The Return of Superman [Supermen Dönüyor] (1979)
AKA Turkish Superman, Supermen Returns
Starring Tayfun Demir, Güngör Bayrak, Yildirim Gencer, Esref Kolçak, Nejat Özbek, Resit Hazar, Seref Çokseker, Reha Yurdakul
Directed by Kunt Tulgar
Expectations: I don’t really know what to expect. Greatness? Trash? I’m eager, whatever it is.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Make no mistake: The Return of Superman — AKA the more well-known bootleg title, Turkish Superman — is a horrible movie. But like many horrible movies that pop up here, it is rather enjoyable. It’s much too slow-moving and boring at times, but when it’s good, it’s really good, so any fan of low-budget movies shouldn’t miss this one. Just in terms of seeing how someone with a totally non-existent budget tries to emulate the special FX of one of the biggest budget, FX-laden ’70s movies. Within 30 seconds I was laughing hysterically, as the infinite stars of the universe were displayed on the screen via black felt and a whole bunch of round Christmas ornaments. Arguably, the effect looks rather good for what it is, but it’s never a deceptive illusion so it’s impossible not to laugh at it. But as I like to laugh with things, this kicked the movie off to a rather great start.
As much as I love the Superman character, his story is inherently laden pretty thick with American exceptionalist ideas. Of course, this powerful alien champion crash lands on Earth and he’s an American! A wholesome American farm boy, no less! While I respect the basis this gives the character, I was eager to see a Superman that didn’t carry this baggage, and in The Return of Superman I definitely got that. Here Tayfun (AKA Turkish Clark Kent) has been raised by a poor, nondescript Turkish couple. We’re not shown that the Turkish Kents instilled any deep, resonant values in Superman, but he does fight on the side of good, so those scenes must have been left on the cutting room floor. One day, Tayfun decides he must leave to find his Kryptonian fortune, packing his suitcase for a journey across grazing fields and into rocky Turkish caverns, where he uses the green stone that came with him from Krypton to talk with Turkish Jor-El. But before I get there, I simply must mention that this suitcase packing scene has to be the most exciting, thrilling suitcase packings in the history of cinema. Not for its visual content, but for its score, a rousing suite for orchestra that would fit perfectly into the climax of a Hitchcock movie. That’s what those final Hitchcock films were missing… more suitcase-packing thrills.