Author Topic: Early Superhero Films  (Read 1713 times)

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2021, 03:17:31 PM »
Bald Knobbers

I know we are but what about those masked vigilantes?

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2021, 05:49:37 PM »
Bit short for a feature.

4 mins was considered an epic in those days.

NoSleep

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2021, 05:51:27 PM »
Bit short for a feature.

It's full of gods.

Blumf

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2021, 05:51:51 PM »
4 mins was considered an epic in those days.

Directors cut took it up to a staggering 257 seconds!!

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2021, 05:57:41 PM »
Tarzan must be in with a shout as the first multi-film franchise, if you count him as a superhero.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarzan#Film

NoSleep

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2021, 05:59:10 PM »
Likewise Sherlock Holmes, supersleuth.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2021, 07:48:15 PM »
Yes?

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2021, 07:49:47 PM »
If you count lucha libre films then some of those are the earliest, Huracan Ramirez was a gimmick created for the films , Mil Mascaras aswell

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2021, 11:16:56 PM »
Now, according to wiki there were many superhero film serials, but it looks like the first proper, hour plus, film was 1966's Batman, which is crazy (and kinda awesome).

Superman and the Mole Men, which starred George Reeves (who also starred in the serials), predates that by 15 years - it’s just shy of a hour and although you have said about ‘hour plus’ films back then were shorter, so would argue that count. However…

There is Chandu the Magician (1932) which was based on a radio series and features Bela Legosi as the villain. Like the radio series, the hero has studied mysticism in the East and uses occult powers to fight crime; Stan Lee used the series as inspiration to create Doctor Strange.

In the 1930s and 40s, there were several feature films of The Shadow, with varying degrees of success, derived from the radio series (rather than the the pulp magazine version) that started in the late 1930s. In that radio version, the Shadow is in reality ‘wealthy, man about town’ Lamont Cranston, who possessed ability to cloud people’s mind to make him seem invisible and who was aided by Margot Lane, his ‘friend and companion’ and the only one who knows his secret identity. Orson Welles famously played him initially and two of his Mercury players, Agnes Moorhead and Everett Sloane, were also in the series.


So, I wonder if it was just a case of waiting for SFX to catch up with the comic book action. Or was it stuck-in-the-mud producers not realising the market was always there.

There were a few things in play. Importantly, there were were other genres that were provided goldmines for studios. Westerns was an enduring one, in the 1930s and 40s, horror was massive, which was usurped by Sci-Fi in the 1950s.

Another, I would argue, is that the market wasn’t as strong as you might think. Towards the end of the 1940s, superhero comics fell in popularity and at the same time, there was a boom in other comic book genres, particularly horror and crime. With the latter, one very popular comic was Crime Does Not Pay, which took its name from a long-running film short series and radio version, ‘broadcast in the interest of good citizenship. The superhero genre needed to evolve.

There was also the way that comic books were perceived - particulary every so often, there was concern about how children were corrupted - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seduction_of_the_Innocent, which was devastating to the industry.

That's a good one. The Mark of Zorro from 1920 would count, depending on how wide you cast the superhero net.

Would we include The Lone Ranger as a superhero? In which case, he has a 1956 film.

The Zorro films are usually consider as early superhero ones - and the character was a big influence on the development of Batman, so would say yes.

I suspect a case could be made for The Lone Ranger - interestingly, the character was the inspiration for the Green Hornet, who started as a radio hero (as did The Lone Ranger) and conceived as a descendent of the masked cowboy.

Dr Rock

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2021, 11:31:15 PM »
Stan Lee used the series as inspiration to create Doctor Strange.

Steve Ditko came up with Dr Strange without any input from Stan.

Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2021, 11:00:57 AM »
The Italian Maciste films from the 1910s and 20s featured a super-strong person who'd go various places and use his strength to have feature-length adventures. And for added superhero points he was co-created by the Italian fascist writer Gabriele D'Annunzio. I've seen Maciste in Hell which is moderately spectacular although fuck knows what was going on.


beanheadmcginty

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2021, 05:31:17 PM »
Condorman

Dr Rock

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2021, 07:30:50 PM »
Though he doesn't beat Batman for first position, Doc Savage has superhuman strength (except when they say he hasn't), and a movie in 1975.

gilbertharding

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Re: Early Superhero Films
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2021, 09:25:25 PM »
Just to say that there was a bit of an interview with Peter Cook which surfaced on that BBC4 show where his widow handed over her archives - where he's talking about "the new Marlon Brando movie, Superman" as if under the impression that Marlon Brando was going to play Superman. Now *that* would have been a Superhero.

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