Advertisements

Tag Archive: Christopher Reeve


This year marks the 120th anniversary of the publication of H.G. Wells’ genre defining science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds We reviewed the latest incarnation of the story earlier this year here at borg.  This Halloween Eve marked the 80th anniversary of the broadcast of War of the Worlds, Orson Welles‘ theater company adaptation of Wells’ The War of the Worlds–the one that sent a minor panic across the U.S. in 1938.  Smithsonian Magazine has the best historical retrospective on the event (written in 2015) at its website here.  The show was just a quickly cobbled together episode of the radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air, broadcast on CBS–the radio network–when an attentive audience took Welles’ performance for reality.  Indiana University’s Lilly Library commemorated the anniversary by publicly streaming its newly digitized version of the infamous event derived from Welles’ personal lacquer disc recordings, for free.  If you’re continuing your Halloween celebration through the weekend, there’s no better time to turn off the television and take yourself and your family on a time travel trip to sci-fi entertainment, 1930s style.  Stream the original radio presentation of Mercury Theatre’s War of the Worlds plus more classic presentations at the library’s website here.

Along with The War of the Worlds anniversaries, it’s a good time to celebrate actor and writer John Houseman, who co-founded the Mercury Theatre Players with Welles, and produced and co-wrote the script for the War of the Worlds broadcast.  Decades before gaining new fame in his Academy Award-winning role as the scary and iconic Professor Kingsfield in the movie The Paper Chase opposite Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner, and later starring in the television series version, Houseman served as an uncredited co-writer to Herman J. Mankiewicz on Citizen Kane Initially collaborators, “Jack” Houseman and Welles would have a falling out soon after that was never mended.  Never escaping his early connection with Welles, Houseman died thirty years ago today, the day after the 50th anniversary of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

Early photograph of Mercury Theatre co-founders Orson Welles and John Houseman.

If you’re a John Carpenter fan, you may recall Houseman as the narrator at the beginning of Carpenter’s 1980 classic ghost story, The Fog Born in Romania, as the old coastal chap Mr. Machen (a name referencing 1890s horror writer Arthur Machen), Houseman delivered that same brand of captivating storytelling in his one-of-a-kind voice, storytelling that made the War of the Worlds broadcast so famous.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Coming in at about the same price as the actor’s screen-used prop blaster from Return of the Jedi this summer (discussed here at borg), Harrison Ford proved again he is #1 among pop culture and entertainment memorabilia collectors.  At Prop Store‘s entertainment memorabilia live auction in London yesterday, called Treasures from Film and Television (which we previewed from San Diego Comic-Con here in July), one of the fedoras worn by ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark brought record bids for a prop from the franchise, taking in an estimate of between $522,500 and $558,000, including fees and taxes.  Ford’s Han Solo blaster sold in June for $550,000 (before tax).  The hammer price for the hat was £320,000 when the winning bid was placed and the hammer struck, or about $424,755.  Provenance for this hat was not provided by Prop Store in its catalog, but the company said it could be screen-matched through identifying marks to several key scenes in the movie.  An Indy bullwhip from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sold for $74,460, including buyer’s premium, at the auction.

One of the other auction lots worn by Ford was supposed to be the crown jewel of the auction, a simple stylized blue jacket worn in The Empire Strikes Back said to have been screen-matched to the film’s Cloud City scenes.  Although it was expected to garner $660,000 to $1.3 million, bidders were just not willing to push bids past the $600,000 mark and the seller’s minimum reserve price.  The jacket was one of the only hero costume pieces from the original trilogy to be offered at public auction.

This week’s big star prop of the Prop Store auction was crowded among other Hollywood props on display at San Diego Comic-Con this past July.

Several other key props from the four corners of genredom sold in excess of six figures (including buyer’s premium and net of taxes) in yesterday’s auction.  A light-up T-800 endoskeleton from Terminator II: Judgment Day (1991) fetched a massive price of $326,500.  A Christopher Reeve costume from Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) sold for $212,200.  A Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalker lightsaber from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005) sold for $180,000 and an Ian McDiarmid Emperor lightsaber from the film sold for $114,000.  A background First Order Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars: The Last Jedi surprised everyone, selling for a whopping $180,000.  A Johnny Depp costume from Edward Scissorhands (1990) sold for $106,100.  Of several original comic book art pages that sold, the star was Page 15 from The Amazing Spider-Man (1966), Issue #32, by artist Steve Ditko, which fetched $155,000.

