Superman and the Mole Men
Superman and the Mole Men.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLee Sholem
Written byRichard Fielding
Based on
Produced byBarney A. Sarecky
StarringGeorge Reeves
Phyllis Coates
Jeff Corey
J. Farrell MacDonald
Stanley Andrews
CinematographyClark Ramsey
Edited byAlbrecht Joseph
Music byDarrell Calker
Walter Greene
Production
company
Lippert Pictures
Distributed byLippert Pictures
Release date
  • November 23, 1951 (1951-11-23)
Running time
58 minutes
LanguageEnglish

Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 American independent black-and-white superhero film released by Lippert Pictures. Produced by Barney A. Sarecky and directed by Lee Sholem, it stars George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. It is the first feature film based on any DC Comics character.[1]

The film's storyline covers reporters Clark Kent (George Reeves) and Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates) arriving in the small town of Silsby to witness the drilling of the world's deepest oil well. The drill, however, has penetrated the underground home of a race of small, bald humanoids who, out of curiosity, climb to the surface at night. They glow in the dark, which scares the local townfolk, who form a mob intent on killing the strange visitors. Only Superman can intervene to prevent a tragedy.

Plot

Clark Kent and Lois Lane arrive in the small town of Silsby to report on the world's deepest oil well. That night two small, furry, bald-headed dwarf humanoids come up through the shaft and scare the elderly night watchman to death. Lois and Clark arrive at the oil well and find the dead watchman. Clark and the foreman explore the surrounding area for signs of foul play when Lois glimpses one of the creatures and screams. No one believes her when she tells them what she saw.

The medical examiner is summoned, and he later leaves with Lois. Clark stays behind to confront the foreman, who confesses that the well was closed for fear that they had struck radium and not oil. The foreman proceeds to show Clark ore samples that were collected during different stages of drilling; all of them glow brightly.

Meanwhile the two Mole Men innocently explore the town. The residents become terrified because of their peculiar appearance and that everything they touch glows in the dark (due to simple phosphorescence). Soon an angry mob forms, led by the violent Luke Benson (Jeff Corey), in order to kill the "monsters". Superman (George Reeves) stops Benson and the mob and saves one of the creatures in mid-air after it has been shot. He takes it to the hospital. The second creature returns to the well head and disappears down its shaft.

A doctor announces that the injured creature will die unless he has surgery to remove the bullet. When a nurse refuses to do so out of fear, Clark volunteers to assist. Benson's mob arrives at the hospital demanding that the creature be turned over to them. Superman stands guard outside the hospital. Lois stands at his side, but a shot is fired from the mob, narrowly missing her. Superman sends her inside and single handedly relieves the mob of their rifles and pistols.

Three more Mole Men emerge from the drill shaft, this time bearing a strange weapon. They make their way to the hospital. Benson and his mob see the creatures, and Benson goes after them alone. The creatures fire their laser-like weapon at him. Superman jumps in front of the pulsating ray, saving Benson's life, which Superman says "is more than you deserve!". Superman fetches the wounded creature from the hospital and carries him as his companions return to the well head. Soon after, from deep underground, the Mole Men destroy the drill shaft, making certain that no one can come up or go down it ever again. Lois observes, "It's almost as if they were saying, 'You live your lives ... and we'll live ours'".

Cast

Themes

The sympathetic treatment of the strangers in the film, and the unreasoning fear on the part of the townspeople, has been compared by author Gary Grossman to the panicked public reaction to the peaceful alien Klaatu in the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was released the same year. Both have been considered retrospectively as the product of (and a reaction to) the "Red Scare" of post-World War II era. Grossman also cites the later film The Mole People (1956).

Release

Home media

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Superman and the Mole Men was first released on VHS and LaserDisc by Warner Home Video on July 22, 1988, coinciding with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Superman character that year. Both the two-part TV episode and the full feature are on the 2005 first season DVD release for Adventures of Superman. During 2006, the film was released as a bonus feature on the DVD 4-Disc Special Edition of Superman: The Movie. Superman and the Mole Men received a Blu-ray box set release in 2011. In 2017 Cheezy Movies released it on DVD.

References

  1. ^ Schelly, William (2013). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950s. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 51–52. ISBN 9781605490540.

Sources