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Author Topic: Noel Neill on Hollywoodland  (Read 7491 times)
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Great Rao
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« on: February 11, 2007, 04:57:56 AM »

The Superman Homepage just published an interview with Noel Neill:

http://supermanhomepage.com/tv/tv.php?topic=interviews/noel-neill2

She talks about Hollywoodland, George Reeves, and more.

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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2007, 05:09:13 PM »

The casting of Affleck alone was enough to make me stay away from this movie but hearing that they portray him with depression as like his sole personality trait along with the role and the costume as symbols of shame seals the deal.

Even if you are gonna have the depression of typcasting figure into it all you still need to portray the other aspects of the man *and* of the part he played. I don't think anyone could play the role of Superman and be blind to the more positive things about it. Also from all accounts George was a fun guy and did have some fun doing the show.

Also with all due respect to the plight and tragedy of George Reeves I really get sick and tired of seeing the idea of playing the part of Superman treated like an albatross or low-level job. Like it's the actor equivalent to being stuck at McDonalds or something. Some actors work their entire lives just to get a decent part in anything let alone to be the lead and play a positive icon beloved by millions from all age ranges or walks of life all around the world.

I like that Brandon Routh appreciates the history of the part but at the same time, he just really freaking enjoys it. He was quoted as saying "There are far worse fates than being known as Superman." I like that there is an actor in the part who thinks it's awesome to be there BECAUSE IT IS!
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2007, 05:34:13 PM »

To be fair, that was historically the attitude of a lot of showbiz folks when it came to TV -- just a poor cousin to the movies.  Now it's the other way around, and the inevitable star-studded "I Love Lucy" movie (full of CGI effects -- especially for that cool scene where Superman visits Lucy) will be a severe disappointment if it doesn't crack $200 million.

My favorite bit of the interview:
Quote from: Noel Neill
It takes a great actor to portray another great actor, and Ben Affleck is no George Reeves.
Amen!
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jamespup
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2007, 06:02:00 PM »

If anyon'es caught the George Reeves episode on the Biography Channel, you may recall the mocking laughter from the preview audience of From Here To Eternity when Reeves appeared, and that's why his part was cut down to almost nothing.
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jamespup
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2007, 10:11:07 PM »

Finally saw Hollywoodland....which had a similar scene

sad....if he only knew that his talents would continue to be respected and admired
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 12:13:00 PM »

I liked Hollywoodland but I'm not sure if it was a fair & unbiased portrayal of George Reeves life. As a whodunit kind of mystery movie I thought it was pretty good.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 01:04:22 PM »

The bit with the audience jeering Reeves at a screening of "Eternity" is one of those stories that's been accepted as "fact" just by virtue of having been repeated so often.  Depending on who you ask, it never happened at all.

Same with the scene where George disarms the child with a gun.  A lot of Reeves scholars hold this never happened at all, but that it was a story started by George himself to get away from making appearances in costume (he was often kicked and pelted with objects by kids testing his "invulnerability", but the gun part...who knows?).

I appreciate the writer's efforts not to "solve" this death definitively, but I still think he fell into the trap of accepting "conventional wisdom" as fact.  A good example is the "George as humiliated artist" subplot.  Yes, if you look for them there are examples of George expressing unhappiness: he once said he'd give anything to meet even one fan who was an adult, for example.  But we've all had our bad days, and to characterize his whole life and career as a failure based on the occasional grumble is just wrong.  I mean, I grouse about my kids sometimes but that doesn't mean I hate being a dad.

I think the notion took root very early on that George killed himself out of frustration with his career's trajectory, and somehow over time even people who believe he was murdered have still held onto the idea that he was unhappy as Superman.  I think that's a bias that ruins any attempt at objectivity.  I wont' profess to any special knowledge of the man -- he died before I was born! -- but I've seen the DVDs, and I'm telling you this is a guy who had fun with what he was doing.  There are so many neat little touches, gestures and throwaway lines in those shows that you just know George added himself, because he was having a hoot.  The other night in "Olsen's Millions," all he had to do was jump out the window and leave, but he stood there crouching for an extra moment, waited for Jimmy to look his way first and said, "May I?" with a big grin, before leaping.  I swear it looked like Jack Larson didn't expect that.  This was a guy who liked his work.
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jamespup
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 01:38:21 AM »

Was there a perception at that time that being a television actor was somehow a second-rate position, much as early film actors were looked down upon by stage actors?
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