford 1986 – Anybody interested in prints can contact him directly here