Alan Smithee Podcast 74: Supergirl (1984, Jeannot Szwarc) audio commentary track

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In the late 1940s, a strapping lass with the power to fly around in above-the-knee skirts helped usher an entire generation of boys into puberty before Batgirl ever slipped on her tights. Then in November 1984, the silver screen finally welcomed her – Supergirl! The maiden of might, cousin to Kal-El, a heroine to fight for truth, justice and the American way.

Less than one year later, DC Comics killed off Supergirl in the October issue of a 12-part miniseries created to kill off unpopular characters organize continuity of the DC superhero universes into one single timeline. A mere coincidence? You will believe a girl can fly, and her movie can stink.

Like any other superhero, Supergirl has been resurrected and had her origin story re-invented on a nearly bi-weekly basis as grist for the publishing mill. No matter how silly the character may be in the future, it’s doubtful she’ll ever be handled as daftly as in Muppet Show scribe and screenwriter David O’Dell’s treatment. Titular gal Helen Slater isn’t really to blame – she looks and acts the part as least as well as any comic book convention cosplayer. The fatal flaw is the sheer weightlessness of his sci-fi/fantasy oriented story, combined with massive chunks of missing exposition trimmed by the producers and a host of bland or over-the-top supporting characters (especially Faye Dunaway, channeling Joan Crawford again as the villain) make Supergirl such a chore that it’s safe to say no reappraising cult will ever coalesce around this forgotten entry in the dregs of post-Superman, pre-Batman superhero flicks.

Enjoy this Alan Smithee Podcast commentary track in which we grab onto the red cape of courage and cling for dear life, bitching all the while.

NEXT EPISODE: CARRIE SPECIAL! CARRIE (1976, BRIAN DE PALMA) & THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 (1999, KATT SHEA)

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2 thoughts on “Alan Smithee Podcast 74: Supergirl (1984, Jeannot Szwarc) audio commentary track

  1. Wow, thanks for inspiring me to re-watch this piece of crap!
    I remember clearly Supergirl being promoted on Saturday morning kids’ shows when this came out, they’d always show the clip of the possessed bulldozer. In later years I developed a mild obsession with Peter Cook, so I was vaguely aware that he was in this. I guess this was one of his last attempts at the kind of Hollywood success his old comedy partner Dudley Moore achieved. Cook’s performance in this is one of his weakest, but there was always something weird about his performances whenever he was asked to act outside of a comedy sketch, as if he was just reading the lines and wishing he was somewhere else. And yes, his teeth are pretty horrific in Supergirl. I recommend the original version of “Bedazzled”, it runs out of steam towards the end but it’s definitely Cook’s best non-TV work.
    Great episode btw.

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