Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 10: Atom Man’s Heat Ray

Atom Man’s Heat Ray does not feature a heat ray. Unless it’s the machine Luthor (Lyle Talbot) uses the pump smoke into the room where he’s trapped Noel Neill, Kirk Alyn, and Tommy Bond.

Now, it turns out Neill is only working for Talbot’s TV station to get the goods on him for Superman (and the Daily Planet, presumably). Alyn reveals it, aloud, only for a goon to overhear. For whatever reason, no one thought to tell Bond about Neill’s secret mission. They catch the goon, so he couldn’t report back. Meaning Talbot just decides to kill Neill along with Alyn and Bond; it’s almost like he’s not interested in her journalism skills (he just wants her to make him look legitimate).

There’s some brief, fun Superman action–though the cliffhanger resolution seems to be a process shot reused from the first serial, which I suspected at the setup last chapter–and, again, it’s great to see Neill get so much to do. Besides mooning over Alyn in his long johns.

Heat Ray, with Neill’s subterfuge and Talbot’s attempts at looking legit, has some of the serial’s best ideas for plotlines. Shame it’s the tenth chapter of the serial (and the subplots seem resolved, one way or the other, by the cliffhanger).


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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