Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 2: Depths of the Earth

Depths of the Earth opens with Superman saving a train. Only on a budget. Yet everyone acts like it’s the second coming, from Noel Neill’s Lois Lane to the stunned rail worker. All the rail worker saw was Kirk Alyn run out of the bushes in his Superman costume and kneel next to the train tracks. But it’s enough to wow the rail worker. He can’t even form sentences to tell people what he saw, which is good since Alyn’s not really good with the secret identity thing. Clark Kent runs into the bushes (three times this chapter) and Superman runs out.

After Neill and Tommy Bond file a story about the rail incident, they head off to a mine disaster. Alyn heads to Metropolis to get a job. But first he’s got another rescue to do as Superman, his first time flying. A mob of citizens tries to chase him down after the rescue, but Alyn gets away. He’s too adept at hiding in bushes.

Alyn heads to the Daily Planet, where editor Pierre Watkin tells him if he can scoop Neill and Bond he’s got a job. So off Alyn goes to the mine disaster, which is further away than his hometown. But he gets there quick.

Not in time to save Neill from her bad instincts; she follows an old codger to get into the mine and ends up trapped.

Watkin is rather good in his scene with Alyn. He does angry newspaper editor well. Neill and Bond are good too. Alyn’s fine so far. He hasn’t really had a scene with anyone yet–his rescue was unconscious so there’s no interaction.

The cartoon flying Superman is still a little weird, but nowhere near as weird as Alyn going to cover the story of a mine disaster without helping as Superman.

The cliffhanger’s weird too. Directors Bennet and Carr are having a lot of problems with building tension. Hopefully they improve.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr; screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, and Royal K. Cole, based on an adaptation by George H. Plympton and Joseph F. Poland and characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Kirk Alyn (Superman/Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Carol Forman (Spider Lady), Herbert Rawlinson (Dr. Graham), Forrest Taylor (Professor Arnold Leeds), Nelson Leigh (Jor-El), Luana Walters (Lara), Edward Cassidy (Eben Kent), and Virginia Carroll (Martha Kent).


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