Tag Archives: Noel Neill

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.

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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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 8: Superman to the Rescue

Superman to the Rescue fails to feature one thing–Superman to the rescue. The cliffhanger resolution goes from sped-up film fistfight to Kryptonite gas filling a room. Tommy Bond saves himself–lucking out because apparently a convener belt is poorly designed–while Kirk Alyn’s Superman stumbles out of the gas cloud.

Noel Neill shows up just in time for the scene to end and Alyn, Neill, and Bond to go back to the Daily Planet. Pierre Watkin gets to yell at them a bit–they missed the story but at least they rescued Bond–before it’s time for Carol Forman’s Spider Lady to take over the plot.

She’s going some infighting to deal with before she can try to steal the Reducer Ray. Superman’s supposed to be guarding it. Unfortunately, she’s able to figure out his plan to safely transport it. Oddly, no one notices Superman’s not doing anything to help with the transportation. Alyn’s in Clark Kent garb for most of it.

Lots of back and forth with Forman and her goons as they plan and execute said plan.

It’s a fairly boring chapter. Even if Alyn up, up, and awaying is a little pricey, it’s not like Neill and Bond couldn’t be doing something. Instead, Forman’s a supervillain with a dysfunctional work place. Yawn.

Alyn does have a solid action sequence in the last third. Not really the cliffhanger, which is forgettable and doesn’t need Alyn; so in the lead up to the cliffhanger.

But Rescue is still incredibly tedious.

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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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 7: Into the Electric Furnace!

Into the Electric Furnace starts with Noel Neill in trouble and ends with Tommy Bond in trouble. In between, Pierre Watkin yells at Neill, Bond, and Kirk Alyn for not working together in their attempts to capture an escaped mad scientist (Charles Quigley) before the cops.

Quigley’s working with Spider Lady Carol Forman. Their acting ability is on about the same level, making Forman’s one scene this chapter rather tedious. At least when George Meeker is condescending to his evil supervillain mastermind boss, he’s giving an adequate performance. Quigley wobbles between a passable bad and an intolerable one.

Bond ends up in trouble because Neill tries again to scoop Alyn. They have a scene together–Neill and Alyn–where they agree not to try to scoop one another a few minutes before. It’s kind of nice for Neill and Alyn to have a scene with Watkin bossing them or Alyn rescuing Neill. In the former, Watkin’s too bombastic for anyone to get any space. The latter, however–the Superman rescues Lois scenes–always have bad post-action scenes. This time Neill doesn’t even wake up for her rescue. She does get her first animated flying stand-in though.

The chapter’s cliffhanger–the one with Bond the damoiseau in distress–is a result of Alyn being really bad at toggling between foolish newspaper reporter and superhero.

Superman’s got no balance. Its cast is mostly wasted; except Watkin. Watkin always gets the good material. Maybe everyone just needs to sit behind a desk and yell.

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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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 6: Superman in Danger

Superman in Danger opens with another fine action sequence from directors Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr with the animated flying Superman. It leads into another really short scene between Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn.

Then there’s another action sequence, involving Alyn and kryptonite, with Alyn’s best acting as Superman so far in the serial. Alyn’s got some decent stuff as Clark Kent this episode, as he tries to steal Neill’s faithful stoolie (Frank Lackteen). Neill catches on to Alyn trying to scoop her and heads out. Unfortunately, the lack of teamwork and communication put them both in danger.

Neill in real danger, Alyn in ostensible danger. Though they do get in trouble, it’s because they’ve been really stupid. In Alyn’s case, the stupid’s sort of permissible (he’s new to the reporting game, after all). Neill’s isn’t permissible. She does get a solid moment a little later when she’s once again abducted; it doesn’t last long, but it’s something.

For whatever reason, Bennet and Carr can manage to do the opening action well for cliffhanger resolution, but never the closing action for the new cliffhanger. The cliffhangers are never good. There should have been at least one by chapter six, but no.

Some rather bad audio dubbing this chapter too.

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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