More than two dozen other memorable props and costumes from sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, and horror classics fared well (prices quoted include pre-tax conversion from British pound, including buyer’s premium):
Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s just what fans of DC Comics have been begging for.  Finally, a Batman portrayal worthy of Adam West and Michael Keaton.  The complete membership of the classic Justice League as fun as we all remember them from the comic books.  Homages to famous artists adapted to the big screen from the best of DC Comics, like cover artist Jock, plus throwbacks to the campy series of the 1960s.  And more homages to the musical scores from the best of the DC Comics cinematic adaptations of the past, including callbacks to Danny Elfman’s score to the 1989 Batman movie and John Williams’ Superman theme.

What was your favorite DC Comics adaptation before 2017?  How far back do you go?  Most superhero movie fans seem to agree upon the original Superman starring Christopher Reeve as the modern rebirth of the superhero film, and count Reeve among the best embodiments of a superhero on film.  But after Reeve, fans begin to disagree as movies based on DC Comics are concerned, and usually turn to the CW Network television series for the next best DC iterations of comic book adaptations.

So when all of it finally comes together, it finally comes together in 2017, after the likes of misfires including Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, we finally have an exciting and worthy DC Comics outing that is fun for the entire family, and best of all, it is all heart.

And as a bonus, it features villains worthy of a movie from the DCU.  Sure, you might expect a pantheon of villains like The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Scarecrow, Bane, Clayface, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Captain Boomerang, Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Polka Dot Man, Mime, Tarantula, King Tut, Orca, Dr. Phosphorus, Killer Moth, Magpie, March Hare, Frank Miller’s Mutant Leader, Dr. Hugo Strange, Zodiac Master, Gentleman Ghost, Clock King, Red Hood, The Kabuki Twins, Calendar Man, Kite Man, Catman, Calculator, Zebra-Man, and Condiment King.  But all in one movie?  And battling some of fiction’s other greatest supervillains, like Dracula and the other Universal Monsters, The Daleks, Lord Voldemort, Jaws, King Kong, Gremlins, velociraptors, the Wicked Witch of the West, Agent Smith from The Matrix, and Sauron?  Wait–was Darth Vader tied up in some other project?

Continue reading

Downton Abbey

For you genre TV and film fans that got sucked into the BBC/PBS series Downton Abbey, now that the series is on hiatus are you ready to entirely re-immerse yourself back into sci-fi and fantasy?  Or do you still need a bit of the British manor fix now and then?  A great feature of British manor series and movies is the overlap of actors back and forth into the best of sci-fi and fantasy.  So if 12 inches of snowfall has stranded you inside and you want to further investigate your favorite performers on Netflix or other streaming media as they stretch their acting chops, here’s an excuse to dive into some films and TV series you may not have otherwise tried, featuring the best of the world of sci-fi and fantasy.

Remains of the Day Dyrham Hall

Christopher Reeve plays an American who buys this estate in Remains of the Day.

Continue reading

A bit of buzz from Comic-Con this year was the release of the Man of Steel trailer at the Warner Brothers panel.  The following week it was announced the trailer would appear before The Dark Knight Rises at screenings across the country.

Set to hit theaters next year, Man of Steel has a relatively obscure lead actor as Superman, Henry Cavill (The Tudors doesn’t count), but the rest of the cast will be familiar to everyone: Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White.

So here is the trailer that premiered with The Dark Knight Rises:

I found it pretty underwhelming and I couldn’t figure out why people were so excited from the Comic-Con panel.  All you really see of Superman is this flight at the end:

And we see this guy working Alaska fishing boats.  I doubt this is to be Krypto:

So what’s the real story?

Turns out they actually showed a longer trailer at Comic-Con.  It included peeks at Crowe, Costner, Adams, a scene with Superman being taken prisoner–what appears to be a remake of Superman 2 with Christopher Reeve, including a new General Zod.

Following up on what was an intentional sequel to Superman 2 with Superman Returns–a really good film with Superman played awesomely by Brandon Routh–now we have a random remake of Superman 2?  Umm… why?  And why pick a British actor to play one of the biggest truly American roles–the kid from Smallville, Kansas?  Not a big deal, but maybe it’s time they let an American actor play James Bond?

So if you want to pretend you were at the San Diego premiere of the other trailer, check this out.  Not great quality, but at least you can get a hint of why the folks at SDCC 2012 were more excited than the crowd watching the trailer that appeared before The Dark Knight Rises this past weekend.

BTW I don’t know who shot this footage… just ran across it on YouTube.  I actually had a better link but it got pulled and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pulled, too.  It doesn’t look all that stellar, but you can’t really judge it because of the quality.  BUT I can see where there may be some cool things happening here.

Man of Steel has a June 14, 2013 release date.

