Superman II Movie Minute #26 – The Donner Cut


Fire and Water Network All-Stars Chris Franklin and Rob Kelly bring you SUPERMAN II MOVIE MINUTE, where they analyze, scrutinize, and you'll-believe-a-man-can-fly-ize the classic 1980 film starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, and Terence Stamp, five minutes at a time!

In this episode, Chris and Rob wrap up the final two minutes of credits for SUPERMAN II, then move on to discuss SUPERMAN II - THE DONNER CUT!

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Opening theme and closing theme by John Williams

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26 responses to “Superman II Movie Minute #26 – The Donner Cut

  1. Only partway through, guys: I’m guessing that legally, the floppies and treasuries were magazines. “Comics” are in the newspaper.

  2. Come on, DAG. I’m willing to admit Superman IV is a badly made movie. It had great intentions, but its bad.

    Highlander 2 is bad. Not even Sean Connery can save it, much like Reeve can’t save IV.


    1. Here is my defense of the really bad first version: The first movie ended and there was nowhere to go but crazy. It’s not good, but it tries. Making the effort, in my book, makes it a better movies that play it safe. It’s awful in its own way.

      Nobody could save that movie. Not even Lambert!

        1. Bad Movies Made Better with Gemser-cast! Great idea!

          Picard brings Gemser back with him from the time ribbon!

          Neo takes down the Matrix with Laura Gemser!

          1. Superman 4 – Instead of Lucy Warfield, Emanuelle buys the Planet and helps Superman take down Nuclear Man.

            Driving Miss Emanuelle – Because wouldn’t that have been a lot more fun than driving Miss Daisy.

    2. I was working at a movie theater in the early 90s. Our policy was we didn’t give refunds to someone for not liking a movie. For Highlander 2, we made exceptions. Just sayin’.

  3. Still listening to it.

    I distinctly remember the Lois jumping out of the window stuff long before the Donner Cut. I think ABC included it in one of their extended TV broadcasts. I wonder how they mixed that with the Paris stuff that I think was also there.

    I always envisioned the Donner Cut as a Patreon extra where you’d include put new Donner Cut minute segments in the middle of your previous podcasts, and then include a few rough sound-check moments in lieu of actual discussion for a few moments.

  4. As per your request in this episode, here’s a link to my fan edit of Superman II: Ultimate Cut that I posted in reddit last month, which includes my editing notes:

    I could never find a fan edit in HD nor one that I was fully satisfied with (technically and creatively). So I recently decided to cut one of my own. I started in early October and finished mid-November. And out of my obsession from this editing exercise and trying to learn as much I can about this film, I found your podcast. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!

  5. Congratulations on completing another movie-by-minute. I’ve never seen the Donner cut. So, it was interesting to learn more about the movie as Donner originally envisioned it. I definitely like your idea of a Composite Superman movie, combining the best of the Donner and Lester versions.

    Now, I can’t help imagining what a Composite Superman movie by Zack Snyder would look like. Perhaps, it would be like Batman V Superman, but as a psychological drama focused on the internal conflict of the title character.

  6. I rarely disagree with you guys but I much prefer the Donner Cut. All the corny Lester stuff is out and the Brando stuff is wonderful and I like Lois better in Donner’s cut. I love the Lois shooting Clark with a blank (maybe my favorite scene in the picture.). My only problem with the Donner cut was it did not need the Rocky scene at the end. I don’t think Clark would “need” revenge and I don’t think the audience needed that.

  7. I don’t think you guys mentioned Brandon Routh once during this episode. He did record a couple lines in the place of Reeve that was missing audio. Also he actually appears in the film filling in for Clark in the window after Lois throws herself out of the window shouting “Lois what have you done?” This Donner cut really got made as in part as part of the release of Superman Returns.

  8. Strike that. According to IMDB an “uncredited actor” was brought in for that scene and to dub some audio but no mention of Routh. You guys mentioned a couple lines don’t sound much like Reeve. If not Routh that would be strange that Warner’s would hire someone else to dub lines for Reeve when they had Routh at their disposal who did a pretty good impression.

