The feature film "Hollywoodland" was originally entitled "Truth, Justice and the American Way". Warner Bros. money was tied up in the film, and with Superman Returns expected to become a cultural phenomenon (along the lines of "Spider-Man" or "Pirates of the Carribbean"), the Super-Friendly title was changed. That said, "Hollywoodland" rolls off the tongue a bit better, anyway, unless you're making goo-goo eyes at spunky reporters.
In the next few days, Hollywoodland will be arriving in my mailbox via Netflix, and I'll watch the movie.
Here's the deal: In the past year or so, I've become quite a fan of George Reeves' Superman/ Clark Kent. As genuine as I continue to find Christopher Reeve's performance as a Man of Steel with a heart of glass, and as much as I think Brandon Routh was the right guy for the emotionally battered Superman of "Superman Returns"...
George Reeves Superman is the Superman that I watch and think "That's a Superman I can relate to!" Looking kind of paunchy in a fairly home-made looking suit, bemused by the guys shooting at me, making lots of comments regarding my dual identity at my co-worker's expense, and, of course, winking at the camera... I dare you to watch those episodes and NOT like Reeves (or, really, the whole cast).
The official story is that George Reeves killed himself, but ever since Reeves died, there have been suggestions that perhaps it wasn't Reeves who put the gun to his own head. And, I guess, that's more or less what the movie explores.
But I recently read an interview with Noel Neill in which she expresses her disappointment regarding the film. I highly recommend reading the interview here.
As infrequently as the newspapers or television seem to get a story right as it's breaking, what chance do filmmakers have of digging up much of the truth fifty years later?
So I'll watch the film. But I'll watch it with a certain eye of skepticism. Reeves' early death was tragic, no matter how it truly occured. I suppose it's somehow easier to think of the smiling Superman coming to an end not of his own doing than to think, as the movie posits, that the show and the character were what eventually led to his death.
Those are two very different stories, if there's a lesson to be garnered from all this. And it seems that there's not agreement even among those who knew Reeves during his final years, as to what may have happened.
More to follow when I've actually seen the movie...