Add a Review

  • In anticipation of the television series, 'The Adventures of Superman', this third 'live-action' Superman was the first 'feature' film (the previous entries had been serials). Replacing serial 'King' Kirk Alyn as the 'Man of Steel' was George Reeves, a gifted 37-year old actor who had been impressive in such 'A'-list productions as 'Gone With the Wind', 'The Strawberry Blonde', 'Lydia', and 'So Proudly We Hail!' Returning from the war, however, his career, as was the case with so many other young actors, had stalled. Reduced to supporting roles, or leads in 'B' films and serials, 'Superman and the Mole Men' represented yet another minor film, but Reeves hoped the exposure from both film and television might jump-start his flagging career...

    He little anticipated what impact Superman was about to have on his life!

    A cautionary tale, with elements 'lifted' from 'Frankenstein' and 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', begins as miners drill the world's deepest shaft, and break through to an underground world. Two of it's inhabitants, bald, radioactive midgets, decide to secretly investigate our world. Doing a feature story on the well for the 'Daily Planet', reporters Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates, inheriting the role from the serials' Noel Neill), and Clark Kent (Reeves), finds a town gripped with fear and prejudice, as an old man had suffered a heart attack after seeing the 'visitors'. Despite pleas for tolerance, the residents arm themselves, and plan to 'shoot first and ask questions later', particularly after the ball of a little girl who sees them (and has an innocent encounter), has enough residual radioactivity to glow in the dark. Shots are fired, the aliens bring up their own weapons, and it's up to Superman to 'save the day'!

    Reeves' interpretation of 'Clark Kent/Superman' was far less jovial and buoyant than Alyn's; decisive, serious, and nearly combative, this was a 'Superman' you didn't mess with (the characterization would be toned down, for television). Square-jawed and more muscular (aided by a tee shirt with sewn-in shoulder pads, beneath the costume, to make him even more formidable-looking), the greatest variance between his interpretation and the comic books' was in his 'take' on Clark Kent. Reeves gave the reporter courage and integrity, as opposed to the 'meek, mild-mannered' geek that readers were familiar with (and who would be revived by Christopher Reeve, 26 years later). While some critics complained that he made Kent and Superman's personalities too similar, Reeves and the producers wisely realized that as budgetary restraints kept Superman's presence in the movie (with the FX required to show his 'super powers') to a minimum (there aren't ANY flying sequences in 'Superman and the Mole Men, only cast comments..."Look, up in the sky"... and a close-up of his 'catching' a falling alien), Clark Kent would be on-screen more, 'standing in' for the Man of Steel. Kent 'had' to be stronger, to fill the void.

    Phyllis Coates was fabulous, as Lois Lane. No longer the serials' air-headed girl reporter who kept getting into trouble, Coates' Lois was strong, smart, and every bit Clark Kent's equal. She redefined the role, and when Noel Neill returned to the part, on TV several years later, she had big shoes to fill!

    Aided by an excellent supporting cast (including screen veterans Jeff Corey, Walter Reed, and J. Farrell MacDonald), 'Superman and the Mole Men', despite its small budget, offered excellent performances, and a theme of tolerance that still rings true, today.