  9. You know, this is a really good show, you know. I like the, you know, format, you know? And I regret missing the first series; you know, the one about Superman, The Movie. You know, since I did enjoy, you know the Superman II series of, you know, commentaries, you know that I would obviously like the previous one, you know?

    Anyhow, great job to both of you, you know. A lot of the pieces and guest were, you know, very enjoyable. I am looking forward to, you know, the Superman III movie minute you know. I haven’t, you know, watched that one as many times as the first and you know second films.

    You know, this one was at the top of my list every week! Thanks!!

  10. Love the show as always, first time leaving a comment. A couple of things regarding the Donner Cut that stand out to me…

    All of Ken Thorne’s music has been replaced by Williams’ score from the original. Aaaand sometimes it gets repetitive. Not that Thorne’s adaptations were groundbreaking, but a lot of the Williams material is looped, edited, re-used, and not always to great effect.

    While we’re on the subject of the soundtrack, I will say that while I’m not always into sound revisionism, I will say that the modern gunshots and destruction effects in the White House raid are INCREDIBLE. If you have a good sound system, skip to that scene and turn it up! I think it’s one of the cases where we can say Michael Thau’s editing improved the scene, giving it a more modern, PG-13 impact.

    But yeah, the rest of it is as you said. Messy, but nice to have.

    I’ll email my listener feedback comments regarding a few more observations on the whole film.

  11. Thank you both and to all the guest hosts for completing this retrospective for both films. My Superman story is that I saw both movies in the theaters when I was young. It was showing at the big single movie screen theater in Metairie (suburb of New Orleans), called Lakeside theater that showed big blockbuster movies in the DOLBY Surround Sound which was the big thing at the time. I was super pumped up to see the sequel since I loved the first film. During the movie the crowd was rocking and rolling with the big moments in the movie. I remember being so excited after the movie ended that when my mother took my brother and I to get our haircut, I sat there and spoiled the whole movie to the barber by giving my own interpretation of the movie detail by detail (guess I was ahead of the whole podcast thing).

    Over the years the Motion Picture overtook the sequel as the flaws overshadowed the parts I liked more and more until I leaned of the two different cuts of the film due to the change in directors. I knew I saw different cut of the film on ABC but I thought it was added scenes put back in to make the runtime longer to three hours.

    Finally when WB announced the Donner’s cut was being released I couldn’t wait. I bought it and found it to be eh.. I agree with most of the points you both made and found it more that it really not a director’s cut but just long deleted scenes as Donner never did really finish the film but it does make me wonder how would have the film ended in the original film had Donner finished part two as well. Would have the first film be fondly remembered? Would the sequel be seen as better in ways since it had more of a “super hero” type of film. Would Radar have the comic adaptions to read?

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for doing this and cant wait until the five minute breakdown of part three. The first two episodes alone will let me know how you feel about the movie overall. Until next time.

  12. Thank you Chris & Rob. I don’t really have any major comments. Just wanted to chime in and let you know I’ve been listening to the shows and enjoying every minute of Superman Movie Minute. I was there in the theater for Superman: The Movie and Superman II. It was nice to go back with you and relive the magic. I look forward to more. Thanks!

  13. My two biggest gripes about the Donner Cut of Superman II are:

    (A) the scene when Lois shoots Clark with blanks… (which I’ve already talked about in great detail on a previous episode)

    And (B) the infuriating fact that Warner Home Video seems to keep pushing this version as *THE* official cut of the movie. The Donner Cut of “II” is nothing more than a glorified work print that makes for a cool DVD/Blu-ray bonus feature, but not something that should ever replace the version that was actually shown in theaters.

    Doing so only serves to confuse newer fans, who might not be aware of the difference. I know someone who got a Chris Reeve Superman DVD 4-pack, and the only versions of Superman I and II that were included were the Donner cuts… She was very disappointed with Superman II, and everyone had to come in, and explain that the Lester cut of II was a better film, overall.

  14. Congrats on finishing Superman II! And I’m so glad to hear that you’re not done yet. Thanks for letting me relive these great movies!

  15. Rob, The closing credits to the George Reeves’ Superman episodes don’t reference “comics and magazines,” but rather “Superman magazine” i.e. comic books.

    You can hear it at the 3:40 mark:

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