In the Dark

Of Men and Supermen

Hollywoodland
Produced by Miramax Films
Directed by Allen Coulter
Screenplay by Paul Bernbaum
Distributed by Focus Features

Of the entertainment industry’s many venerable traditions, cashing in on dead celebrities ranks just below rehabilitating headliner junkies.  Untold millions have been made under the guise of immortalizing fallen performers—think of James Dean, Elvis, John Lennon.  And who hasn’t heard Dean Martin singing “That’s Amore” while rummaging through the Croft & Barrow sales tables at Kohl’s?  (Not that Martin would complain; he’d be the first to appreciate the joke.  He was man enough to know that the song’s deathless lyric, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie,” was really a gloss on his career.)

Still, I have to admit I was surprised that Miramax had greenlighted Hollywoodland, a film centered on George Reeves, the third-tier actor who played Superman on television in the 1950’s.  The film’s advertising tag line is even more astonishing: “Living in Hollywood can make you famous.  Dying in Hollywood can make you a legend.”  George Reeves a legend?  You could have fooled me.  And Reeves, too, I suspect.  But such is capitalism.  Nothing is ever wasted.

Director Allen Coulter and screenwriter...

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