    With the success of the film, 'Superman' moved on to television...and history was about to be made!
  • It must have been several years after it was released, so don't know why it was at the movies. But as a kid I enjoyed it. I just found a VHS tape of Superman and the Mole Men at the flea market and decided to watch it again (it's been a lot of years). I wasn't expecting much, now knowing how the B movies were made at that time. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie very watchable and the acting by all outstanding. Usual acting in these type movies leaves a lot to be desired. Surprisingly, the writing wasn't bad either. Forget the fact that Superman went from sequence to sequence and could have kicked all their butts in the beginning, because then the story would have ended, right?! OK, the mole men costumes were hokey and not very scary (they didn't even scare me as a kid). However, making allowances for the probable low budget for background and costumes, it was a job well done by all. I recognized the sheriff right away as The Old Ranger from Death Valley Days and plenty of supporting roles in TV westerns. J. Farrell MacDonald played old Pop and was always a great supporting actor in more movies than I can count. Walter Reed and Jeff Corey were familiar faces as well from other movies. Did you recognize the old doctor as the captain of the ship that went to get King Kong? Did you recognize the little girl rolling the ball to the mole men as Lisbeth Searcy in Old Yeller? Some of the mole men were famous too. Jerry Maren has played Mayor McCheese for McDonalds, Little Oscar Mayer, was the Munchkin that handed Dorothy the lollipop, was on a Seifeld episode and a wealth of other work. Billy Curtis played an unforgettable part with Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, was one of the friends met by the star in Incredible Shrinking Man, he had a part in a movie I just luckily grabbed at a flea market titled My Gal Sal with Rita Hayworth, Wizard of Oz and plenty of other parts - great actor. John Brambury was also a Munchkin. Phillis Coates, who played Lois Lane in this movie, was without question wonderful in the part and George Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent WAS Superman. He did a great job of playing the strong man. Bottom line to all I've said is that this movie is worth watching because of the cast and writing in dealing with a pretty flimsy idea for a movie. But it was the 50's and anything was possible from intruders from outer space to mole men from inner space. It is definitely worth seeing, there isn't a bad actor in the group. Whomever put the cast together was very, very fortunate to get so many gifted actors into a B type film. Some already had a wealth of experience and some were about to obtain a wealth of experience - but all were gifted. So if you get a chance to see the film, forget the dopey costumes and just enjoy the excitement and acting. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, just a good, old fashioned movie to enjoy!
  • "Superman & The Mole Men" tells a story that's way ahead of it's time for 1951. Clark Kent & Lois Lane go to the small town Silsby to do a story on "The World's Largest Oil Well". When they arrive they find out the well is being shut down due to complications that have come about. They had drilled 6 miles down, & realized the earth's center is hollow, & there may be life down there. Their suspicions are correct when small (possibly radioactive) "mole men" start coming up & roaming around the town. (They aren't very frightening, but may have been by 1951 standards). One old man, at the well, sees them & has a heart attack & dies. Lois sees them too & describes them as having, "the bodies of moles with big human heads". A child encounters them in her bedroom & plays ball with them. She demonstrates the innocence of unjaded youth who sees someone without prejudice. The majority of the small town goes ballistic & wants to destroy the unknown "visitors". This is an excellent portrayal of small town ignorance ready to snuff out something that they don't understand, is different, out of the ordinary, or "strange" in their opinion(s). These "mole men" not only signify 'out of this world' beings, but people in one's own society as well (ridiculed for one's race, sexuality, etc.) The movie "Powder" represented the same premise in 1995! I can't write this review without mentioning that Phyllis Coates was the BEST actress to play Lois Lane! She portrayed her as feisty, sassy, independent, & resilient.
  • Considering it was shot in 11 days; considering its "special effects" are something less than primitive, George Reeves and this film still pack a Kryptonite-sized wallop.

    Mysterious Mole-Men emerge from "the world's deepest oil well," and scare the inhabitants of the nearby town of Silsby. Despite pleas for tolerance and patience, Superman must disarm the town and protect the aliens while hard-headed Luke Benson repeatedly tries to kill them.

    FACTOID #1: Despite other accounts, this film was NOT a "pilot" for the eventual series. In fact, there WAS no pilot. The day after shooting wrapped, the company spent another 12 weeks shooting 24 half-hour episodes. The comic book company decided to include a feature film as part of the schedule, so they'd be sure to recoup their investment at the box office in case no one bought the series. Lucky for us, that didn't come to pass.

