Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 3: Ablaze in the Sky!

Ablaze in the Sky! has got a bunch of action. Kirk Alyn is in his tights for some of it, but not all of it. Not even most of it. Instead, he gets to duke it out–twice–as Clark Kent. Alyn’s willingness to put himself in danger makes Noel Neill’s accusations of cowardice incongruous. Especially since he’s already stepped up to fight a gunman when she makes the first remark. It’s not gunmen Alyn (as Clark Kent) avoids, it’s just the natural–and unnatural–disasters.

The title either refers to the Daily Planet airplane having an engine fire–for some reason Jimmy Olsen (Tommy Bond) is also a pilot. He does pretty much everything at the paper except take pictures and write articles. But the title, grammatically incorrectly, could also refer to an oil well fire. Alyn puts on the tights for both those action scenes.

Then there’s some more with Lyle Talbot’s Lex Luthor, including him trading banter with Alyn and Neill. They’re reporting on his release from prison when Alyn saves Talbot from an assassination attempt.

And the mistaken identity cliffhanger’s cool too.

The acting–Alyn, Neill, Talbot–is rock solid. Even with Neill having nothing to do (mostly) except beam whenever Alyn’s in the tights. Pierre Watkin and Bond remainthe weak links in the cast, though it helps their writing this chapter is less obnoxious.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and David Matthews, based on 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), Lyle Talbot (Luthor), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Jack Ingram (Foster), Don C. Harvey (Albor), Paul Stader (Lawson), George Robotham (Earl), and Fred Kelsey (Police Chief Forman).


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