Superman and the Mole-Men (1951, Lee Sholem)

Superman and the Mole Men is somewhat hard to watch–and not because of the goofy mole people costumes. The bad guys in the film aren’t the mole men, but the evil redneck townspeople who hunt them down. Mole Men runs less than an hour (a theatrical pilot for the “Adventures of Superman” TV series) but the constant hounding of the cute little mole men and unrelenting viciousness of main villain Jeff Corey makes it constantly uncomfortable.

The other problem is how ineffectual Superman’s presence is to quelling the viciousness. While George Reeves is pretty good as Superman, except the fists to hips stance, Robert Maxwell’s script doesn’t know what to do with him. Being super has nothing to do with Superman’s role in the picture. So an added frustration is knowing Superman should be saving the little mole men, but isn’t because Maxwell’s got him giving nonessential speeches.

As Kent, Reeves’s wink-wink performance doesn’t play well. When he’s giving a straight performance as a newspaper reporter, he’s a lot better. Phyllis Coates is barely present as Lois Lane; she’s not very good. Besides Corey, the best supporting work is from Walter Reed.

Clark Ramsey’s photography is weak. Sholem’s direction is competent enough. Mole Men‘s real villain is its small budget. The mole men had been running around ten minutes before I realized their sweatsuits were supposed to be their fur.

Darrell Calker’s score is nice.

Mole Men isn’t good, but it’s definitely has some good things about it.

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