    FACTOID #2: Although the two-part TV version, "Unknown People," had been edited and packaged with the other 24 half-hours, it had to be withheld during the series' original run. It had been produced in 1951, and SAG rules forbade films copyrighted after 9/48 to air on TV without residuals. Not until 1960, when the rules were revised, did "Unknown People" appear.
  • Superman and his supporting cast of characters have been portrayed on the silver screen, the small screen and the stage by a number of actors and actresses. However somehow no one can play the man of steel and the Daily Planets star female reporter Lois Lane quite like George Reeves and Phyllis Coates. Certainly no one can portray Superman's alter ego Clark Kent like Reeves did. This film has probably been seen by many as the two part "Unknown People" episode on the classic TV series but if you haven't seen the feature film of this story do so. Coates gives a great performance as Lois Lane and seems to come the closest of any actress who has portrayed this character to being the Lois that was depicted in the comics. (When she called Clark Kent a Pantywaist she meant it!) During one scene Clark almost gives away his true identity when he advises terrified townsfolk about the subterranean visitors "Go to your homes lock your doors and windows let me handle this". He then bolts away and Lois turns to the Oil well boss and exclaims "He always does that, gets himself into a jam and then runs away" Classic Lois Lane! While the effects by today's standards seem antiquated and the Mole Men/Unknown People aren't as scary as alien characters that frequent TV shows today they aren't to be missed.
  • I rented this film from Netflix for two reasons - I was in the mood for what I thought would be a silly '50s sci-fi-asco and because it is the first feature-length Superman film. Needless to say, after about 15 minutes I found myself thoroughly engaged and very pleasantly surprised.

    An experimental oil well has penetrated about six miles into the earth and is being shut down by the sponsor. Lois and Clark show up to get the scoop but are disappointed that the deepest well ever drilled will no longer be in operation. A day later, strange events at the well make for a story more appropriate for Superman than Clark Kent. It seems that the radioactive Mole Men have invaded from their six-mile deep home near the earth's core.

    Supermen and the Mole Men is a simplistic but well-made piece of social realism. Released in 1951, starring a lead actor who served in World War II, the moral of the story seems to be that Americans are just as capable of becoming fascists as anybody else. To drive this point home in a typically straightforward Superman manner, Reeves even accuses the lynch mob hunting the Mole Men of being 'Nazis' at one point.

    Even in the 1950s, the science underlying this film was nonexistent. Six miles of drilling through continental crust would not have even penetrated the upper mantle, let alone the "hollow center of the earth" - which, in any case does not exist. Forgivable - keep in mind that this film is based on a golden age comic book.

    The film is a little unevenly paced. Although the Molemen are interesting, a bit creepy, and nicely portrayed, there are several Corman-esquire scenes which spend too much time redundantly showing us their odd behavior. The script is intelligent and economical. By today's standards, the costuming is poor to fair, but for its time, this film's special effects and costuming were quite good. The cinematography is also generally very good, and the acting is much better than one might expect. I was particularly impressed with Reeves, Jeff Corey and Walter Reed.
  • Before Henry Cavill, before Brandon Routh, before Dean Cain, even before Christopher Reeve but after Kirk Alyn we had George Reeves as Superman. Make no mistake the man was iconic and many would argue the real Superman as he was in over 100 episodes of the original Superman television series.

    Here in his first and sadly due to his passing last big screen adventure Superman has to tackle mysterious creatures that have come up through a drilling site.

    This "Movie" is actually a two parter from the television series that they stuck together and released in cinemas. For that reason it's only an hour long but is just the right length for such a brief story.

    It's not action packed, the creatures aren't super villians and no super powers are really seen. This is a more subtle approach and see's the citizens as the antagonists as they rally together into a mob (As people probably would in such a situation)

    I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did but it's a nice short bit of take your brain out entertainment and considerably better than anything Cavill has done as the worlds most famous superhero.

    The Good:

    Simple story

    Well written

    A more realistic approach

    The Bad:

    The Mole People look ridiculous
  • This film is notable for three reasons.

    First, apparently capitalizing on the success of the two 'Superman' serials, this low budget feature was made and released to theaters, marking George Reeves' and Phyllis Coates' initial appearances as Clark Kent / Superman and Lois Lane. Part of the opening is re-used in the series. Outside the town of Silby, a six-mile deep oil well penetrates the 'hollow Earth' allowing the 'Mole-Men' to come to the surface. Forget about the other holes (those in the plot).

