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Hollywood’s First Superhero to Return to the Big Screen

By Teddi Cliett

The Sam Houston State University Department of Mass Communication invites students, faculty, and the Huntsville community to revisit Hollywood’s original superhero at the free screening of the 1978 film, “Superman,” at Old Town Theatre on Monday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m.

The screening will be introduced by mass communication graduate student Scott Stamper, who will give more background on the movie, and will conclude with a discussion led by mass communication assistant professor Grant Wiedenfeld to expand on the audience’s understanding of the film, which differs greatly from modern-day superhero movies.

“The 1978 film has a different character from today’s Superman and superhero movies,” Wiedenfeld said. “On the one hand it has a kitsch style that recalls the comics, cartoons, and b-movie serials of the 1940s. On the other hand, the 1978 movie has an optimism and sincerity that stands apart from the dark and cynical superhero movies we often see today. In this sense (actor Christopher) Reeve’s hero and the comic villain feel like a breath of fresh air.”

In addition to the movie being the first of its kind, the film also possess some musical qualities that viewers could find impressive.

“The movie was directed by Richard Donner with a famous score by John Williams, who also wrote the soundtrack score for Star Wars and Jaws, the other groundbreaking movie franchises of the 1970s,” Wiedenfeld said.

 

Superheroes have been an American staple for almost 90 years, and the original Superman movie will take audience members back to the roots of the good versus evil storyline that everyone knows and loves.

“Superheroes took hold on American culture in the 1930’s and 40’s through comic books, of course, but they were not important for cinema until fifty years later,” Wiedenfeld said. “The 1978 movie starring Christopher Reeve was the first superhero movie of the type we know today, and in that sense he is the ‘original superhero.’”

Old Town Theatre is located at 1023 12 St. For more information, contact Wiedenfeld at grant.wiedenfeld@shsu.edu.

Teddi Cliett is with the SHSU College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication

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