The extended version of director Richard Donner's 1978 superhero classic Superman: The Movie is finally making its debut on Blu-ray. Starring the late Christopher Reeve as the adult version of the titular character, Superman ushered in a new era for The Man of Steel, becoming the first live-action version of the character since George Reeves portrayed him in the 1950s TV series (save a one-off portrayal by Bud Collyer, who played the character on an episode of Sesame Street in 1969).
Basking in the film's success, Superman: The Movie spawned three sequels, and eventually all four films appeared in various video formats over the years, and in the case of the original film, in an extended TV version. Back in the days before the emergence and popularity of VHS, Betamax, LaserDiscs and eventually DVDs, broadcast networks (a la ABC, CBS and NBC at the time), would either cut out material from original theatrical releases over restricted content or length, or for Superman, add footage back in that didn't make it in Donner's original cut.
Now, nearly 40 years after Superman: The Movie's original theatrical release, fans of the heralded film are going to get not one, but two extended versions of the film on Blu-ray. According to We Got This Covered, Warner Archives is releasing both the extended TV version of the film, as well as the Special Edition Director's Cut from 2000, in a two-disc package.
The TV version, which was originally presented as a two-night event, runs 188 minutes, while the Director's Cut runs 151 minutes.
For most fans, the extended TV version (unless you're old enough to have seen and remembered it from when it first aired), will no doubt be an entirely new experience. Even if fans' memories are vivid enough to remember details of the film, the Blu-ray version is will no doubt look dramatically different.
Not surprisingly, the Director's Cut will have special features, including commentary by Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz; three documentaries including Taking Flight: The Development of Superman, Making Superman: Filming the Legend, and The Magic Behind the Cape.
The Director's Cut will also include screen tests; restored scenes, additional scenes, additional cues, and a music-only track. No specific release date has been specified for the two-disc pack.
While Superman fans no doubt know the original film from beginning to end, the extended TV version of the film is bound to change the way everybody looks at the film. It will be interesting to see how fans react to what effectively amounts to a "new" version of the film, since 188 minutes of Superman: The Movie is bound to change the context of the film from its original 143-minute version. No matter the case, expect the new version to only build on the Superman legacy, and continue to influence many more superhero movies in the years to come.
Source: We Got This Covered