SAMSON AND SUPERMAN — JUST A COUPLE-A HUNKS

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Samson and Delilah | Paramount | Cecile B. DeMille | 1949

Cecil B. DeMille, running out of gas. The glories of Technicolor: pallid Anglo-Saxon flesh coated in cinnamon, trudging across garlic powder sand. Somehow the Bible isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Victor Mature, hunk with an ugly mug, goes Incredible Hulk on the Philistines, led by a cunning but sadly somnambulant George Sanders.  Where’s Chuck Laughton’s maniacal Epicureanism when you need it? Only in the nighttime scenes does the décor flash with color — blues and reds and molten orange. Hedy Lamarr’s close-ups rescue the picture almost single-handedly. That and a lotta jawbone clobberin’!

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Superman: The Movie | Warner Brothers | Richard Donner | 1978

The fine art of fanservice begins here! It’s got all the beats, the in-jokes, the elevated camp that Hollywood is currently force-feeding to audiences the world over. Not even Superman could perform a Heimlich maneuver effective enough to expel all this Marvelverse garbage, and not even Marlon Brando at peak obesity would have tolerated it! As for this ’78 first-course? Meh. There’s some wide-screen facility, some cool production design…but it doesn’t quite thread together. And God Almighty I hate that spin-the-globe ending. Glenn Ford what has become of ye? Good thing the Lester sequels are up next!

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