The legendary Man of Steel will take Scenic Mountain and the Big Spring State Park by storm Saturday, as the Big Spring Film Society screens the 1978 classic “Superman” atop the local landmark.
With the film expected to begin at dusk, Film Society Chairman Brandon Johnson said the screening will kick off the group's summer series.
“Come early to check out some of the 1940s Max Fleischer Superman cartoons presented by the Karat Patch,” Johnson said. “There will be concessions onsite and filmgoers will have a chance to win a six-foot-tall cutout of the Man of Steel, along with a re-creation of the red phone booth that Clark Kent always used to changed into his alter-ego in the comics.”
The film is rated-PG and stars Christopher Reeves, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder.
“For so many of us, this film was the original superhero movie,” Johnson said. “Today, movies based on comic books are coming out quicker than most of us can see them and they have become a huge box office draw. Just look at what the recent 'Avengers' film did and is still doing at theaters. However, in 1978 no one really knew if a film like this could work. It's a huge accomplishment.”
The film would also serve as a catalyst for the career of Reeves, who managed to get the role despite being up against the likes of Warren Beatty, James Caan, Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Nick Nolte, Robert Redford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jon Voight.
According to producers close to the film, Beatty and Redford ultimately turned the role down, leaving Reeves — who had only one film and a soap opera under his belt at the time — to fight it out with front-runners Nolte and Voight for the part.
“Superman” shared much of the same Hollywood limelight as another late-1970s movie franchise — namely, George Lucas' “Star Wars” films. The two even shared some of the same supporting cast, including composer John Williams and David Prowse, the actor who wore the Darth Vader suit.
According to producers, Prowse was brought in to oversee the bodybuilding regime Reeves underwent to boost his musculature for the role.
“So much thought went into this film, from Donner and the production staff,” Johnson said. “There are even some nods to the Superman of the early comic books. In one scene, as Clark Kent is looking for somewhere to change into his superhero alter-ego, he briefly considers a phone booth, which he quickly dismisses.”
Johnson said the film society is planning to screen another superhero film later this summer.
“Coming up towards the end of the summer the film society plans to screen the Tim Burton film 'Batman' somewhere in the downtown area,” he said. “With the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and 'The Dark Knight Rises' hitting theaters in July, we couldn't think of a better time to screen the film that started a lot of peoples' love for Batman on film.”
Screenings aren't the only thing on the calendar for the local film society,. Johnson is set to host Movies on the Radio on KBYG.
“Coming up June 6 we will be celebrating director Ridley Scott's return to a genre he helped define with the film 'Prometheus,'” Johnson said. “We will be featuring the music from 'Prometheus,' as well as 'Alien' and 'Aliens.'
“The radio show has been a great way to keep the film society in the groove of things and is also the only show in West Texas that features soundtracks and talk about film. The radio show streams on the web and we have had feedback from all over the place, using Facebook, Twitter and the film society website www.bigspringfilm.org.”