And since we’re talking SDCC 2012 and superhero movies, Marvel Comics announced release dates and logos for these new Marvel flicks:

Release dates:

· May 3, 2013 — Iron Man 3
· November 8, 2013 — Thor: The Dark World
· April 4, 2014 — Captain America: The Winter Soldier
· August 1, 2014 — Guardians of the Galaxy

No date yet for Ant-Man, but don’t you wish they’d score Simon Pegg for the role of Hank Pym?

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Superman has been around since June 1938, with his alter ego Clark Kent, first appearing in DC Comics’ Action Comics #1.  As we approach the restart of the DC universe with a new Action Comics #1, and the coming Man of Steel feature film beginning production, let’s run down how television and film has reflected the Man of Steel over the past seven decades.

It took ten years before Superman made it to the silver screen.  Kirk Alyn was the first actor to don the cape as the man from Krypton who could leap tall buildings with a single bound.  Here he is in 1948 in the first Superman feature film, titled simply Superman:

And here is how Superman appeared in the comic book at the time:

Not a bad match at all!  But there are two sides to Superman.  Here is Alyn as Clark Kent:

Pretty familiar?  Let’s move on to the next actor to play Superman, George Reeves, in the 1950s series Adventures of Superman:

And Superman in the comic book in the 1950s:

And Reeves as Clark Kent:

Maybe because I grew up watching reruns of George Reeves as Superman when I was a kid, I really think Reeves was the best actor cast as the Man of Steel of all the actors to take on the role.  His Clark Kent is both serious when required and slightly humorous, especially when excusing himself to change into his suit.

In the 1960s?  No Superman on TV or on film.  A sign of the times, maybe?  But here is Bob Holiday in a stage production on Broadway in 1966.*  Good casting!

Here is Superman from the 1960s comic books.

The next actor to take on the role was Christopher Reeve in 1978’s Superman and its three sequels in the 1980s:

And Superman in the comics in the 1970s-1980s:

Reeve seemed to reflect a leaner Superman in the comic books series.  And yet his Clark Kent was in step with the Kents of the past:

In the 1990s we had a successful TV series, Lois and Clark, starring Dean Cain as the Man of Steel:

And here is Superman in the comics of the 1990s:

Definitely a more “pumped up” Superman was favored in the 1990s.  But again, a hardly changed alter ego compared to past actors (maybe minus the hat and definitely Superman is younger in this incarnation):

And even younger yet, between 2001 and 2011 Smallville focused on the teen years of Clark Kent with actor Tom Welling hardly donning a cape at all (as a reflection of decade of the 2000s, is this a statement of the times–who needs a costume?):

And Superman in the comics of the day–can’t get away with no suit in the comic books!

But as Clark Kent, Welling veered far from past incarnations.  But that was the point of the show, much as Lois and Clark did,  appealing to modern, young viewers, Smallville was more of a teen soap a la 90210 than an action show:

With Superman Returns in 2006, an apparent sequel to Superman II, the studio made an effort to take us back to probably the most popular actor to play Superman, Christopher Reeve, with the young Brandon Routh, who seemed to summon Reeve in putting forth a great performance.  Overlapping the span of the Smallville TV series, Routh looks the part, too:

The heroic Superman of the comic book in 2006 still stands strong:

And Routh carries off the classic Clark Kent, too:

By all accounts, Routh was being primed to play the Man of Steel in the next feature film.  Any why not?  He nailed the character in Superman Returns.  But then the studio changed its mind and went with someone new.  The new actor must be someone far superior or they wouldn’t have moved away from someone as solid as Routh, right?

Then the studio announces Henry Cavill and reveals this photo:

He sort of looks like Adam Baldwin (Chuck, Firefly), doesn’t he?  Not really consistent with prior casting.  A darker vibe, no bright colors, maybe appealing to the Dark Knight audience, since the Batman franchise has been more successful lately? And the suit material looks like some type of mottled rubber.  Hrm.  Here is a photo of Cavill in glasses, before being cast:

So maybe there’s hope yet?  Here is a recent photo of Cavill with the “Superman curl” that has been circling the Net:

He may just look the part after all.  Of course we won’t really know for a few years.  And finally, here is Superman in Action Comics, as we approach the end of a comic book era:

Man of Steel is planned to hit theaters June 14, 2013, starring Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White.

Editor’s Note:  Hey, those of you reading this from the Facebook movie fan page, please check out Borg.com on Facebook!  And if you like this and have comments please let us know!

*Updated. Thanks for the heads up on Bob Holiday from William Alexander.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg

 

%d bloggers like this: