Tuesday, October 3, 2006



George Bessolo Reeves (born January 5, 1914) was an American actor best known for playing the title role in the television series Adventures of Superman in the 1950’s.

At approximately 1:30 AM the morning of June 16, 1959 he died of a gunshot wound to the head in the upstairs bedroom of his Benedict Canyon home. He was 45 years old.

There have always been three primary theories about Reeves' death:
1. The first is that, in an alcohol-induced daze and despondent over the lack of movement in his career, he shot himself. This is what the official record indicates.
2. Another possibility is that, during an argument, his fianceƩ Lenore accidentally shot him, then used the 45 minutes between Reeves' death and her call to the police to stage a suicide.
3. A third possibility is that Eddie Mannix hired someone to eliminate Reeves because of problems the actor was causing in his marriage.

Ben Affleck:George Reeves, better known as Superman
Robin Tunney: his fianceƩ Leonore Lemmon
Adrien Brody: private investigator Louis Simo
Larry Cedar: one of his clients
Caroline Dhavernas: Simo’s “secretary”
Molly Parker: Simo’s ex-wife Laurie
Zach Mills: their 10-year-old son Evan
Lois Smith: Reeves' mother Helen Bessolo
Diane Lane: Toni, Eddie Mannix's wife
Bob Hoskins: MGM executive Eddie Mannix
Jeffrey DeMunn: Reeves’s agent
Joe Spano: MGM “fixer” Howard Strickling

With a flock of good actors and a story that needs to be told, the film has tremendous potential. However four things set about to mess it up.

Firstly it’s too long; each scene seems to go on forever and the story unfolds at a snail’s pace. Some might say, “it’s slow and deliberate”. I say “it’s plodding”.

The story ostensibly is about the death of Superman but more screen time is devoted to the personal life of a small-time, down-in-his-luck private detective and the problems he has with his estranged wife. In fact this preoccupation with this secondary character carries on right up to the closing shot which has him sitting in his car waiting for his kid to join him. Like who cares?

Then there is the poor acting:
Adrien Brody: each scene with him and the reporters looks like a replay of the previous one; same with his discussions with his former buddies and with his one client. It’s almost as if he is resting on his laurels now that he has won an Academy Award.
Ben Affleck: many will disagree but I’ve yet to see anything even remotely close to real acting from this man since I don’t consider someone appearing to be reading all the time from cue cards as acting; a pretty-boy he is, an actor he’s not.

The flashbacks: without warning you’re flipped back 10 years then without any apparent sign returned to the present. The use of this technique when done properly adds much to the film by “filling in the blanks”. In this case the layered flashbacks serve only to confuse the whole thing, particularly when the style of dress and general setting of the flashback looks very much like the present. We need clues to catch on to these changes in time.

for violence, gore, profanity, nudity and sexual situations.

Simo meets in a coffee shop with a former colleague from the big detective agency he once worked for. After reading the headline he tosses the newspaper on to the table with it winding up just beside the colleague’s left arm. In the very next shot, taken from Simo’s perspective, we can clearly see that colleague’s left arm is hanging over the back of the seat and not on the tabletop.

The movie takes place in the summer of 1959 and Simo gives Evan an Etch-A-Sketch toy. Although developed in the late 1950s by Frenchman, Arthur Granjean, it was not marketed in the United States until July 12, 1960.

When Simo is checking out the newspaper the headline refers to the firing of General McArthur by President Truman. That took place in 1951 and would not still be a news item in 1959.

The movie title, Hollywoodland, is a reference to the huge sign along the rugged terrain of the Hollywood Hills. Erected in 1923 when the city was in the midst of expansion, it spelled out in 30’ high letters the name the real estate group used in their literature to promote land sales in the surrounding area, which they called HOLLYWOODLAND. To enhance the effect, the sign was lit by 4,000 light bulbs; a nearby cabin housed a maintenance man whose sole job was changing them.

Like elsewhere, Hollywoodland's real estate development experienced a slide in the 1930’s due the 1929 stock market crash. The ensuing Great Depression wrecked the economy and the housing market tumbled along with it. By the 1940’s, no longer able to pay someone to maintain the sign, the developers abandoned it.

The sign was left derelict until 1949, when the 'H' toppled in the wind. Not only was the sign an eyesore, it was becoming dangerous. So the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in and they offered to remove the last four letters of the sign and repair the rest. Since then it has proudly proclaimed to pilots and tourists alike that they truly are in HOLLYWOOD.

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