Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 10: Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires does indeed feature two fires. The opening fire is when Noel Neill has been knocked out and captured. Kirk Alyn–and a nicely animated Superman–save her. Of course, the rescue does come with Alyn’s most unlikely change of outfit. And Neill’s asleep for the whole thing, so no dialogue between her and Alyn, not as Superman or Clark Kent.

Then it’s Tommy Bond’s chapter for a while. He’s out trying to get a story and happens upon some of the goons. He follows them, bursting in without any thought, and gets promptly captured.

It takes Alyn and Neill a while to find out Bond’s missing. Bond’s hanging out with captive scientist Herbert Rawlinson who is using the phone lines and Morse code to try to get rescued.

Unfortunately, Neill ditches Alyn to burst in without any thought and gets locked into a room with, you guessed it, another fire. And cliffhanger.

Even with poorly executed material (Earl Turner’s editing is terrible in Fires), Bond makes a fairly solid lead in his subplot. He at least gets to interact with people. Alyn and Neill’s team-up to cover the phone service interruption–no one at the phone company knows Morse code, apparently–has no dialogue between the stars.

Neill getting into trouble with the second fire requires so much stupidity and carelessness on her part, Superman breaks its disbelief suspension. Of course, why Alyn keeps trusting her to get him when there’s trouble has got the disbelief suspension primed for failure.

Superman’s consistently bumpy; between chapters and during them.

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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