Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 9: Irresistible Force

Again, a Superman chapter where the title really has nothing to do with the content. Unless the Irresistible Force refers to Superman vs. train, which is one of the serial’s better composite effects sequences. At least ones involving Kirk Alyn and not the cartoon Superman fill-in.

But after resolving the previous chapter’s cliffhanger, Alyn vanishes for most of Force. It’s a Spider Lady and goons episode. They’re plotting to kidnap a scientist (Herbert Rawlinson) from under Noel Neill’s nose, replacing him with bad guy scientist Charles Quigley in makeup.

Whether it’s Rawlinson as Quigley as Rawlinson or just Quigley as Rawlinson, the make-up on the imposter is actually pretty darn good. Neill knows something’s up and is trying to figure it out. Too bad she acts like a complete idiot and gets busted.

Spider Lady Carol Forman has her own reveals as she executes the kidnapping herself. The serial goes for surprising but it’s hard to get jazzed up about anything involving Forman and her band of thugs. They’re exceptionally slight villains.

Force also introduces a facet of Alyn’s x-ray vision. He can see through Quigley’s disguise from a photograph. Not sure how the yellow sun makes that one happen but it does.

There’s very little action with the kidnapping; once Force finally does get going, it’s already time for the finish.


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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