SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN (1951)
Article #542 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-8-2002
Posting date: 2-1-2003
An oil well breaks through to the center of the earth, and mole men come up out of it. Their presence causes a wave of hysteria that Superman must quell.
This was the feature film debut of the Superman character and the debut of George Reeves in that role. I’ve never seen the TV series inspired by this feature, but after seeing this, I can understand something of its appeal. Though the later big-budget adventures of the character had better acting, there was a definite unpretentious charm to George Reeves and his performance that made him tremendously likeable in the role. I was expecting initially that the mole men would be the villains, but the story takes a different direction, in which the real villains are human beings who have let fear get the best of them; in some ways, it is reminiscent thematically of both THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and THE MAN FROM PLANET X. It makes the theme work by focusing on the confusion and the fear of the Mole Men; the scene of the terrified mole man in the burning shack is surprisingly effective. This movie has certainly raised my interest in someday checking out some episodes of the TV series.