blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Billion Dollar Limited (1942, Dave Fleischer)

It’s Superman versus a train full of gold thieves. Only not so much. Lois Lane actually battles the thieves themselves in Billion Dollar Limited, while Superman deals with the runaway train.

There’s a lot of impressive action in the cartoon, especially given how little dialogue–I think maybe four or five lines total, including one of the robbers exclaiming “Superman”–but the wrap-up leaves a lot to be desired. Poor Lois fends off the robbers with a machine gun and doesn’t get any credit at the end.

The animation is outstanding–one shot has Superman’s hair getting mussed as he slows the train–but the lack of dialogue and characterization make the whole thing a tad distant. Dave Fleischer has the good sense to show one of the robbers putting on his mask, humanizing him, but then there’s nothing else.

Limited’s action-packed, well-made; it’s just not exciting.

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