SUPERMAN’S PERIL (1954)
Article 4736 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by George Blair and Thomas Carr
Featuring George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson
What it is: Episodes of a superhero TV show edited into a feature
Superman has three adventures. In the first, he deals with smuggling ship disguised as a salvage ship with a mad captain. In the second, he gets caught up in a private detective’s investigation of a blackmailer. In the third, he must contend with a gangster who has hired a scientist who discovers Superman’s vulnerability to kryptonite.
Those of you who have been following this series for some time know what I’m going to say next, but it must be said. Like the other feature films culled from the second season of “Adventures of Superman”, I have not, in fact, seen this film, as none of them are available. I have, however, seen the three episodes used for the film, since the TV series itself is available. There’s a nice variety this time out. The first story is taken from the episode “The Golden Vulture”, and it’s a fairly straightforward action piece. The second (“The Semi-Private Eye”) is one of the more overtly comic episodes, and it gives Jack Larson (as Jimmy Olsen) a chance to have fun as he takes on a private detective persona as he sets out on his own to rescue Lois Lane and a detective named Homer Garrity (played by Elisha Cook Jr.) from kidnappers. The third (“The Defeat of Superman”) delves into the mythology of Superman by bringing kryptonite onto the scene; the scientist who develops artificial kryptonite is played by Maurice Cass, who I mostly remember for having played Professor Newton in the Rocky Jones series. All the episodes are enjoyable, and my favorite moments include the discovery that Superman can reassemble torn up messages with his mind alone, and a scene where Lois Lane tries to trap Clark Kent into revealing his identity as Superman by using a heavily weighted phone book.