Superman Movie Minute #11 – Swell


Fire and Water Network All-Stars Chris Franklin and Rob Kelly bring you SUPERMAN MOVIE MINUTE, where they analyze, scrutinize, and you’ll-believe-a-man-can-fly-ize the classic 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, and Marlon Brando, five minutes at a time!

In minutes 51:00 – 55:00, Clark has his first day at The Daily Planet, almost gets mugged with Lois, and we meet a new character. Special guest: John Trumbull!

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14 responses to “Superman Movie Minute #11 – Swell

  1. Another great 5 minutes (are there any dog minutes in this?) and a great guest as well. Kudos!

    First off, while this movie has ‘swell’ in a prominent role, it has never replaced Hans Conreid’s role as a charm school instructor on I Love Lucy telling them the two words they should never, ‘one is swell; the other is lousy’. Thinking he is describing them not naming them, Fred says ‘Swell. What’s the lousy one.’

    As you say, Clark really walks a fine line between country bumpkin with a little bit of steel in him. The occasional semi-snide comment and standing up a bit to the mugger shows some fire inside. And I loved … LOVED … Patty Jenkins slipping in the revolving door and alley rescue into Wonder Woman. Just perfect.

    I don’t think I quite realized that the ‘Metropolis has a crime problem’ vibe hit me until recently. Donner does such a great job showing us it runs deep from fruit cart to mugger to Luthor. Brilliant.

    And Williams’ score works for everything but in particular for the bumbling Otis. He has to be Otis because of how close it is to ‘oafish’, right?

  2. A bit off topic, but since you’ve reached the Otis intro I thought I would mention what I think is Ned Beatty’s best performance: “Hear My song” (1991), a small Irish independent film based on the life of Irish tenor Joseph Locke. It’s an absolute gem and worth checking out:

    1. You mean the “I don’t know what you’re talking about, there is only one Superman movie” kind of jokes? I believe those were Rob’s way of making sure John and I didn’t get too far afield from the actual subject matter we were covering. I believe everyone holds Superman II in good regard.


      1. Ok, I thought perhaps the prevailing wisdom was we weren’t “allowed “ to like the movie.

        Btw, I usually listen to the podcast at work and always want to stop to listen to the soundtrack.

  3. Seeing Margot Kidder as a child might be a big reason why I was so gaga over Courtney Cox as a teen.

    So many things could have gone wrong with S:TM but you had the right director, designers, craftsmen, cameramen, music, and actors. I don’t think Donner or Reeve could have pulled it off without the other.

    It’s easy to fall into parody with Clark Kent but, as you say, Reeve injects enough consciousness and sincerity that he’s more a facet than a guise, unless you’re looking through the Tarantino lens. In this film, you know that he’s got innate goodness even without Lois. In MoS, I’d be wary of the day he’s without either Lois or Ma Kent.

  4. I continue to enjoy these fine-scale discussions of the movie, especially as I watch the current season of Supergirl. I don’t know, if they’ve been doing this all along, but this season has been chocked full of Superman Movie references. Last night’s episode made mention of “the knowledge of the 28 known galaxies.” I probably would have missed most of those references without the help of this podcast. Thank you.

    1. I lost track of Supergirl early last season. I really like the cast of that show, but the focus on Alex’s love life got really old for me. I have no problem with the direction they went in with her character, or the actress, but to me the show often reads too much like “The Alex Danvers Show”. The recent CW crossover didn’t do anything to assuage my feelings on that. Which is a shame, because I really love Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl.

      Glad to hear the movie is still being influential in all Super-media. I may have to give it yet another shot!


      1. This season is an improvement from last Chris and worth jumping back on board. There are a ton of sly Donner references. There are more comic Easter Eggs. We have Morgan Edge and the Legion. ANd the big bad is the Supergirl equivalent of Doomsday.

        All episodes reviewed at my place if you want to see screen caps before commiting.

  5. Thought you guys might like this OSU marching band tribute to Hollywood blockbusters that begins with the classic Williams score:

    1. That was awesome. I always loved watching the OSU marching band, when my aunt would take me to games as a kid. Go Bucks!

  6. Boy, so many interesting comments in this episode. Hard to believe it’s just 5 minutes of movie time!

    Thinking about Clark getting his job, why shouldn’t he use his power a little to make a living to support his mother? It’s honest work, he’s not stealing. And maybe he does have super-composition and super-proofreading and super-reporting. Should he not do those things? It’s not like he’s going to get mega-rich as a reporter.

    And about giving the Superman scoop to Lois. It works great in the movie’s narrative, but I have no problem with him using writing the scoop himself in the comics. In comparison, Peter Parker’s entire career was taking photos of Spider-Man. Does that make him less heroic than Clark?

    And is it actually “sweet” for Clark to give Lois the Superman interview? Yes, he’s smitten, but it’s also quite manipulative since she doesn’t know they’re the same person. Is trying to romance her really a pure-hearted motivation?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m just playing “Luthor’s advocate” here. It was a great way to tell the story in the movie, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Clark/Superman is too good-hearted to do anything with bad intentions.

    This episode was just … swell!

  7. Working my way through and enjoying every podcast. But I was mildly disappointed that no one notice a “movie mistake.” Not so much a mistake, as a “what the heck?” When you are watching the movie again – and we all know we will be – during this segment watch for the recurring extra. She is a white blonde woman with short hair and prominent nose. She appears upstairs with Clark and is then on the street ahead of him in the next scene. It is not realistic to expect her to be on the street before Clark and Lois, but there she is! I noticed this the first time I saw the film on December 15, 1978 and it’s always bothered me. Yeah – I guess I’m that guy! Looking forward to more ‘casts.

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