    Second, unlike most SF invasion films of the fifties, the hero plays a dominant (and controlling) force in preaching and enforcing tolerance and acceptance of difference against a raging mob of segregationist vigilantes. No 'mild mannered reporter' here! Clark Kent, knowledgeable and self-assertive, grabs control of the situation throughout ("I'll handle this!"), even assisting in a hospital gown in the removal of a bullet from a Mole-Man! As Superman, he is gentler than Clark towards the feisty Lois, but is also the voice of reason and tolerance as he rails against the vigilantes as "Nazi storm troopers."

    Third, you will notice that the transition from the Fleisher-like cartoon animated flying of Superman in the two serials to the 'live action' flying in the 'Adventures of Superman' had not yet been made.
  • My father grew grew up watching George Reeves as Superman and when I was a little kid he had episodes on VHS and let me view them including this movie (passing them down in the family if you will), and I loved it.

    Clark Kent and Lois Lane get sent to a small town with and oil mine and from the mine emerge mole men radioactive and targeted by the town assumed to be deadly and it's up to Superman to stop this mayhem.

    It's just so wonderful and fun to view. The old style special effects and sound - the crew pulled off such a beauty with such little technology. George Reeves was my hero when I was a little kid, and I'm 16 now, it just goes to show how timeless and classic these adventures are.
  • mst8624 May 2000
    Superman and the Mole Men is quite possibly Superman's toughest adventures ever.

    Lois Lane and Clark Kent are sent to Silsby, home of the world's deepest oil well. While there, some radioactive mole men come up through the oil well and explore the town. Jeff Corey and many other townspeople try to dispose of the invading mole men. Can Superman change the people's ways in time to save the mole men? Can Superman warn the people in time about the radioactive danger the mole men bring?

    In my opinion, Superman and the Mole Men is a very intelligent, well-written and well-acted movie. Even though we only get to see Superman fly once briefly, It still makes a great Superman adventure. A must see for anyone.

    10/10 Stars
  • In this precursor to the Superman series, Superman comes to the defense of subterranean creatures who are under attack from local townspeople. The script is good as is George Reeves' acting, but all others are one-dimensional. The creatures look like little people (either midgets or children) with skull caps on. There are no interesting visuals or props, except for a weapon that looks like a child's toy only larger and it is really too large for the creatures to handle. The high point in the movie is George Reeves' performance, both his acting and superhuman feats.
  • We got our first television in 1951, the year that this movie "Superman and the Mole Men" came out. I was 7 years old at the time and of course we were always glued to the kids programs especially all the cartoons etc on Saturday morning.

    One of my favorite programs that aired every Wednesday night at 7:00PM, sponsored by Kelloggs cereals, was Superman. We watched every episode religiously.

    At the end of each episode there were a few scenes from what was going to be shown the following week. A few times they had some scenes from this movie, "Superman and the Mole Men" but for some reason it was never shown. Reading some of the other people's comments about this movie explained to me what the reason was.

    However, the scenes that were shown really had me interested in seeing this movie. One of the scenes that was shown was the little girl in bed reading her book and then all of a sudden the two mole men peer in through the window and she eventually starts to play ball with them.

    Another scene was the two mole men on top of the dam and Luke Benson and his cohorts trying to shoot them.

    The third scene really scared me. It was when the mole men had that weapon (looks like a modified vacuum cleaner) and were firing it at Luke Benson.

    This movie reminds me quite a bit of when "War of the Worlds" was aired on radio in the 1930's. Everybody was scared out of their wits because they couldn't understand anything else except the human race. Well this movie basically reveals the same message. People are afraid of the unknown.

    I have always associated George Reeves with Superman. It bothered me when Christopher Reeve was give that honorary position in his full length features of Superman. I didn't even know, until 4 or 5 years ago that Kirk Alyn was really the very first Superman, even before George Reeves.

