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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Supergirl – International European Version (1984/Warner Bros.)

Supergirl – International European Version (1984/Warner Bros.)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C-



After destroying the Superman franchise to get quick bucks out of it, Alexander and Ilya Salkind still had rights to the character and his world, so they embarked upon making a feature film out of Supergirl.  Though they did not have the budget the previous films had, they smartly landed unknown Helen Slater for the title role and supported by an interesting cast that included Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Brenda Vaccaro, Peter Cook, Simon Ward, Hart Bochner and even Mark McClure as the series established Jimmy Olsen had all kinds of possibilities.  Too bad David Odell’s screenplay is a comic book wreck.


Dunaway is Selena (not to be confused with anything from any version of Catwoman), a fortune teller who gains possession of a magic globe that gives her powers beyond anything she could have ever imagined and she wants revenge and all the wealth in the world.  Supergirl has newly arrived on earth as this is all going on and assumes the secret identity of Linda Lee.  Unfortunately, her first visit is awkward and about to possibly become deadly.


Sadly, the narrative is deadly in its bankruptcy of ideas with that “throw in everything” feeling that graces just about all Salkind productions in the worst way and even a reliable journeyman director like Jeannot Szwarc cannot overcome the overproduction tendencies and sense that these actors have no where to go.  I have seen the longest version of this and it made no difference, yet the many cuts and hopes for at least a cult following have caused this film to be issued several times on DVD already.  That hasn’t happened yet.


The talented Dunaway can only channel her Joan Crawford Mommie Dearest persona, Vaccaro is mixed as comic relief and the bad story are matched by very bad visual effects.  No wonder optical effects have such a bad name.  This is a British production, yet its attempts to be Americanized are pointless, stupid and waste any energy that might have made this entertaining in some way.  Slater did have some career after this, but most of the name actors here paid with their careers.


If you want to see the best films in the series, you can read about them at the following links:









Then there is the performance of this edition.  The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is weak in the Video Black department, has definition issues and the Rank Color is the only thing that survives from what must have been a good looking film when the effects and phony sets were not in the way.  The great Alan Hume, B.S.C., squeezed this between Roger Moore’s last two Bond films, Octopussy (1983, which looks better than this on both DVD versions) and A View To A Kill (1985, which looks as bad this in either DVD release).  This still looks better than if it had been shot in HD, but is still mixed and no better or worse than previous DVD versions.


This was one of the early 5.1 films, released in 70mm blow-up prints in Dolby Magnetic 5.1 sound, but you would never know it from this standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.  Not even Jerry Goldsmith’s score can save this film, plus what is up with those sound effects?  The Salkinds seem to have their own personal sound effects library of inept aural effects.  The DTS tracks on the older Anchor Bay copies were more like it.


Extras include a trailer and feature length audio commentary by Szwarc and historian Scott Bosko.


If you want to see a good version of Supergirl, turn to Warner’s recent animated series.  At least they are smart and have dignity.  Otherwise, stick with the comic books.  Superman Family would do it!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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