Stamp Day for Superman (1954) Movie Review

details
Title: Stamp Day for Superman.
Rated: Not Rated.
Director: Thomas Carr.
Release Date: 1954.
Runtime:  18 min.
Genre(s): Short, Fantasy, Science-Fiction.
Cast: George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, John Hamilton, Tristram Coffin, and Billy Nelson!
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

thoughts

Now, you might be wondering what on earth is going on here. Does this movie really exist? How is that even possible? After the release of the first live-action DC Comics movie in 1951 called Superman and the Mole Men, the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman became a cult hit for countless fans in the world. Representing truth, justice, and the American way, Superman became an icon that anyone and everyone could look up to and that’s something that the U.S. Department of the Treasury couldn’t just overlook. In hopes to promote the purchase of U.S. savings bonds and stamps, they requested the development of a short film starring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane where they’d educate children about the program and make them care in the name of their American identity. Talk about making them do their part. If that isn’t a call for patriotism, I don’t know what is!

What is Stamp Day for Superman about? The movie sees Clark Kent and Lois Lane serendipitously run into a jewelry robbery in progress while they were out shopping. While the robbers escape, Lois Lane claims she might have seen the culprit but what she doesn’t know is that the culprit also knows that she knows! Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen visit Jimmy’s old school only to realize how cool it would be if Superman could pass by to promote the U.S. Treasury Department’s Savings Stamp program. Isn’t that great? Unfortunately for Superman, he’s going to have to save Lois from trouble before he could give his big speech about the importance of bonds and stamps for American children.

Stamp Day for Superman Photos - Stamp Day for Superman Picture Gallery -  FamousFix

It’s not uncommon to see Superman serve the government in some way. It is part of his history to go through a phase where becoming their weapon is nothing but the most logical step towards a better society. Of course, without all the killing. Otherwise, that would just turn him into a figurative nuke. However, in his much more innocent form, clearly displayed through this propagandist short, is a Superman that simply wants to help the government help their economy through the education of the youth. Nothing wrong there, right?

How is the rest of the story though? What we get here is a very simple and mundane kidnapping with almost no true stakes at play. Considering how this short needed to stand on its own two feet as well, it comes with the mandatory display of Superman’s skills, whether it’s him flying through the city or deflecting bullets, as well as the introduction to Lois Lane’s incredibly creative and insane typewriting skills. Not because she’s gifted with words and could cast spells through them though. Nop. You’ll just have to watch the short to find out.

Stamp Day For Superman (1954) - YouTube

The short itself doesn’t really age well, subtly depicting the cultural norms established back in the day but isn’t as bad as one would like to claim it is. It gives us a little of everything without breaking new grounds and clearly achieves its educational purposes through a very important speech given by Superman himself for the American children. If anything, the short plays out like another episode in the Adventures of Superman and if you don’t have any other expectations, you’re sure to have a good laugh at the very raison d’être of this short.

Stamp Day for Superman (1954) is an unexceptional, mundane, and propagandist short produced to sell bonds and stamps after the war.


EXHIBITA
sTAMP dAY FOR sUPERMAN IS in the public domain and also be found ON YOUTUBE (see above embedded video) THANKS TO SOME KIND-HEARTED FOLKS! 😉

Have you read any sUPERMAN comics?
Have you seen sTAMP dAY FOR sUPERMAN (1954)? Will you? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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33 comments

  • Yeah, in a way reminds me of Chinese propaganda SF Ola reviewed recently… there is art and there are ads, they should not be mixed together.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Definitely, I fully agree. The best Chinese movie I’ve seen are low-budget social dramas, bigger movies often seemed to be way too careful politically – or overt propaganda.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Propaganda, even the stuff you agree with (and let’s be clear, propaganda isn’t in itself bad), never ages well. It speaks too much to the moment. It does give a good snapshot of the culture of the time though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. There are indeed loads of it in modern cinema that’s subtly integrated into the story but resonate too perfectly with viewers to be problematic. It’s definitely fun to revisit these older movies just to see how flagrant the intention of propaganda is though hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • Short films like this maybe used to be propaganda, but these days they’re more of a window into the past. They never age well, but if you’re in the right mindset, they can at least be interesting. A lot of Disney’s war time movies, both animated and live-action, are interesting in the same sense. Not good by any means, but still a piece of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you there. I definitely don’t take these seriously or even hope that they’ll end up being stellar and TIMELESS cinematic pieces too. It’s always fascinating to see what they have to offer and reminds us that society evolves just as much as Superman’s own beliefs!

