Sunday, September 10, 2006
E and I went to see Hollywoodland today; it's the story of the original Superman, George Reeves. Reeves' story is fascinating and tragic. He despised the Superman role, thinking it was beneath him and longing to be another Clark Gable. Despite winning performances by Adrian Brody as P.I. Simo hired to investigate Reeves' death, Ben Affleck as Reeves, and Diane Lane (love her!) as Toni Mannix, the film is really unstastisfying. The film presents three alternate theories for Reeves' untimely demise and suggests that Simo finally writes it off as a suicide -- but I realy think there should have been more of a commitment to a single theory. They also waste scads of time on Simo's home life. Who cares about Simo's home life? Not I. I would've preferred more time on Reeves' lover Leonore Lemmon's history (I kept suspecting that Lindsey Lohane is a reincarnation of her, and not just because of the initials) or on the intricacies of Reeves' affair with Mannix.
So much was left unresolved by the film that I actually read Hollywood Kryptonite (a copy of which E conveniently had lying around) when I got home. It's a quick read but really a fascinating tale. In fact, I highly recommend that you read the book first and then, if you really want to see it played out, go ahead and rent Hollywoodland when it comes out on DVD. I honestly have developed a whole new appreciation for Superman and the man who personified him. If only George could've taken to his role like Shatner took to Kirk. It's heartbreaking. If you like noir, you'll like this story. Check it out.