Some exciting news for Superman fans. Warner Home Archive [sadly not Warner Home Video, which is a rather sad sign of the times] are going to release the 3 hour-plus US TV cut of Superman: The Movie. 3 hour-plus TV cut you ask? Well, back in the 1970’s before video became widespread, a TV premiere of a film was a big deal and would draw usually huge viewing figures. Therefore advertisers encouraged films to have longer running times so they could cram more adverts in. This practice even carried on through the first half of the 1980’s until video became so widespread that it seemed pointless.
Superman: The Movie had around 40 minutes worth of cut footage put back into the film. 8 minutes of this turned up in director Richard Donner’s slightly extended Director’s Cut that he put together in 2000, scenes such as Jor El’s speech to Superman after his first bout of heroics, and the young Lois Lane on the train. However, this means that there’s still quite a bit of footage that still hasn’t been seen except by those who were lucky enough to see those early showings [this version was never shown on UK TV] and certain fans who were able to nab a pirate DVD of this version. I own one myself, but the quality was so abysmal that I struggled to make my way through it when I watched it around 15 years ago and don’t remember a great deal. I do recall lots of extra destruction in the final act and a great moment when Superman is levitating with his arms out to try to catch the XK-101 missile but it flies around him. There’s apparently:
New footage of the Kryptonian council’s discussion with Jor-El, added bits and pieces of the destruction of Krypton, a longer look of the Smallville sequences, more footage of the creation of and look inside the Fortress of Solitude, more of Metropolis, all of this was a set-up for more footage of Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. His first flight through Metropolis; more moments of interaction with residents, criminals, and Lois Lane alike; and more action throughout the film’s second half.
I’m sure that there’s also some considerable padding, but this is still my favourite superhero film of all time so I’m very excited about this, especially as the added footage will now be restored and in widescreen. And you never know, maybe we’ll get the TV cuts of Superman 2 and 3 next. Apparently some stuff exclusive to the Superman 2 TV cut showed up with no fanfare on the Digital HD Donner Cut in scope and HD for the first time recently, so it stands to reason that they might have done some work towards that as well.
Sadly for the time being this is only coming out on Region ‘A’, though I’m sure a Region ‘B’ release will follow eventually. In the mean time I’ll be buying this and will report back! It’s released on October 3rd.
SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE – EXTENDED CUT & SPECIAL EDITION 2-FILM COLLECTION (1978,2000)
Run Time 188 Minutes-EXTENDED CUT (NEW 2017 1080p HD MASTER)
151 Minutes-SPECIAL EDITION
Subtitles Spanish, French, English SDH
DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 – English (EXTENDED CUT)
DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 – English, DOLBY DIGITAL SURROUND 5.1 – French, DOLBY DIGITAL SURROUND 5.1 – Spanish
ORIGINAL ASPECT RATIO – 2.40:1, 16 X 9 LETTERBOX
Special Features (on Superman The Special Edition Disc): Commentary by Director Richard Donner and Creative Consultant Tom Mankiewicz; 3 Documentaries Taking Flight: The Development of Superman, Making Superman: Filming the Legend and The Magic Behind the Cape; Screen Tests; Restored Scenes; Additional Scenes; Additional Music Cues; Music-Only Track
Decades before blockbuster Extended Cuts were common, Superman proved a true “Man of Tomorrow.” Superman: The Movie received an ahead-of-its-time makeover for its television premiere – nearly 40 more minutes of story, creating a two-night television event. Audiences had already been swept off their feet by Christopher Reeve’s Last Son of Krypton, and now there was more to enjoy. Unseen in decades, this version is paired here with Richard Donner’s definitive vision of his film, the Special Edition Director’s Cut (2000), to create a supersized celebration of Metropolis’ favorite son that preserves the director’s intent while feeding superfan demands.