Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Scene Friday! Superman: Turning Back Time

For our final Superman scene, I wanted to bring you something big from the original Richard Donner flick. And you can’t get much bigger than the ending.

File:Superman ver1.jpg

Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has launched two missiles as part of a scheme. Superman (Christopher Reeve) is able to stop one but the other hits its target, creating an earthquake. Supes is able to prevent a lot of death and destruction, but he's too late to save Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). There are quite a few scenes in Man of Steel of Superman screaming in anguish. And I can't help but think they were trying to recreate Christopher Reeve’s powerful howl of anger in this scene.

What comes next is the classic “Superman Turns Back Time” scene. A lot of people think this part is cheesy. Of course, if you reversed the Earth’s rotation you wouldn't travel back in time, you’d just fuck up the planet. But I don’t really see it as Superman reversing the Earth. I just look at it as him flying so fast that he personally ends up traveling back in time.

This is 1978 here so of course the special effects in the scene don't look as good today. But when you consider that the filmmakers were able to accomplish these effects with only the methods available 35 years ago,  it's pretty impressive. From IMDb:

"The development of the best method to show Superman flying was a long period of experimentation. The methods attempted included simply catapulting a dummy into the air, a remote control model airplane painted as the character and simply animating the flying sequences. The producers settled for a combination of forward projection and specially designed zoom lenses that could create the illusion of movement by zooming in on Christopher Reeve while making the forward projection appear to recede. For scenes where Superman has to interact with other people or objects while in flight, Reeve and fellow actors were put in a variety of rigging equipment with careful lighting and photography to hide the equipment."

I'm glad they didn't go with the dummy or the remote control airplane. Enjoy today's scene and have a great weekend!

P.S. Check out the rest of our favorite Superman scenes below.

Favorite Scene Friday! Superman Returns: The Safest Way to Travel

Favorite Scene Friday! Superman III: Clark Kent Vs. Superman - Special thanks to CT from Nerd Lunch!

Favorite Scene Friday! The Best of Lex Luthor - Special thanks to Pax from Cavalcade of Awesome!


  1. Okay, I need to watch some Superman movies. I've only seen maybe on hour of the first Christopher Reeve film (though I remember watching a cartoon when I was little?)

    1. Ruth - Hmm. May have been the cartoon from the 40s? I'm not familiar with it. The original Reeve film is definitely a classic. #2 is great too but 3 and 4, not so much. Have you seen Superman Returns? I'd check that out as well. Thanks for reading!