    As has been said, this movie is in its own way is a classic and will be forever etched in movie history as ONE G-R-E-A-T MOVIE!
  • Superman and the Mole Men (1951)

    *** (out of 4)

    Reporters Clark Kent (George Reeves) and Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates) are sent to Texas to do a story on an oil rig that has dug six feet into the ground but soon the big story becomes the mole men that have crawled out of the hole. I really wasn't expecting too much at of this film but it turned out to be pretty entertaining in the same form that a lot of science fiction "B" movies are from this period. The most shocking thing is how good the story is. Sure, it only runs 58-minutes but there's really no dry spells in the film, although I wish the mole men had more to do in the story besides be chased around. Superman also doesn't get too much screen time but when he's on he really shines especially one scene where he must disarm a group of men who want to kill the creature. Reeves is excellent in the roles of Kent and Superman and I loved his no nonsense way of handling everything. Coates was also very good in her role as is Jeff Corey as the nutty local who wants the creatures dead. He makes for a great villain and really delivers in each scene he's in. The special effects are quite campy but they just add to the entertainment value of the film.
  • Daily Planet reporters Clark Kent (George Reeves) and Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates) arrive in the small town of Silsby to do a story on the closing of the world's deepest oil well. Not long after, a group of small, glowing beings emerge from the well tunnel and strike fear in the hearts of the locals, who soon form a vigilante posse in order to kill the strange invaders. It's up to Kent, in his guise as Superman, to stop the mob violence before it's too late.

    This was an independently produced presentation piece intended to sell local stations on buying the Adventures of Superman TV series. Lippert thought it was good enough for a theatrical release. It was later aired as a two-part episode of the show. Despite being the first episode, the filmmakers forego a Superman origin story, and instead present this rather meager story. Superman in costume is actually present very little. Jeff Corey, as the detestable leader of the vigilante mob, seems to be on screen longer Reeves. This runs less than an hour.
  • Originally made as a film, and as touted, the first full length Superman movie, this was folded into the following series. Done seriously and well directed, Lois Lane and Clark Kent are sent to Oklahoma where strange occurrences are taking place at a new oil well. Turns out they've tapped into a civilization at the center of the earth. This is really classic Superman. He uses his powers wisely and protects humans and the little creatures. One of the best, if the show had remained this serious, I'd have liked it more.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    So I first watched this movie earlier this year and I have seen it a couple times. Considering I have grown up with more of the modern Superhero movies I was worried that this would be too dated.

    However,this movie is a fantastic movie. We got great acting from George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. They never came off as campy and that is what makes this movie work for me. The story maybe a little goofy to some (the mole men design doesn't help) but it does have a good message to it that I also like.

    For a B-movie from the 50's I do not think the effects are that bad. Nowadays people would probably dismiss it for weak effects or not enough Superman but I think overall it's a good movie and sadly one that has been unknown by most.

    The only big complaint I have with this movie is their is a chase scene that feels like it drags on far to long.

    Overall, I say if you are a huge Superman fan, fan of classic films or just want to see the more early superhero films than I say this is a must watch. It will not wow people now but if you were to give it a chance I think you will still like it.
  • DESIGNED AS SORT of a big screen kick-off for the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN TV Series, the MOLE MEN feature is somewhat mixed bag of a film. On the one hand , it has an obvious look of a frugal budget. As a feature accompanying the bottom line, the picture was released by Hollywood's "Poverty Row" member, Lippert Pictures, Inc.

    BEING THAT THIS is the first on screen teaming of George Reeves with Phyllis Coates as Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, it came across very well and convincingly. When the feature is viewed by a true aficionado of the TV Series, there is little evidence as to its being the initial paring; save for the intensity displayed by George. He obviously was still growing into the role and developing his own interpretation. (You know, "What's my motivation Lee?" to director Sholem.)

    THERE ARE NO scenes depicting the Man of Steel flying over us in the sky; which would become so popular and expected in the series. They did have him shown taking off sand landing and one shot depicts his point of view of the land below; an interesting and effective process that was never used again. Also, animation is used to portray Superman's rescue of a wounded Mole Man from a fall off of the dam. (This was similar to the cartoon flying effect used in the two Columbia serials, SUPERMAN (1948) and ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN (1950).

    THE TONE AND mood of the movie was the same as that which permeated the entire first season of television. Some thought them to be just a trifle too serious and violent for the small fry viewers, sort of Film Noir. This was changed in season number two. The shift in content's emotional tone was accomplished by replacing producer Robert Maxwell with DC Comics editor, Whitney Ellsworth.

