Alexander Salkind and his son Illya were really on a roll. They had taken a well-known property that strangely was sitting gathering dust and turned it into a one-two punch of a successful film and its sequel. What had once seemed like a gamble, Superman: The Movie and its sequel were hits with audiences and critics.
A ‘Super Franchise’ was born.
The Salkinds took the initiative. They had replaced original director Richard Donner with Richard Lester to finish Superman II and now decided to keep him on to direct number three.
Meanwhile, plans were hatched to bring Superman’s cousin to the big-screen as well. When the Salkinds obtained the rights to the Man of Steel they also got ahold of Supergirl too! So, why not do something with her!
A worldwide search was on to find the perfect Supergirl. She eventually came in the person of the young Helen Slater. Making her film debut in a film with a huge budget, a cast of stars and a lot of expectations attached to it.
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc, Supergirl would not impress audiences. The film would be a critical and financial disappointment. Coming soon after the sub-par Superman III, Supergirl would wipe away the optimism the Salkinds ‘Super Franchise’ had promised.
I take a look at this 1984 sci-fi, superhero fantasy and see what went wrong – or did it? Maybe audiences and critics completely missed the boat with Supergirl. Perhaps it was a film way ahead of its time and now looking at it away from all the hype that surrounded it at the time one can make a fairer assessment of it. Hey, it’s been known to happen.
Starring Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole, Brenda Vaccaro, Hart Bochner, Peter Cook, Maureen Teefy, Mia Farrow and Simon Ward, I continue with the latest chapter in my Superhero Series – Supergirl.