BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY Superman★★★★★ 5.30-8.05pm C5
It took five years for Richard Donner’s extravagant production to reach the screen but it was worth the wait. It’s a highly enjoyable mixture of elaborate special effects, action and wit, with director and cast (headed by the excellent Christopher Reeve as Superman) taking the story, but not themselves, seriously. We follow our hero from his escape as Superbaby from Krypton just before the planet explodes, to his adoption on Earth, his relationship with fellow journalist Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and through to the plot, which involves wicked Lex Luther (Gene Hackman) planning, for reasons which need not detain us, to destroy California. The action begins early with Kidder dangling from a crashed helicopter and Air Force One struck by lightning — Superman to the rescue both times, of course — before reaching the big showdown. An impressive cast includes brief appearances by Glenn Ford and Trevor Howard, while Marlon Brando was reputedly paid $3 million for a cough and a spit as Superman’s real dad.