Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 5: A Job for Superman

A Job for Superman has the serial’s first enthusiastic use of the cartoon flying Superman. Kirk Alyn has just ditched Tommy Bond with a goofy excuse so he can put on the long-johns (behind rocks this time, not shrubbery) and he’s flying between rock outcrops to get ahead of the bad guys’ car. They’ve kidnapped Noel Neill. Then cartoon Superman flies off the outcrop and lands on the car.

It’s a good action sequence, even if its dramatically pat. Neill’s just survived her first encounter with Spider Lady Carol Forman. Forman’s proving to be a lousy supervillain, with chief henchman George Meeker challenging her every decision. Doesn’t help Forman’s always wrong.

Once Alyn rescues Neill–this time she at least gets one line of dialogue before the scene ends, so far there’s zero Lois and Superman stuff in Superman–the action moves back to the Daily Planet for some lengthy exposition setting up Forman’s next scheme. Threaten Superman publicly and tell him her plans.

Of course, turns out Alyn knowing her plans doesn’t mean he’s not going to screw up stopping them. Worse, the action sequence setting up the cliffhanger is nowhere near as good as the first one.

Alyn and Bond have a good scene together. Still no character development, but a good scene. Neill gets some lines for the Daily Planet scene; when she’s out on assignment, Superman cuts away. To that lame finale action sequence.

A Job for Superman starts iffy, gets better, goes back to iffy. The script’s way too erratic.


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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