blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 7: Into the Electric Furnace!

Into the Electric Furnace starts with Noel Neill in trouble and ends with Tommy Bond in trouble. In between, Pierre Watkin yells at Neill, Bond, and Kirk Alyn for not working together in their attempts to capture an escaped mad scientist (Charles Quigley) before the cops.

Quigley’s working with Spider Lady Carol Forman. Their acting ability is on about the same level, making Forman’s one scene this chapter rather tedious. At least when George Meeker is condescending to his evil supervillain mastermind boss, he’s giving an adequate performance. Quigley wobbles between a passable bad and an intolerable one.

Bond ends up in trouble because Neill tries again to scoop Alyn. They have a scene together–Neill and Alyn–where they agree not to try to scoop one another a few minutes before. It’s kind of nice for Neill and Alyn to have a scene with Watkin bossing them or Alyn rescuing Neill. In the former, Watkin’s too bombastic for anyone to get any space. The latter, however–the Superman rescues Lois scenes–always have bad post-action scenes. This time Neill doesn’t even wake up for her rescue. She does get her first animated flying stand-in though.

The chapter’s cliffhanger–the one with Bond the damoiseau in distress–is a result of Alyn being really bad at toggling between foolish newspaper reporter and superhero.

Superman’s got no balance. Its cast is mostly wasted; except Watkin. Watkin always gets the good material. Maybe everyone just needs to sit behind a desk and yell.

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