Almost done working my way through the Superman franchise on Fishing in the Discount Bin. There's one last film in that boxed set...Superman and the Mole Men. This entry is in my original notes at January 23, 2016.
Well, before I put away that spiffy Superman box set, there's one last Superman movie on it to check out. From 1951, Superman and the Mole Men. It holds the historical distinction of being the first full-length Superman feature film. It's actually the pilot episode to the legendary 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman, but it was released to theatres to help drum up interest from sponsors. Having never actually seen anything from Adventures of Superman, I was mildly curious.
It's just barely an hour long and has a pretty simple plot. Clark Kent and Lois Lane are dispatched to the sleepy little Texas town of Silsby, to do a feature story on the world's deepest oil well. But when they arrive, they find the well has mysteriously been shut down. Doing a little investigative reporting, they discover that the well actually drilled into some kind of underground chamber. Before long, a couple of the residents of that underground chamber -- the Mole Men of the title -- climb out of the well to explore this surface world. But these strange visitors from an underground world frighten the people of Silsby, and soon a lynch mob is formed to hunt down the Mole Men. Who will save the Mole Men? Who will keep the peace in Silsby? Who will teach the paranoid locals the error of their ways? This looks like a job for Superman.
Sadly, we don't get to see too much of Superman in this film. Far to much of it is dedicated to the rednecks hunting down the Mole Men. All we do see of Superman is a couple of armed standoffs as Superman guards whichever building the Mole Men are currently hiding in. But we get to see bullets bounce off his chest. We get to see him bend a shotgun. And we do get to see him fly...sort of. I mean, it's 1951, so the special effects aren't the best.
All in all, it's a fun, simple Superman story, with a pretty good message. I'd like to seek out more of the Adventures of Superman TV series to see how it evolved.