The mighty Richard Donner’s Superman broke new cinematic ground when it was released in 1978. Visually it’s stunning, and that’s before you take into the account the special effects – most of which still hold up today (impressive when you consider that they were making them up as they went along). However, the film’s cinematic palette was spot on, with Geoffrey Unsworth’s cinematography adding a rich texture to Donner’s multi-layered narrative. The crystal gloss of Krypton, the rich, vibrant colours of Smallville and the steeliness of Metropolis give the film visual structure that few films (never mind comic book films) can lay claim to.
Much has been made of Marlon Brando’s record-breaking $3.7 million salary, but he also delivers a performance that is filled with gravitas. Brando brings a Shakespearean eminence to Jor-El.
Budgeted at $55 million, Superman grossed $134 million at the US box office and more than $300 million globally when it was released in 1978.
This image shows Richard Donner on Superman’s Krypton set with a bemused looking Brando, lighting-up producer Pierre Spengler’s cigarette.