    WITH THE RUNNING time of 58 minutes, it was the perfect length to cut into two episodes of the television series (the only two part story they had). The titles were "The Unknown People" parts one and two; which were wisely made into the last two episodes of season one. The regular characters of Jimmy Olsen and Perry White did not appear and weren't mentioned in the credits.

    ALTHOUGH THERE WERE certainly some short comings, the over all effect was a good one. Lois Lane, Clark Kent and Superman all hit the ground running and are still doing so on television outlets like METV and Heroes & Icons.
  • clh-14 June 2005
    I am of "the Christopher Reeve Generation" it is fair to say that he was the best actor to play Superman yet, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying other actors in the role, and George Reeves makes a pretty good bid to knock Chris off the top, though he just barely falls short. That doesn't stop me from enjoying this film, it has a lot going for it. It has all that a movie needs, a plot with beginning, middle, and end, plus all those parts are intelligently written. The film is edgy both in acting and storyline, something a film-noir but with tights. The story is both exciting and meaningful, this is a movie with a message that isn't too preachy. I am still amazed this was shot over 12 days, oh the glory days of Hollywood, when we didn't have to wait 5 years just to see if the movie would fall into development hell... The film is polished and expertly made, directed by Lee "Roll'em" Sholem, best known for directing with both speed and efficiency. It never lets the constraints of technology slow it down, in fact there is some creative things done to create the effect of flight, including putting a camera on a boom on a truck and shooting high and traveling fast to make it look like we are seeing it from Superman's point of view, also a few closeups of George in process work, and a long shot of an animated Superman.

    This is now available on DVD as an extra feature on the first season of the George Reeves Television series. A DVD worth owning in its own right, the inclusion of the film as its original whole, is icing on the cake.

    Give Blood Today God Bless!
  • 'Superman & the Mole Men,' was filmed immediately prior to 'The Adventures of Superman' TAS) weekly TV series. This film was then released into theaters so as to insure that the producers recouped at least some of their investment in the TV show: at the time season 1 was filmed, there wasn't a sponsor yet, and in fact it took 2 years before Kellogs Cereal Co. took on the role and the show was finally broadcast.

    'Mole Men' was filmed just 1 year after the movie serial 'Atom Man Vs. Superman,' but 'Atom Man' is so primitive by comparison that it could have been made 30 years prior.

    Besides being enjoyable as an atmospheric and suspenseful B/W cold war scifi/horror pic (a la the original 'The Thing'), this little film is interesting since it engages in a little social commentary. Almost without exception, TAS never touched any of the burning social issues (bigotry, war, pollution, etc.), but 'Superman & the Mole Men' is, very obviously an allegory about prejudice.

    This makes 'Mole Men' a kind of bridge between the Superman radio show, which, starting after WWII, did a long series of award-winning social message programs, directly addressing issues such as race prejudice, war-mongering, and social welfare, and TAS, which stayed completely clear of social relevancy.

    (The Superman radio show, which ended in 1950, was produced by Bob Maxwell, who also produced the 1st season of TAS. I've never read anything that explained why TAS dropped the social relevancy of the radio show, but one could speculate it had something to do with the impact of various 'witch hunts' on the political and media spheres...)

    'Superman & the Mole Men,' is the story of about some funny-looking little men who emerge into view after the world's deepest oil well is dug. The funny-looking men, who are not evil and whose world has been invaded by oil exploration, become victims of prejudice and eventually a mob forms with the intent of killing the funny-looking men. If you think about it, this might remind you of a contemporary real-life situation.
  • I have just watched Superman and the Mole Men recently for the first time and rather enjoyed it, despite reading bad reviews. This was also released as a two part programme in the TV series at the time.

    Clark Kent and Lois Lane arrive in Silsby to witness the drilling of the world's deepest oil well, but disturb an undiscovered race of strange furry creatures that live deep underground. These come to the surface at night to explore the area, but one of these gets shot and is taken to hospital by Superman to be treated. The other one continues exploring, but the local people lure him into a wooden shack and set it on fire to try to kill him. Luckily, he manages to escape alive and returns to his underground home and brings some more mole men with him armed with a ray gun. After shooting the man who shot the mole man, who is injured, Superman releases the injured mole man from hospital and all four return home to safety.

