Saturday, September 16, 2006


I spent the last week in Connecticut on vacation. Figures the sun would come out today as I got ready to head back to the City.

So I'm back at Toobworld Central for this last night off, giving me the chance to re-adjust to life here before I head back to work Sunday overnight.

But on Friday night, my brother Bill and I crossed the state line to Millerton. There we saw "Hollywoodland", the new movie that delves into the mysterty surrounding the death of actor George Reeves, THE Superman for the main Toobworld dimension - was it suicide or murder?

Basically, this is two movies in one. In flashback, we see the life of Reeves, beginning with when he was struggling to re-start his career and when he became involved with Toni Mannix, the wife of a powerful MGM executive.

We see the steady progression of Reeves' life to its tragic end within the framework of the investigation by a down-and-out private eye into how the actor died. Adrien Brody plays the investigator, a fictional character named Louie Simo.

In several of the blogs which I haunt, I've seen my compadres divided as to which story is better. For some, it's the bio-flick for Reeves; for the others, it's the attempt at film noir and a 1950s version of "Chinatown".

As for me, I just didn't buy into Brody as even being in that time period, let alone that he was this private eye who was down on his luck. And I just couldn't care very much for the turmoils in his private life.

But I was fascinated by the story about Reeves, and obviously with regards to the behind-the-scenes look at his work in 'The Adventures Of Superman' and how it caused serious harm to his status as an actor.

As far as the Toobworld concept goes, I try not to deal with that aspect. I keep the life of the actor separate from that of the character. How the shows are made should have no impact on what transpires on the screen... and from there, on what transpires in the TV Universe.

'The Adventures Of Superman' was canceled two years before Reeves' death. But in the Toobworld mythos, Superman lived on Earth Prime-Time into the early 1960s, outliving the actor.

According to my theory, Superman saved two gangsters who drove into a Nevada A-bomb test site just as an explosion occurred. ['Crime Story'] However, the radiation drove Kryptonite particles deep into Superman's body and it eventually killed him. That's why he's no longer around in the main Toobworld to save the day for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

I always add TV series production to sausages and laws for those things that should never be seen being made. But even so, I found Reeves' story riveting in "Hollywoodland" and only wish it had been filled out to be the entire movie. Or at the very least, Brody's role should have been recast with a lesser-known actor who didn't need his part so beefed up. Had the role of Louie Simo only been used to launch the flashback into the life of Reeves and then perhaps showcase each of the theories, it would have worked. I didn't need to see his home life (or lack thereof), his tangles with the powerful studio system, and the other case he was working on - which he botched big time.

Still and all, for fans of the 1950s Hollywood system and especially those interested in a backstage look at 'The Adventures Of Superman', I recommend this movie. Ben Affleck was especially good in the role of George Reeves.

But if you want a good story that mixes a fictional private eye with famous Hollywood figures, I'd suggest reading Stuart Kaminsky's excellent series of novels about Toby Peters.



Reel Fanatic said...

Great review ... this one was definitely stronger in one half than in the other ... When Ben and Diane were on screen together, it just sailed along, and was very witty and entertaining ... When Adrien Brody got on the case, with those three possibilities about Reeves' deaths explored only on the most superficial level, it just flops hard

Toby said...

Flopped harder than when Reeves crashed to the ground during a take!

Thanks for checking in, Keith!