Three Supermen and Mad Girl (1973)
Film review #545
Director: Cavit Yürüklü
SYNOPSIS: An evil organisation led by Mad Girl and a guy in a devil costume are trying to take over the world. The only people that can stop them are the three supermen, with their bulletproof suits…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Three Supermen and Mad Girl is a 1973 Turkish sci-fi film, and a unauthorised of the Three Supermen characters. The plot is about as simple as you can get it: an evil organisation consisting of Mad Girl, a man in a devil mask, and a bunch of men in green hoods and cloaks, are attempting to take over the world. The only people that stand in their way are the three supermen, who get to stopping them. There are no subtitles for this film that I could find, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything, as there’s nothing beyond the surface to really get into: if you know who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are, you’re pretty much set. The structure of the film consists in the cast going from one fight scene to another, and you can more or less follow what is happening in them as their really isn’t much to get beyond some chasing and fighting.
This film comes from a whole market of Turkish knock-off films that take characters (and sometimes actual footage) from other franchises without permission and make their own film. As I’ve mentioned before, this is maybe the sort of thing you could get away with in the 60′s and 70′s, but nowadays, with the internet and such, there’s no way you’d get close to releasing such a film without being found out and sued into oblivion. This is one of the only examples I’ve seen which uses a non-U.S/U.K. based franchise, which leads me to think the Three Supermen was a bigger deal than I believed. With regards to the three supermen themselves, their characters are in keeping with the actual films, with one being mute, and one being a government agent of some description. The costumes as well are accurate, even though they are pretty easy to emulate. The only difference is that the costumes in this film have a big “S” emblem on the chest, which is obviously meant to be the actual “Superman” logo that he wears on his costume. The villains are just typical villains and there’s nothing to really say on that point, apart from they have a robot which is perhaps the best/worst b-movie robot I have ever seen: it really just looks like someone wearing a few cardboard boxes.
Three Superman and Mad Girl is obviously a low budget rip-off of an already low-budget franchise, but I suppose credit should be given to the film for having a good amount of extras in costume, and that it doesn’t bloat the storyline with unnecessary plot and just sticks to a variety of fights and chases. There’s a fair amount of locations too, so it’s at least not all being shot in someone’s basement. Overall though, Three Supermen and Mad Girl is a very low-budget affair that isn’t particularly noteworthy, but is at least short with a sixty-five minute runtime, and focuses no the things which are entertaining and action-oriented. Also probably also worth watching just for one of the cheapest looking robots ever seen on film.
3 Giant Men (1973)
Film review #364
Director: T. Fikret Uçak
SYNOPSIS: A smuggling gang led by Spider-man is stealing precious artefacts in Turkey and selling them for huge profits in the U.S. The Turkish authorities call in Captain America and Mexican wrestler Santo in order to defeat Spider-man and stop the smuggling ring.
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: 3 Giant Men (3 Dev Adam) is a 1973 Turkish superhero film. The film centres around Captain America and Mexican wrestler Santo trying to stop a smuggling ring headed by Spider-man (or “the Spider” as he is called in the film). It may strike you from this summary that this is a completely bizarre concept for a film, and makes very little sense considering the characters themselves, but we’ll get on to that later. First, the story begins with a woman being caught by Spider-man’s gang and being killed by having a boat’s propeller reversed into her face (offscreen anyway, signified by the spraying of what looks like tomato ketchup onto the legs of a witness). With this smuggling gang stealing and killing all over the place, the Turkish authorities call in Captain America and Mexican wrestler Santo in order to stop the gang. The story unfolds without any surprising or complex elements; the premise is laid out at the beginning and it’s followed through until the end without interruption. The story reminds me of classic movie serials, which consisted in a lot of this constant back and forth of fight scenes, car chases, and investigating.
Okay let’s talk about the characters: first, Turkish cinema around this time is infamous for using characters and footage from other properties without permission, and I’m pretty sure this is another example of that. When the police chief first meets Captain America, he remarks how good his Turkish is for an American…except it is plain to see that he is not American, he is played by a Turkish actor, who consequentially does not resemble Captain America in any way. I wonder how much Turkish audiences in 1973 would be familiar with American superheroes, and since it is probably very little, I suppose they could get away with just doing whatever they wanted with the characters. The Mexican wrestler Santo is an original character for the film, and puts on his wrestler mask and cape whenever he needs to fight some bad guys. At one point he is seen wearing a native American jacket, which is a bit odd if he is Mexican, and I wonder if the filmmakers were just conflating the two out of laziness and/or ignorance. Spider-man being the villain is probably the oddest character of the film, as he is one of the most innocent and naive of any superhero. Here, however, he is portrayed as a ruthless murder, who stabs multiple people, tortures them and at one point sends some rats down a ridiculous contraption to eat someone’s eyes out. Perhaps the most bizarre part of his character is when Captain America is explaining that Spider-man cannot stand people who dress up in costumes (such as Captain America), and he will automatically attack them on sight. How does that work? Is he jealous that his ill-fitting suit is upstaged by other costumes? I assume it’s that. Either way, “The Spider” is a ruthless villain with absolutely no connection to the original character, Also his huge eyebrows are a major distraction…
I can’t quite figure out who this film is meant to be for: the superhero characters might make you think it is a more family-oriented, as the original characters would have been, but the all the brutal deaths and torture (even though it is mostly off-screen) is definitely not family viewing. Couple that with the semi-nudity and stripper scenes and you’re definitely looking at a film intended for adults. The film as you might expect is a very low budget affair, with cheap sets, costumes and props being the norm throughout. Again, it reminds me of the classic movie serials, which used a limited amount of sets and props to keep costs low. There are some surprisingly good points though: Captain America’s suit looks pretty well done (in contrast to Spider-man’s green and red suit, which as mentioned does not fit well), and the fight scenes are quite decently choreographed, although clumsily edited in parts. At the end, the fight between Captain America and Spider-man gets incredibly ridiculous, with Captain America killing off Spider-man in a number of silly ways, only for him to reappear around a corner, and the fight carry on somewhere else. I assume they are all body doubles, but with this film it’s hard to tell what logic it subscribes to from one scene to the next. This film is ridiculous: it’s portrayal of it’s characters is completely at odds with the source material, the story is fairly basic, and is filled with odd scenes that make no sense (what was the deal with the puppet scene?). The film also crams in some raunchy scenes and gory violence that makes it feel like the film is just throwing all sorts into the picture without any consideration for a consistent tone. In the end though, you’re never going to take this film that seriously, and it’s worth a watch just to see how bad it is, and you’ll certainly get a laugh out of how cheap and silly it all is.