    Superman is played well by George Reeves, but we don't get to see him fly in this movie. Phyllis Coates plays Lois Lane.

    I found this movie rather enjoyable, despite the low budget.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I don't think that anyone who cares about such things would deny that George Reeves brought a certain dignity and gravitas to the "Superman" role, or that the series (or this movie) wouldn't have been nearly as good without him. So let's get that issue out of the way early - yes, I am a fan of Reeves. He provided the standard that all other wearers of the tights have to be measured against.

    I am also aware that the crews that put these things together back in the 50's had extremely limited budgets and shooting schedules. Given the expanded SFX capabilities, materials and budgets (and personal trainers) of the modern era, I am willing to bet that those directors and film crews could come up with products that compare favorably to any of the modern superhero movies that we laud.

    Originally I thought this movie was "Superman Versus The Mole Men", so I was kind of surprised ***spoiler warning***when the Mole Men turned out to be timid, harmless midgets who were the victims of a misunderstanding, so Superman spends most of the movie trying to save them, instead of fighting them.***spoiler ends*** But that's OK - the plot had a flavor of seriousness and sincerity that has aged well; there was a strong message of tolerance and understanding between different cultures, which was pretty good writing for the 50s. Any battle scenes they could afford to stage back then would have been pretty lame anyway.

    So actually, my main beef with "Superman and the Mole Men" is that it doesn't have enough of Superman in it. Whenever Reeves is on the screen, either in the tights or in his "Clark Kent" sack suit, the eight year old inside me is still tickled silly. But there are long, draggy stretches of the movie where the movie makers try to advance the plot, but actually just pad things out. ****mild spoiler**** Especially useless is a long, extended chase scene where the townspeople chase one of the Mole Men cross country with bloodhounds for at least 10 minutes, until they finally trap him in a small shack and set it on fire (the Mole Man escapes by going through the floorboards). I believe this extended scene was deleted in the two part "adaptation" of this movie to television, which shows that the editors basically agreed with me. ***end of spoiler***

    The other problem with the screenplay lies with the way some of the townspeople are depicted: an older guys, "Pops", dies of a heart attack at the sight of, well, munchkins. The oil well boss doesn't warn the crews of the danger they face drilling through radioactive rocks, he just hides the drills. The leader of the lynch mob is not only a xenophobe, and by implication a racist, he's an idiot. How else can you explain the way he takes a swing at the flying bulletproof man who can bend steel in his bare hands - and who knocks him out with one punch -...and then repeatedly tries to shoot the guy in later scenes?

    Also, no one ever seems to notice that for a "mild mannered reporter", Clark Kent is a very decisive, take-charge kind of guy. He is, in fact, larger than life even in his secret identity, and it defies belief that no one in this movie, or over the years of the series, ever gives "Clark Kent" credit for his deeds and pivotal roles as a reporter. They really did add up. The character of "Superman" requires a suspension of disbelief in the laws of biology and physics, but the character of "Clark Kent" requires a weird kind of suspension of disbelief in human character and motivation. Lois Lane (no matter who played her), for all her charms, must have actually been dumber than a bag of hammers.

    Anyway; Reeves is the only reason to watch the movie, and there isn't enough Reeves in it. That's why only six stars.
  • Back in the 1970s, WPIX ran "The Adventures of Superman" every weekday afternoon for quite a few years. Every once in a while, we'd get a treat when they would preempt neighboring shows to air "Superman and the Mole Men." I always looked forward to those days. Watching it recently, I was surprised at just how bad it really was.

    It wasn't bad because of the special effects, or lack thereof. True, George Reeves' Superman costume was pretty bad, the edges of the foam padding used to make him look more imposing being plainly visible. And true, the Mole Men's costumes were even worse. What was supposed to be a furry covering wouldn't have fooled a ten year-old, since the zippers, sleeve hems and badly pilling fabric badly tailored into baggy costumes were all painfully obvious. But these were forgivable shortcomings.

