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Superman: The Movie 40th Anniversary

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December marks the 40th anniversary of this beloved movie. Here's a lovely promo reel celebrating the 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie, produced by Jim Bowers and Julian Adderley for CapedWonder.com

 

 

And here's a great little interview to Richard & Robert Greenberg of R/Greenberg Associates about the still spectacular title sequence:

http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/superman

 

Finally, here's some memories from Richard Donner:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/superman-inside-story-director-richard-879894

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I went to a screening of the 40th anniversary last week. The music indeed sounded terrific, but I couldn't tell how it compares to the blue box and it woud be suggestive to say it sounded better than the 2011 blu-ray box. I bought the new 4K blu-ray so I could compare, but it won't arrive anytime soon. The blue box used a transfer made by Warner in 2000 for the first DVD release of STM. For the 40th anniversary, either they unearthed superior elements or they retransfered the same elements and worked on them with better care. The latter is what happened to Jaws with superb results.

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Ah, Superman.  One of my very favorites from John.

The entire first act is masterful, excellent narrative film scoring.  Stunning orchestrations and harmonies.  

Perhaps things get a bit repetitive from then on to the end, but no one can doubt the staying power of the heroic material.

And I adore the Love Theme.

As for the film, it is great fun.  Donner's direction is engaging, and, of course Reeve is Superman.  Things get a bit too campy at times for my taste, and the conclusion could be stronger, but, hey, it is loads better than the mindless seriousness of today's superhero movies. 

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I discovered the Superman OST after listening to the Warner/Rhino expanded set... that I never really enjoyed...  Wow that 16 tracks OST is hard to beat!

 

Now I wait for a new expanded set to rediscover the score in all it’s glory!

 

 

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6 minutes ago, King Mark said:

what I'm saying is this video could be using material from an upcoming c.d. release

All I know is that it sounds awesome.  The bass notes, stellar and clear.  

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I'm bummed because no one announced a Live-to-Projection concert, today.  I'd go.  Screw the DCP 4K screening.

 

You would think that one concert production company would put this out by now. 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, SyncMan said:

I'm bummed because no one announced a Live-to-Projection concert, today.  I'd go.  Screw the DCP 4K screening.

 

You would think that one concert production company would put this out by now. 

I believe someone was teasing this quite recently. But I hope in this case they would restore some music.

 

Karol

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17 hours ago, Horner's Dynamic Range said:

No one is saying it sounds bad.

 

Sounds to me like you did.

 

19 hours ago, Horner's Dynamic Range said:

The FSM version sounds rather cold and metallic. It's cleaner, but it never comes alive like the OST and the 2CD version produced in the year 2000.

 

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It doesn't sound bad, but it is a bit metallic.   You can hear it in the first bars of the cell ostinato when compared with the Rhino version, which sounds more robust and powerful.  I'm hoping a re-release fixes this and brings out the vitality in the recording.

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Superman-Live-to-Projection concert Ideas:

I think the first thing that should be heard in the concert is the Superman fanfare, eventhough, it is not used in the final film version.  The orchestra can play it while the screen is still blank, then the film can begin where the curtains are drawn wide and we hear that soft solo trumpet of the Superman motif.  I feel that hearing the brass fanfare will get the audience started.  In those Star Wars L2P concerts in the USA, the orchestra playing the Fox fanfare got huge cheers from the audience.

What about the Warner-Bros logo clip and the Geoffrey Unsworth dedication clip that precedes the film?   

As you may recall, in the final-film’s end credits, portions of the ‘Love Theme from Superman’ cue were cut out. So, to restore the piece to its unedited form, the following can be featured at the end of the end-credits sequence

  • a new dedication clip can be made featuring all the names of the people involved in the production that we’ve lost since 1978.

  • The Warner Bros. studio logo clip

Considering that most of the audience will stay to the very end of the concert and that some printed-programs may ask them to remain seated “out of respect for the musicians and your fellow audience members”, having those said clips at the end of the program will get some use.   Besides, having the audience hear the end of the love theme piece—a soft flute statement of the love theme followed by a somber French horn--over this dedication clip may be moving for them.

