blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 4: Man of Steel

Man of Steel opens with a good scene for Kirk Alyn, as both Clark Kent and Superman, as he has to decide if he’s going to reveal his secret identity. He’s trying to convince scientist Forrest Taylor to destroy kryptonite.

Unfortunately, Taylor’s got an assistant who’s more interested in personal profit than the well-being of the Man of Steel, which brings Carol Forman’s Spider Lady into the mix.

But not for Alyn. After the opening, he gives up the chapter to Noel Neill. For a few minutes, anyway, before she gets kidnapped. She and Tommy Bond do get a good scene together–visiting a stool pigeon, Neill has to school young Bond in proper reporting.

Once she’s kidnapped and off to Forman’s lair, Man of Steel starts to get its familiar drag. Forman’s performance isn’t good; her character is stupid too. Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr have Neill ostensibly in danger the whole time, yet when she gets to have the cliffhanger, it’s like they just remembered to do something with her. Before the cliffhanger, it’s all Forman doing expository.

Bennet and Carr’s lack of urgency hurts Man of Steel. Alyn, Neill, and Bond are all good, but the finale gives none of them anything to do. Just Forman. And she wastes anything she gets to do. It’s not entirely her fault. Spider Lady’s a weak character

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