Episode 77 — Superman III Commentary

Episode 77Yes, the 12th most spectacular movie event of 1983 is here. Listen as I watch Richard Pryor stick to the script, Superman fight Clark at a wrecking yard, and the most epic shirt rip ever.  Plus, a little bit of trivia at no additional cost!

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One thought on “Episode 77 — Superman III Commentary

  1. (as Peppermint Patty would say) Hi ya, Chuck! Hope all is well with you. Great episode as usual. It’s harder for me to follow along with your “movie” commentaries because I am usually at work and we aren’t allowed to watch videos. So I pretty much have to follow the movie in my head and it had been a long time since I’ve seen Superman III. I think I told you before that I had only seen Superman II in the theaters. The more I thought about it, I think I saw Superman III in theaters too. I am glad you mentioned how Superman III might have been (with Supergirl and Brainiac). It’s the same as with Superman II…what might have been? I think that would have been awesome to see. If I remember right, Richard Pryor lobbied to be in the film and he was a hot commodity around that time in movies and concerts.
    Before I sign off, I found some trivia for you. You probably know it all anyway, but I thought the listener might not. Take care!

    After Margot Kidder expressed her disgust about the firing of Richard Donner to the producers, her role was cut to 12 lines, and less than 5 minutes of screen time.

    The original title was “Superman vs. Superman”. The producers of Kramer vs. Kramer threatened a lawsuit, refusing to believe the Salkinds’ explanation that it was intended as a play on various “Superman vs…” comic stories. Eventually Pierre Spengler suggested that “Superman III” would be a more sensible title anyway, and the issue was dropped.

    According to the writers, the original choice to play Ross Webster was Alan Alda. They wanted an actor who could be ruthless without losing any charm. Executive producerIlya Salkind said in the DVD commentary that his choice was Frank Langella. Langella later starred as Perry White in Superman Returns.

    The little boy who appears waiting by the photo-booth while Clark Kent changes into Superman was actually the same little boy who played baby Kal-El (Superman) in Superman

    The scenes in which Superman straightens the leaning tower of Pisa and then leans it back in the end were originally planned for Superman II.

    According to Ilya Salkind, an earlier version of the script included the comic book villains Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk teaming up, and Superman meeting his cousin, Supergirl, which would lead to the potential Supergirl spin-off.

    According to the producers’ commentary on the Superman III: Deluxe Edition DVD, this film was actually not a flop. While critics and fans generally expressed disappointment with the film, and its $60 million gross fell short of the previous two movies’ $100 million+ gross, Superman III still made an impressive profit, despite stiff competition from Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (which opened 3 weeks earlier) and Octopussy (which opened 10 days earlier).

    Jennifer Jason Leigh was originally set to star as Lana Lang, but turned down the role because she was too young.

    Frank Oz played a brain surgeon in a deleted scene from the montage of the supercomputer causing a nationwide power outage. It’s included in the extended TV version of the film. He also worked on puppet sequences, which were also deleted, and not included in any version. The film’s director of photography, Robert Paynter, previously shot An American Werewolf in London, in which Oz appeared, and would go on to shoot The Muppets Take Manhattan (Oz’s directorial debut) and Little Shop of Horrors.

    The musical tones from the video game Ross Webster is playing are from the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man.

    The film was released in 1983, the year of Superman’s 45th anniversary.
    Pisa Vendor was played by Pisa Vendor

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