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Atom Man vs. Superman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atom Man vs. Superman
Promotional poster
Directed bySpencer Gordon Bennet
Written byDavid Mathews
George H. Plympton
Joseph F. Poland
Based onCharacters
by Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster
Produced bySam Katzman
StarringKirk Alyn
Lyle Talbot
Noel Neill
Tommy Bond
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byEarl C. Turner
Music byMischa Bakaleinikoff
Color processBlack and white
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 20, 1950 (1950-07-20) (United States)
Running time
15 chapters (252 minutes)

Atom Man vs. Superman is a 1950 American film serial and the second Superman movie serial featuring Kirk Alyn, credited (as with the previous serial) only by his character name, Superman.[1]

When Lex Luthor blackmails the city of Metropolis by threatening to destroy the entire community, Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet assigns Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent to cover the story.[2] The first chapter was released in July 1950.[3]

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Lex Luthor, the Atom Man, invents a number of deadly devices to plague the city, including a disintegrating machine which can reduce people to their basic atoms and reassemble them in another place. Superman manages to thwart each scheme. Since Kryptonite can rob Superman of his powers, Luthor decides to create a synthetic Kryptonite and putters about obtaining the necessary ingredients: plutonium, radium and the undefined 'etc.' Luthor places the Kryptonite at the launching of a ship, with Superman in attendance. He is exposed to the Kryptonite and passes out. Superman is taken off in an ambulance driven by Luthor's henchmen, and he is now under the control of Luthor. Superman is placed in a device, a lever is pulled, and the Man of Steel vanishes into "The Empty Doom".


Noel Neill would return to the role of Lois Lane in 1953, replacing Phyllis Coates in the second through final (sixth) seasons of The Adventures of Superman, and would be the model for Metropolis, Illinois' 2010 Lois Lane statue.[4]


Kirk Alyn as Superman

Lyle Talbot, who had previously starred as Commissioner Jim Gordon in the 1949 Columbia Serial Batman and Robin, here portrays Lex Luthor (and also Luthor's alter-ego "Atom Man"). In his "Atom Man" disguise, Talbot as Luthor, utilizes a vaguely German accent and wears an ominous mask fashioned from a "Metallogen Man" robot costume left over from 1945's The Monster and the Ape. Despite their onscreen personas, Talbot (Lex Luthor), who wore a rubber scalp to create the impression of baldness,[5] and Alyn (Superman) spent much of their time, when not shooting, exchanging recipes, both actors shared an interest in cookery.[5]

Special effects

The final set piece shows Metropolis under attack by "poorly animated" flying saucers and a torpedo.[5]

The flying effects were somewhat improved in this film than in the original, by the simple expedient of turning the camera on its side. Kirk Alyn stood with arms raised in front of a cyclorama, while a wind machine and smoke pot were placed above him (out of frame). This gave an inexpensive illusion of flight. Longer shots continued to use cartoon animation of the Man of Steel.

Critical appraisal

In their book The Great Movie Serials, Jim Harman and Donald F. Glut describe the serial as "far more gimmicky and gadget prone" than the first Superman serial. In addition to this, they also found it to be flawed with its cheapness characteristic in Katzman productions.[5]

Home media

In 2006, the Atom Man vs. Superman serial was still available for purchase on VHS videotape, where it was first released back in 1989 as a double tape box set. The serial was also offered available in two separate VHS tapes as Volume 1 (Chapters 1 - 7) and Volume 2 (Chapters 8 - 15). It was officially released on DVD by Warner Home Video, along with its predecessor, 1948's Superman, on November 28, 2006 as Superman - The Theatrical Serials Collection.

With the previous 2006 DVD release out of print for a few years, on October 9, 2018 the serials were re-released as manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD from Warner Archive Collection.[6]

Chapter titles

  1. Superman Flies Again
  2. Atom Man Appears
  3. Ablaze In The Sky
  4. Superman Meets Atom Man
  5. Atom Man Tricks Superman
  6. Atom Man's Challenge
  7. At The Mercy Of Atom Man
  8. Into The Empty Doom
  9. Superman Crashes Through
  10. Atom Man's Heat Ray
  11. Luthor's Strategy
  12. Atom Man Strikes
  13. Atom Man's Flying Saucers
  14. Rocket Of Vengeance
  15. Superman Saves The Universe

See also


  1. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  2. ^ "Marc Lawrence to Play Heavy". The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder. Vol. 40, no. 4083. New South Wales, Australia. 6 November 1951. p. 5. Retrieved 8 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ Schelly, William (2013). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950s. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 9781605490540.
  4. ^ "Metropolis unveils statue of Superman's Lois Lane" Archived December 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. WPVI-TV. June 16, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "9.". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 215–217. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  6. ^ "Superman Serials: The Complete 1948 & 1950 Collection".

External links

Preceded by Columbia Serial
Atom Man vs. Superman (1950)
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 22 February 2024, at 09:33
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