I think Richard Donner may sign-off, easily, on having the dedication switched to the end of the movie if he understands that this alteration would only be for the L2P concert.  Convincing the studio to have their logo be seen at the end of the movie, may need work.

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On 12/15/2018 at 9:10 PM, Nick Parker said:

The film is one of my absolute favorites until Luthor contacts Superman through that high-pitched frequency, and the plot really kicks in. There I check out.

 

I'm really bummed that I can't find a 40th anniversary screening in my area!

Why. That is some great acting between the two. 

 

The Love Theme is for my money Williams greatest work. Its slow build is almost sexual. Like Princess Leia's Theme it is quiet loud and quiet. Both are beauty beyond compare.

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2 minutes ago, JoeinAR said:

Why. That is some great acting between the two

 

I like that scene, and there are great moments after ("OTISBURG!?"), but I just get bored with the actual missile part, and the movie gets...strange to me, I don't know. Maybe it's a tonal thing, I'm not sure.

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Its not a perfect film but for me its perfect entertainment. Its very illogical to launch two ARMED missiles on the other hand hacking into a missile system wasn't much of a consideration in the late 70's. But to an 18 year old weird geeky nerdy kid it was great. And the music during the whistle sequence is among the scores highlights

 

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Just read at The Digital Bits that Mike Matessino is taking part in a 40th anniversary event this weekend. I wonder if a new release will come up?

 

 

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On 12/18/2018 at 10:53 AM, Alan said:

Just read at The Digital Bits that Mike Matessino is taking part in a 40th anniversary event this weekend. I wonder if a new release will come up?

 

Absolutely, it's no secret. It was included in the London program too wasn't it?

 

Maybe they'd refrain from commenting if II-IV weren't already released in the last few months but it's been pretty obvious for a while that a revised Superman was intended for last month (if not earlier).

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1 hour ago, Richard said:

Apropos of not much in particular...how many JWfaners saw SUPERMAN, at the cinema, on its first release?

 

My first memory of music is of being in a theater next to a theater that was showing Superman. I would have been 6. During a quiet moment in the film - or perhaps just before it started, I could hear the Superman theme (opening or closing credits) through the wall. I recognized the music either from having seen it before or from TV ads. I remember wishing I was in that other theater so I could hear more of the music. I’m sure we saw that as a family at some point during its first run, but I don’t specifically remember. 

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2 hours ago, Richard said:

Apropos of not much in particular...how many JWfaners saw SUPERMAN, at the cinema, on its first release?

 

I'm one of them. JoeinAR, Alex Cremers and King Mark are the only other active members that saw it on the big screen when it was released, as far as I know. So that makes five of us ;)

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1 hour ago, Ricard said:

 

I'm one of them. JoeinAR, Alex Cremers and King Mark are the only other active members that saw it on the big screen when it was released, as far as I know. So that makes five of us ;)

Seven: you, me, Joe, Alex, KM, pete, and hornist, although hornist didn't like it...

 

1 hour ago, hornist said:

Not a big fan.

...so he/she doesn't count.

 

 

 

(edit) I'm glad you see the funny side. Of course you count, and you're right, the score is FUCKING BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Its top 3 for me along with E.T. and Jaws.

 

Thats why I wrote a retro review in the review section for its 40th anniversary. It was/is so special to me. If hornist saw it and didn't like it we can still average him in. I saw this at the theatre at least 18 times.

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On 12/14/2018 at 4:48 AM, King Mark said:

did they use newly re-mastered music? .Seems to sound better than the blue box

 

LLL confirmed it! 3 CD set coming in 2019!

 

 

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At the 44:01 mark of part 2 from TownerFan’s Legacy of John Williams podcast covering LLL’s Superman 3CD set, Mike M. said that a Live-to-Projection concert of Superman-The Movie is “under discussion” and “those talks are continuing.”

To give my speculation on this, my first thought would be that the concert production company FILM CONCERTS LIVE would handle it.  They, practically, have the ground floor on this. 

