The Superman Motion Picture Anthology Extras Listing
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Here you’ll find the extras in this collection listed by disc. The discs boot to static menus unless stated otherwise.
Disc 1: Superman The Movie Theatrical Version
Here you’ll find a commentary from producers Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind.
The original documentary, The Making of Superman: The Movie lasts 51:50, and is worth watching for some interesting interviews, with Marlon Brando justifying his fee.
Superman and the Mole-Men is one of the serial adventures starring George Reeves from the fifties. This lasts 58:05 and is in Black and White. We now have scientific advisors on sci-fi and fantasy shows to offer some verisimilitude, but this show comes from an era when scripts would be pulled from thin air. Its heart is in the right place with a message about tolerance, but its silliness is off the scale.
You get three Warner Brothers cartoons on this disc running to 19:27, Super-Rabbit and Snafuperman are WWII propaganda pieces, although the Bugs Bunny Cartoon gets plenty of gags in before its rousing message. But the Daffy vehicle Stupor Duck made a decade later is pure silliness and much funnier.
Finally there are 4:25 of Trailers and TV Spots.
Disc 2: Superman The Movie The Expanded Version
The extras here are identical to those found on the DVD, and they go as far as sticking to the 480i presentation.
You have the audio commentary with Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz.
There are three parts of a documentary from around 2000 here, presented by Marc McLure (Jimmy Olsen).
Taking Flight: The Development of Superman 30:14.
Making Superman: Filming the Legend 30:41.
The Magic Behind the Cape 23:45.
There are 22:25 worth of Screen Tests, 11:14 of the 10 Restored Scenes in the film, and 3:23 worth of 2 Additional Scenes.
There are 35:44 of Additional Music Cues, 8 in all running to 35:44 and presented in DD 5.0.
The Music Only Track with the film is presented in DD 5.1.
Disc 3: Superman II Theatrical Version
Here you’ll also find a commentary from producers Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind, offering their perspective on the whole production saga.
The Making of Superman II lasts 52:15 and is much akin to the documentary on the first film, although you can play a game of trying to spot Richard Donner in the b-roll footage while Richard Lester does all the director voice-over.
There is a 40 second long deleted scene where Superman cooks a soufflé.
First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series is a 12:55 documentary on the first cartoon series from the 30s and 40s.
You also get 9 of the aforementioned cartoons on this disc running to a total of 79:29. These are well worth watching. The stories may not be up to much, having to fit a scant seven or eight minutes of run-time, and quite simplistic at that, but the animation really is a work of art, atmospheric and almost film noir in a way that you wouldn’t associate with the Man of Steel.
Finally there is a trailer for the second film which lasts 2:22.
Disc 4: Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
There is an introduction to the film from Richard Donner which lasts 1:54.
There is an audio commentary from Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz which may be gappy, but is still worth listening to.
Superman II: Restoring the Vision looks at how the original version of the film was rediscovered, and pieced back together for this release. This lasts 13:20 and is in 480i.
There are 6 Deleted Scenes which run to 8:44, again in SD.
Finally there are the rest of the Fleischer Superman Series cartoons, although as these are taken from the war era, there is a lot of propaganda here, and character takes a back seat to winning World War 2. This isn’t always the Superman you know. Together these 8 animations last 67:49.
Disc 5: Superman III
This film also gets an audio commentary from Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind.
The Making of Superman III lasts 49:08, but this time the EPK nature of the featurette is more obvious, and there isn’t much to take from this documentary.
The eleven deleted scenes run to 19:43, are presented in pan and scan, and are all on the extended TV broadcast version I’ve mentioned. Nothing new here.
Finally there is the theatrical trailer for the film lasting 3:11.
Disc 6: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
You get a commentary from writer Mark Rosenthal.
There are 31:02 of deleted scenes, 15 in all, in really poor condition.
The theatrical trailer runs to 1:26.
The Superman 50th Anniversary Special lasts 48:10. Back in the eighties, there was a fashion for these anniversary celebrations to be done in mockumentary style, making believe that the subject matter is real, and bringing in a cast of b-list celebs to play roles. There would be a 30 second sound-bite reality after each commercial break before returning to the metafiction once more. All you need to know is that this one is presented by Dana Carvey, and it’s worse than the fourth feature.
Disc 7: Superman Returns
This disc really is packed with extras, although if you feel about the film the way I do, the temptation to watch them might just fade away.
Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns is presented in 5 parts, looking at everything from pre-production, casting, shooting and post-production. The total runtime is 173:41, and it is presented in 480.
Resurrecting Jor-El lasts 4:00, and looks at how Marlon Brando’s image was used in the film.
There are 82 minutes of Video Journals from Brian Singer.
The sole HD content on the disc comprises 13 Deleted Scenes running to 21:27, and the trailers for the film, running to 3:20.
Disc 8: Bonus Disc
Just extra features here, but plenty of them.
Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is presented in 1080p resolution, with DD 5.1 Surround audio, and runs to 110:30. This documentary follows the Superman story from its 1930s inception to the 2006 feature film, looking at comics, books, radio, TV and movies. It’s presented by Kevin Spacey, and features plenty of interviews with writers, film and TV cast, and famous fans of the franchise.
You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman is presented in 5 parts, which together run to 89:24. This is a comprehensive retrospective of the making of the four Christopher Reeve films, with a strong emphasis on the first two, and the Donner vs. Salkind saga. This is in 480i with DD 2.0 audio.
The Science of Superman lasts 51:01 and is presented in 1080p with DD 5.1 audio. Depending on your mood, it’s either a half-interesting pointless diversion, or a waste of disc space, trying to place Superman’s powers in a scientific context. You might as well call this the science of miracles, or the science of magic.
Far more useful is The Mythology of Superman (480i DD 2.0 19:34), a look at how the modern US mythology of Superman is a tradition that reaches back to the earliest stories and myths, an evolution that began with the story of Gilgamesh, the Greek myths and so on.
The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve is also a 480i DD 2.0 presentation, which lasts 18:00, looking back at the life of the Superman actor.
The Adventures of Superpup lasts 21:34 480i, and is the most disposable extra in this collection. After the suicide of George Reeves back in the 50s, the studio was left with the sets and the Superman concept, rather than recasting the live action show, they commissioned a pilot for this children’s show instead, reinventing Superman with animal characters, played by little people in animal costumes and with the odd puppet. Understandably it didn’t go to series, and this pilot here isn’t in the best condition either, with the video losing colour ten minutes in. The only noteworthy comment is that it looks like the spiritual forebear of Hong Kong Phooey.