Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 12: Atom Man Strikes!

Most of Atom Man Strikes! is Noel Neill’s. After an awesome cliffhanger resolution–awesome in terms of the Superman special effects (easily the best in the serial thus far)–Neill starts secretly investigating her coworkers. Kirk Alyn finds the secret compartment in the TV van, where the bad guys spy on everyone and get safe combinations. Because Lex Luthor’s criminal empire is built on money from retail story robberies.

There’s one silly scene where Neill introduces Alyn (in his tights, not spectacles) to her stunned coworkers and just beams at him. George Robotham plays Neill’s cameraman; he doesn’t have a lot to do, but he’s a fine enough sidekick for her. Better than Tommy Bond for sure. Even if Robotham is in on some of Lyle Talbot’s scheming, though seemingly not all of it.

The cliffhanger has Talbot ready to kill everyone at the Daily Planet and probably on the city block to hide the truth about his burglary ring.

There’s a second action sequence for Superman involving a burning building. Despite a little more effort than usual as far as dynamically integrating the flying animations, it doesn’t impress. Not like the opening. Because the opening mixes the flying animation with actual optical effects, not stock footage.

Overall, it’s a rather strong chapter. Neill getting to play reporter is great. Even director Bennet wakes up a little for when the goons are chasing her down the streets of Metropolis and through various buildings. And the cliffhanger is solid. Though the Atom Man doesn’t strike. Talbot strikes. Luthor strikes. No Atom Man visible. Not since Alyn broke the bedazzled planter serving as Atom Man’s head a few chapters ago.

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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