One of the producers of the company, Jaime Richardson, is with The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA), the management agency that represents John Williams. Richardson is one of the few trusted people that Mike M. has shared the news of the film’s first generation music score audio elements.

Mike M. said on Feb. 21, ‘19 on this page of from this FSM thread

Quote

….from the initial run made that first night I was able to make a quick and dirty mix and edit of the cue that we kept to ourselves. I played it for Jamie Richardson and the guys at La-La Land and then subsequently for Jim Bowers and Jay Towers in my car when they came in to town for a visit. Much later in the year I finalized the track (I played it for Tim Burden in London in October), but apart from the refs made for John Williams, which he listened to during his convalescence, it was kept to Neil and myself, and anyone who knew about kept quiet.

Meanwhile, the other co-producer of FILM CONCETS LIVE is Steve Linder of IMG Artists.  Before joining Jamie Richardson to form FCL, Linder, through IMG Artists, have created Live-to-Projection concerts of their own, some from Warner Bros’ properties such as Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

So, GSA has access to John Williams while IMG has access to Warner Bros.

At the time of the master tapes’ discovery almost a year ago, I am sure that Mike M. must have mentioned his intentions of doing a newly-remastered CD release of Superman from these elements to the FCL producers and to have it released on the film’s 40th anniversary.  The wheels in the concert producers’ heads must have been turning. All they needed is a license to do the concert from Warner Bros.

However, Warner Bros may not grant the license to any concert production company.  Instead, they could make a Live-to-Projection concert of Superman, themselves.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they did go that route, like what Disney is doing by creating a separate division for making concerts out of their own properties, like the Star Wars Concert series.  Warner Bros was probably kicking themselves for signing the Harry Potter concert rights to CineConcerts.  Every concert venue in the world has done or will do a Harry Potter Live-to-Projection concert.  Warner Bros joins Fox in the “Damn! Why did I sign over the rights to that” support group.

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Believe it or not, we’re less than 4-weeks short of being half-way through Superman-The Movie’s 40th anniversary and I am upset that there is no announcement of a Live-to-projection concert.  I can only hope that…

1)       the “talks...” involving this concert “… are continuing.”

2)       I’m making this rant too soon of the announcement.

 

With that being said, I would like to expand on this idea I’ve expressed, back in a December post, about restoring the Love Theme From Superman cue to its unaltered form so that it can be heard in the film’s end credits via the L2P concert.

 

I’m currently making a video on this idea which I’ll upload soon. 

 

First, let me set all this up for you.

 

As you may recall, the love theme cue, as heard during the theatrical cut’s end credits, was trimmed. In the director’s 2000 cut of the film, the end credits were extended by over 15 and 3/4 seconds.  The extra length came from the ‘Film Restoration’-credits clip that is joined after the end of the theatrical end credits.  However, the love theme cue heard in this version is the same edit from the theatrical cut, plus portions of the cue’s coda—a horn solo over harp and sustain bass strings—were duplicated to make the music fit the edit.  That’s because the music elements that were used at the time of the 2000 cut were the 6-track elements that were edited for the theatrical cut. Since no multi-channel music elements of that complete music cue were available, a loop in the cue’s coda had to be made in order to stretch-out the duration of the cue.  The multi-channel music elements of the complete score, as it was written and recorded, would not be discovered until after the 2000 cut was completed.

 

Meanwhile, in most of these live-to-projection concerts, the orchestra is performing the music of what is reflected from the final-edit’s music track.  That means some material of the original score is deleted while others are repeated.  It is unavoidable because the edits of the film have changed after the music recording was done.  However, such a piece that has been written to be listened away from the film’s narrative should not have to be trimmed, if something can be done to a sequence in the film, like the end credits. 