    No, what made it bad were the contrived plot devices. Time and again, Superman failed to do anything to keep the situation from deteriorating. A lynch mob is searching for the creatures? Rather than round up the hysterical crowd or search for the creatures himself, he stands around explaining the dangers of the situation to Lois and the PR man. The creatures are cornered? Again, he stands around watching and talking but doesn't save them until they're shot. Luke Benson, the town's rabble-rouser, shoots at him? Attempted murder to any reasonable person, but Superman releases the man over and over to cause more problems. Superman had quite a few opportunities to nip the problem in the bud, but never once took advantage of them.

    That said, both George Reeves and Phyllis Coates played their characters well, seemingly instantly comfortable in the roles. If only they had been given a better script to work with.
  • Considering the era, the technology they had back then and the goofy treatment of the genre, it's somewhat watchable. Also, as much as I remember, it was the first ever DC film and second superhero film. So, in a way, it also showed the possibility of a whole new genre. You might loathe it for many genuine reasons but you must acknowledge the objective reality that if these movies were never made, none of the great films in the genre would have ever existed (probably).

    Now, coming to the story. It is an era specific movie. It's really cheesy and goofy. I don't if Mole Men were there in DC material, and I don't even know whether Lex Luthor was there in the sources during the time, and I could care less. But had they had Lex Luthor, he could've been used as a villain. But probably that would've never served the purpose since they had to make it goofy back then. And the mole men served all the purpose of goofiness.

    Superman, in this movie, does what he does. He cares about people, he helps them, he saves them .... but why? Only he knows. And he doesn't feel like a humane character like that from Man of Steel or Superman/Doomsday. He is just a fish out of water who is super strong and shows his abilities. He is completely generic. The special effects are hilarious and awful, if you see them now. But it was in the 50s. So, I must say it was amazing that they even bothered using one. The direction it takes is really childish and kids are more likely enjoy it if they can turn their brains off.

    Surprisingly, it is coherent and insanely better than Superman 3, Superman 4 and the two mockeries of Batman by Joel Schumacher. It doesn't aim to be the greatest film but does hit some level, though not to high. George Reeves is okay as Superman. At least people remember him as Superman. The acting was below par and over the top to say the least.

    I am not going to bash it because it's an age old movie. At the same time, during the 40s and 50s, Hollywood had given a LOT of excellent films. So, it's not that it can get away with all the excuses of being an age old movie.

    Rating : 5.2/10, Grade : C-
  • biorngm8 November 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Review - Superman and the Mole-Men 10 A condensed summary of events would include the actual creature sightings to be real, the reaction of the townsfolk to the creatures by hunting them, the revenge of the creatures when one of them is shot and hospitalized, the release of the wounded creature by Superman to the others and the walk back to the well for their return. The conclusion shows Superman, Lois Lane, Bill Corrigan and John Craig watching the derrick burn, set by the creatures, destroying access to the well simultaneously. The subtle differences between the this movie and the two-part episodes on television are just that, subtle, but a couple worth mentioning. The longer scenes missing from the television were those of the creatures first appearance walking around before and including looking at Pop, their watching Clark and Corrigan drive away heading to town, the escaping path from the dam encountering the individual sipping water from his bucket fleeing at the sight of the creature, the barbed wire fence met running from the dogs, Superman telling Lois not to call the story in to avoid panic away from the area and the Craig asking the Sheriff not to call the state police for help. This featured fifty-eight minute movie was released on November 23, 1951 and was met with rave reviews There was the Superman series on the radio and Superman comics, but this is the first time Superman was offered in the movie show houses across the country. The movie was made in 1951 and released originally only as a last resort "to recoup the production budget if the networks passed on the project" of bringing Superman to television. The actual movie was released to television in August 1953 and shown as two-part episodes #25 and #26 at the end of season one of the television series. There were some scenes appearing in this movie edited from the television episodes, none of which detracted from the episodes shown, it is fun to note the minor differences watching both the movie and the TV episodes. This movie is rated high not because it is the only one of its kind but for 1951 science fiction drama it was a good production with a number of experienced actors.
An error has occured. Please try again.