Category Archives: lois lane

Superman Vs. The Elite

Superman Vs. The Elite ~ In the spirit of full disclosure, I need to say I did not like the Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke story this is based on, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way” from Action Comics #775, but then I didn’t think much of that run, nor of the characters Manchester Black and The Elite either. Sorry, when it comes to Superman, I’m pretty much a traditionalist, although the story did raise a few salient points. I remain unconvinced.

I definitely dug the punk rock pop culture Warhol-ization of the Filmation cartoons from the 1960s mashed up with Curt Swan art of the 1970s for the opening credits sequence. A nice touch. I loved the cartoon at the beginning, the interaction between Lois and Clark, and loved the battle between Superman and the Atomic Skull too, someone really wants me to like this movie. The animation style is a bit odd in places however, Lois most notably stands out as small and sometimes cross-eyed in a bad anime way. That and Superman’s ridiculously huge chin, I mean, he’s not the Tick, ya know?

The gist of the story is Superman is old-fashioned and passé in our world. Why simply capture and imprison a murderous destructive criminal like the Atomic Skull when Superman could so easily rid the world of him. We need a proactive hero, not a reactive hero. Manchester Black and The Elite exploit this when they stop escalating war in Bialya while Superman watches and acts futilely.

Later, after a team-up between our ‘heroes,’ the Elite declare war on the baddies, promising punishment and zero tolerance. Superman is starting to look bad, and in his investigation of his competitors, they are not looking great either, he just can’t prove it. At this point, Lois begins to get annoying. She is less the Margo Lane equal partner and more the Doiby Dickles comic relief. Not cool for this Lois fan.

Speaking of comic relief, I liked the Rush Limbaugh clone doing a Aaron Sorkin style soapbox rant as Superman races to stop the Elite from killing more soldiers in the Bialyan conflict. Superman gets his butt handed to him, when saved by the Elite, and given medical attention at their headquarters, there is even more Sorkin preachiness. On the other hand, I like the preaching provided by Pa Kent. Like Lois should be, his parents are Superman’s rock.

A second battle with the Atomic Skull, this time against both Superman and The Elite, completely turns the tide toward Black against the man of steel. As The Bride would be wont to say, “Is it time for the good guys to win yet?” I liked the movie less and less the more I watched. This was just too much morality play in my comic books for me.

Advertisements

The Adventures of Jane Arden

THE ORIGINAL SPUNKY GIRL REPORTER

A Video Review of The Adventures of Jane Arden

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This gem from 1939 is typical B-movie filler for the period. At barely less than an hour long The Adventures of Jane Arden is based on the girl reporter comic strip by Monte Barrett and Russell E. Ross.

“Jane Arden” the comic strip began in 1927 and had moderate success in the United States but was huge in Canada and Australia. It is predominantly remembered for the cut out paper doll outfits included every Sunday for use on your own cardboard Jane Arden doll. And I thought superhero comics were sometimes bizarre.

This movie that seems like a brutally short serial was directed by film veteran Terry Morse who would go on to do other offbeat classics like The List of Adrian Messenger, Robinson Crusoe on Mars and the 1956 American version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!.

Girl reporter Jane Arden is played by Rosella Towne who suffered from a very short career of little note which is unfortunate because she showed promise. William Gargan is quite good here as Ed Towers. He gained fame later on as TV’s “Martin Kane, Private Eye.” Dennie (not Demi) Moore is a delight as the lovelorn editor Teenie. Moore is probably best known for her small bit in The Women as the tattling manicurist.

She might seem like a third rate Nancy Drew at first but Jane Arden has her own style and spunk. You might say she’s the original spunky girl reporter. The story of The Adventures of Jane Arden has our girl going undercover to snag jewel smugglers is pretty simple for this mini chapterplay but it’s enough and plays out well for under an hour.

Jane Arden was the precursor to Lois Lane and Brenda Starr who has become lost in our time. She was the spunky girl reporter prototype, a role model for girls everywhere who liked paper dolls. Check out The Adventures of Jane Arden. It’s a nice entertaining time capsule.

Sisters

APING THE MASTER

A Video Review of Sisters

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Director Brian DePalma has many times been accused of ripping off the master Alfred Hitchcock’s style and techniques with his films such as Carrie, Body Double and especially Sisters. ‘Ripping off’ and, to the extreme, theft are strong terms. After viewing Sisters again for the first time in a few years I would have to say the one we’re looking for is ‘homage.’ DePalma is paying tribute to the master.

The film having been made during his lifetime I’m sure had Hitchcock known of the script for Sisters he’d have probably killed for it. It’s right up his alley, every element is strikingly Hitchcockian. Voyeurism, murder by knife and of course the plucky independent girl reporter who wants more.

The pre-Lois Lane Margot Kidder plays a dual role of separated Siamese twins Dominique and Danielle. She is wonderfully dopey and believable even with her French accent. Jennifer Salt (whatever became of her?) is the plucky girl reporter who believes she saw Kidder slash up a lover from her apartment window across the way. Charles Durning is terrific in an early role as a helpful private investigator.

Although it begins quite bizarrely like Peter Veerhoven doing a 1970s ABC movie of the week but quickly turns into a Hitchcock flick. The “Peeping Toms” TV show in the opening looks precariously like a 21st century reality show. Perhaps DePalma was years ahead of his time voyeur-wise. His use of flashback and split screen images as well as his tricky camera shots make DePalma a genius all his own independent of the man whose mastery this film pays homage.

Sisters is a truly amazing accomplishment and should be able to stand alone as Brian Depalma’s achievement rather than Hitchcock’s tribute. It’s a thriller and a shocker that should not be missed.