SUPERMAN IN EXILE (1954)
Article 4562 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by George Blair and Thomas Carr
Featuring George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson
What it is: Superhero TV-to-Movie by editing
Superman has three adventures. In the first, he saves the city from a nuclear accident, but goes into exile when he is soaked with deadly radiation that makes him dangerous to be around. In the second, a criminal gets plastic surgery to make him look like Superman, and he starts a crime wave. In the third, an eccentric scientist accidentally creates a super-explosive, and Superman must prevent it from falling into the hands of criminals.
I’ve done it before and I’m doing it again – I cheated. That is to say that I’ve not actually seen this movie as such. It was part of a group of movies that were made by editing together episodes of the “Adventures of Superman” series and sold overseas. These movies haven’t been seen in ages, but the episodes from which they were edited are readily available, so I watched the three episodes of the TV series that made up this one: “Superman in Exile”, “The Face and the Voice”, and “The Whistling Bird”.
One of the things I’ve liked about the episodes I’ve seen in the series is that they emphasized stories in which Superman has to use his powers carefully and thoughtfully; in the first story here, he has to figure a way to capture criminals who have stolen crown jewels and are holding Lois hostage without getting close enough to irradiate them. In the third story, I love the fast thinking he uses in preventing a volatile flask of liquid from exploding and destroying the lab; it’s the comic highlight of a mostly comedic story. The second one gives George Reeves a dual role; on top of playing Clark Kent/Superman, he also plays the dull-witted thug who imitates Superman, and is a lot of fun in the role. All in all, these aren’t the most impressive episodes of the series, but the entire series was of high enough quality that these remain fun to watch.