 

Some of the film titles for these concerts have made some alterations in the end credits.  The two that I’ve seen, Jurassic Park and Star Wars: The Force Awakens--both John Williams scores, had the end credits sped-up because Williams replaced each of the film-edit’s music cues with shorter versions. My idea would be that in order to have the Love Theme from Superman cue be played, live, in its entirety, the film’s end credits can be extended, even further, by inserting a dedication clip at the film’s end. This clip would be a roll-up displaying the names of the cast and crew members that have passed away after the completion of the production.

 

PS: I figure that this project is the best time for me to show you why I’ve chosen the username, SyncMan.

 

 

 

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On 12/20/2018 at 12:55 PM, Richard said:

Apropos of not much in particular...how many JWfaners saw SUPERMAN, at the cinema, on its first release?

 

Me! 

 

 

 I also went to the theatre to see II, III and IV. 

 

hero-r.jpg

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the 2nd movie I ever saw in a theater was Superman III. I was very young (I think 5? Maybe 6) and I remember being profoundly disturbed by three things:

1) Clark Kent strangling Drunk Superman to death, so hard he actually disincorporated

2) Robot Lady 

3) Straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa (seriously, I very distinctly remember being bothered by that) 

 

But the first movie I have ANY conscious memory of watching was Superman, as seen on ABC during its television premiere. 
 



You better believe I was front and center in my underoos all of 2 ft away from the 19" tv for both nights, when I wasn't running around the living room singing the theme at the top of my lungs and bouncing off the furniture with a towel around my neck. 

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On 12/20/2018 at 3:55 PM, Ricard said:

 

I'm one of them. JoeinAR, Alex Cremers and King Mark are the only other active members that saw it on the big screen when it was released, as far as I know. So that makes five of us ;)

 

You can add me to the list too! I distinctly remember the audience members whistling and cheering raucously each time Supes took off or did something heroic much to the chagrin of my mother (I was six at the time) as much of the dialogue was inaudible as a result. We then went to see it at the drive-in to overcome that issue :)

 

The old WB double LP was my first JW OST (my first JW anything was the Gerhardt SW/CE3K re-recording).

 

I also saw SII and SIII at the cinema, but SIV went straight to the drive-in for obvious reasons ;)

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Here is that video of the new end-credits roll featuring the Superman march and the complete Love Theme cue with the “dedication” clip spliced-in after the credits.  Oh, brace yourself: I decided to use the RSNO recording over the video.  If this concert does come up, you might as well get use to the idea that any orchestra that will play this score at a concert will not have that LSO sound.  The sooner you accept that, the better. 

 

 

I left a 23-second space between the march and the love theme cues so that the audience can give a cathartic applause, for which I’ve added the sound of that to realize the imagination.   After the orchestra plays the march at the concert, I figured that the house lights would go up for the applause as the conductor takes his bow. Then, the house lights would go off to signal the conductor in leading the orchestra to play the love theme cue.  In alerting the audience that the love theme piece will follow after the march, the conductor, at the start of Act Two, can simply tell the audience that they’ll be an encore piece as the credits continue. 

 

For the dedication clip, I’ve copied the names from the Michael Coaste’s History, Legacy & Showmanship column, Verisimilitude: Remembering “Superman: The Movie” On Its 40th Anniversary   and I’ve added some other names to the list (see if you can spot the one’s I’ve added).  This article was posted last December and you would be shocked at the names that Coaste overlooked.

Spoiler

Arthur Morton, orchestrator

(1908-2000)

Herbert W. Spencer, orchestrator

(1905-1992)

Angela Morley, orchestrator

(1924-2009)

Maurice Murphy, principal trumpet, LSO

(1932-2010)

Eric Tomlinson, music scoring engineer and mixer

(1931-2015)

Peter Lloyd, Principal Flute, LSO

(1931-2018)

 

If you want to see, right away, how the dedication clip plays-out, go to the 8:07 mark.

I am open to any changes on this.  I realize that the dedication wording is hokey, so, any better wording is welcomed.  Also, if you, guys, know of anyone that worked on the film-—gaffer, assistant sound/music engineer, the guy that claps the slate for every shot of the movie, whoever, that pasted away in the 40+ years since the film wrapped, let me know and I’ll add it.

Thanks.

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