      Like

  • Yeah, I agree with some of what others have said, how this is perhaps more a part of history than anything else. Gives us a window into the culture of that time, and so it may be interesting for that, but perhaps not for much else. I applaud you for trying it, and though it’s only 18 minutes and easily available for watching, I think I’ll find something else to use that 18 minutes on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. I doubt that I’ll be rewatching this soon but it was definitely insightful in terms of cultural lesson and identification through Superman and his American way! I can’t wait to go through the old Batman and Superman movies again to give them a proper review too. Maybe those classic movies will make you want to check them out. 😛 Although I’m sure some of them are actually so bad you’d wish I won’t have reviewed them and dug them out of their graves for y’all! 😀

      Like

  • This is hilarious? I was one of those that grew up watching Superman and Batman on TV. We thought they were wonderful at the time. They did not age well. I watched the first few minutes, but that was enough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha it is fascinating to watch these first interpretations of Batman/Superman in today’s time. But I’m with you though. I’ll probably share my thoughts on the more “classic” Batman/Superman movies and their greatness (and some of for their dullness)! You did make me laugh with your attempt to watch Stam Day for Superman though hahahah Thanks for reading, Carla!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Haha, I’m sure I was unaware of the existence of this – although I bet there were probably clips of it on one of the Superman/DC documentaries I’ve seen over the years. Alas, it’s something that you have to take as a historical curiosity much like the comics of the time, reflecting what was happening in the world and the attitudes that go with it. I do have a bit of a fondness for the George Reeves TV series, it’s old fashioned and a bit creaky but there’s something innocent (well, maybe not so much this episode) and fun about it.

    But, it just can’t compare to the Fleischer animated shorts from the 40’s…admittedly some of the later ones lean towards a focus on World War II but they are classic non-the-less!

    P.S. Have you heard the news about the Superman movie reboot?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaahha I did think that it would be fun to make a review for this short just to remind us all of the old Superman stuff that once existed. I can’t imagine how such a short would’ve been received today! I want to say that I’ll like to visit Reeves’ TV series but man, I feel like it’s going to be rough around the edges hahaha I’ll keep that project for after I go through the remaining Batman and Superman movies I haven’t reviewed yet. 😀

      I won’t lie that anything that ties in with WWII does have me more immersed and engaged. I’m curious to see how I’ll enjoy those when I get around to them.

      I did hear about it! Inevitable and expected though. I doubt they’ll announce who the actor is until maybe we finally get The Flash movie. I have a pretty good feeling that it’ll tie in with the highly-possible Flashpoint event. I do hope Cavill could get another shot as Superman but I won’t say no to a new actor. I just pray that they won’t go for some kind of social-justice/diversity-pro movie and go for an Afro-American Superman just to give us a “political” Superman movie… It might still be pretty good, especially with Ta-Nehisi Coates on writing duties.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Likewise, anything related to World War II history always has me interested and engaged!

        I have a feeling that the Ta-Nehisi Coates (his Black Panther and Captain America runs have been pretty decent) project might end up being the Val-Zod/Calvin Ellis Superman as Warner Bros seem keen on pursuing Michael B. Jordan for the role again. I seem to remember him saying he’d be open to it if it was right and not a re-imaginging of Clark Kent’s story. Who knows, maybe they might take the Batman approach where we have Henry Cavill or another actor continue in the main universe and have another set of films with another Superman that co-exists.

        Oh man, did you hear that the Snyder Cut ends on a massive cliff-hanger? Bit of a bummer but not totally unexpected, I was just kind of hoping for an ending similar to the Whedon version that’s a little less open ended.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I really wouldn’t be surprised if they go for Val-Zod/Calvin Ellis Superman. Politically it would be a “smart” move and could greatly succeed financially. And we all know money drives many decisions over at WB/Disney! I just hope it is done properly, not rushed, and makes sense in the grand scheme of things…

          Yep, like you, I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also did it on purpose to make WB regret canceling his two-part project. The idea of a cliffhanger could also be tactical, especially if it creates another #SnyderCut wave for a #JusticeLeague2 petition or something, especially if this 4-hour movie is actually a success!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Agreed, the more I think about it, the more open I feel to another take on Superman…but as long as we still get the Clark Kent version, preferably played by Henry Cavill co-existing.

            Well, it’s mere days until the Snyder Cut is unleashed (it’s coming to Sky TV over here thankfully) so we shall see how it is…I’ve seen there’s a #restorethesnyderverse movement already. I think it’s highly unlikely to happen myself but not looking forward to being left hanging…like the many TV shows I’ve watched in years gone by that have been cancelled without a resolution. Oh, the pain!

            Liked by 1 person

  • Some things never change. While there are people who are just there for the SUperman story, there are also those who think that a hero like that should be exploited to push their agenda. They did it then and they are doing it now…

    Liked by 1 person

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