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Have A Super George Reeves Centennial

One hundred years ago today, the second but arguably most famous pre-Christopher Reeve era Superman was born. George Reeves didn't rocket in from outerspace, landing like a meteorite in the backyard of some kindly adoptive farm couple in Kansas. He was born the normal way a few hours to the northeast in Iowa. But by the time he was 38, the struggling movie actor who had had minor roles in two Best Picture winners (Gone With the Wind and From Here to Eternity) was a national celebrity in Superman's trademark blue longjohns with red underpants... albeit in black and white on the telly.

Remember when Ben Affleck played him in Hollywoodland (2006)? 

I hadn't heard people mention this movie in years (here's a good review of it from Erik Lundegaard) until they announced that the sequel to Man of Steel would co-star Ben Affleck as Batman. At that point, pictures of Ben in the Supes suit resurfaced with a vengeance online.

I always thought George Reeves deserved a better biopic than the one he got in Hollywoodland. Not that it was a terrible movie but you have to focus to make an impression and Reeves somewhat controversial death (suicide or murder?) made that impossible. In there somewhere was surely a potentially universal and moving story about bad luck, personal demons and thwarted potential via typecasting (or as non-actors know it: being pigeonholed or underestimated). But the movie, if I recall it correctly, flattened out while trying to also be a costume drama about the tumultuous 50s in showbiz (when TV first truly freaked the movies out) and a romantic drama and a movie about Detective Adrien Brody (huh?). Focus, people!

I'm sympathetic to focus problems as anyone who reads the blog for more than a week will realize. So my mind is already wandering away but not before stopping at this pressing poll of imaginary consequence!  



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Reader Comments (9)

No one of urgency needs a biopic.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

There is nothing new to learn about any of these people. Even their bathroom habits are chronicled in the tabloids. Now.....if we find out Lynda Carter is trans.........

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Henry - LOL. I feel like if any famous actor got an unauthorized bio there might be interesting passages in their life ;)

January 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

In the build-up to "Man of Steel" I watched all the cinematic Superman movies, including Hollywoodland, and wrote about them. Here's the review. Apologies in advance:


Basically I'm with you. The Reeves story was the best part of the movie, and universal. If Superman is wish fulfillment for kids then George Reeves is identification for adults. Most of us never wind up where we want to be. Most of us assume roles (pharmacist, plumber, real estate agent) that define us and trap us. Then even that role, through age, circumstance, and technological advances, is taken away from us. So it was with George Reeves and Superman, a part he never wanted and then couldn't shake until it was finally taken away from him.

Affleck is superb, btw. I don't think he's ever been better.

Anyway, it's nice to see this movie get some attention. It deserved a bigger audience.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik

I don't like traditional rise-and-fall-greatest-hits biopics, but I'd watch a movie about Sir Ian McKellen in 1988, the year he broke up with Sean Mathias, came out publicly, shot Scandal and was about to have a kind of comeback at the RSC playing Iago.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Really enjoying the Affleck pic.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Halle Berry would be more of a caution tale, though, wouldn't it?

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

OMG that picture of Affleck is absolutely pornographic!!!

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Johnny Weismuller - is Tarzan considered a superhero? - won five Olympic gold medals, was on the Nazi's wanted list, was married to Lupe Velez and according to Esther Williams he had “remarkable genitalia that he loved to exhibit.”

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe (uk)

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