Posts tagged "We don’t need no stinking subtitles"

Our Friend, Power 5 (Review)

Our Friend, Power 5

aka 우리들의 친구 파워 5 aka Wurideul-ui Chingu Pawo 5
Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5
1989
Written by ???
Directed by Park Ho-Jin

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

Teenage Hungover Ninja Turtles


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the headlining franchises of my youth, and while I never got involved with the toys, the comics, cartoons, and video games were a constant presence. And years ago, I heard about a Korean bootleg Ninja Turtles movie, but thanks to the shifting sands of the internet it was years and years until I got a copy. Then I sat on it for a few years, but now it is time to actually finish jobs, and it’s time for Our Friend Power 5 to get its due on TarsTarkas.NET!

Our Friend Power 5 isn’t just a bootleg Ninja Turtles, it is in fact selling its own bootleg Ninja Turtle toys, complete with their own giant robot bootlegged from another toy line! It is part of literally hundreds of Korean children’s films pumped out with ridiculous costumes, terrible acting and overacting, and lots of rubber suits and animation of giant robots and spaceships mixed in. It forms a delirious genre of cinema that few people outside Korea have heard of, and fewer people have seen multiple entries. Fortunately for you (but unfortunately for us!), TarsTarkas.NET is one of those locations that is very familiar with this genre. Be it Alien Lightning Dragon, Hwarang-V Trio, Robotstar Jjanga, Super Batman & Mazinger V, or Korean Terminator, this ridiculous films are a constant presence. They will be so in the future as well, because you better believe I’m sitting on a whole slew more of them!!! That’s a threat, buddy!

But we must talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here. First of all, there are FIVE of them! And one is a princess, in fact she’s the Princess of their race, and in turtle mode she has pink ventral shell. The ventral shells (the chests for those of you who aren’t biologists) are how you tell these characters apart, each one has a different color there – Pink, Black, Yellow, Brown, and Purple. Their masks are molded so they permanently have the Ninja Turtles grimace, and there are obvious eye holes (and other holes in the suits, either so the actors don’t sweat to death or so the suits are easier to maneuver and don’t fill with air and get weird shaped!) Their bandanas are all red and only the Princess seems to have any custom weapon, her wand. One of the turtles shoots what looks like metal wire out of his wrist to snag a villain out of a tree, but that’s the only complicated things the turtles do. Even with the many holes in the costume, it’s obvious the actors inside are barely able to see and most of the choreography involving them is weird and slow like they are underwater. Usually they default to the child actors for the action scenes to attack the villains. Outside of the princess, the other four don’t really have much of a personality, they are just there, and during the climax I’m not even 100% sure where two of them go.

When your wire salesman demonstration goes totally wrong!

The villains are a bunch of rat men, so yes, it looks like Splinter is hunting down his own family! Despite the villains being rats, their leader is named Shark and has taken a human face disguise (outside of an obviously terrible beard) The rats are all the same rubber mold, but they made their leader more grey and gave him blue eyes instead of red. They stomp around and carry laser guns but must have gotten their training at the Imperial Stormtrooper Academy as they can’t hit the broad side of a turtle barn.

This film is basically a commercial for their bootleg toys, as the entire climactic sequence involves the toy robot piloted by the Turtles (and some kids, it’s more dumb than complicated but let’s just continue) smashing the crap out of the villain’s fleet and his own robot. The Comentor Robot also drives the plot, it’s the plans the Princess is carrying that the villain wants to get his hands on. A space princess with some plans a villain wants, huh? The name Comentor Robot comes from a translation of the plot, I’m not sure if it is supposed to be like Cometor as that sounds more spacey, or if this robot spends its down time arguing that fluoride is mind control below Yahoo News articles. The robot itself is ganked from the Go-Bots Powersuits Power Warrior so it’s like two bootlegs combined into one! Synergy, baby!

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

Suck it, Harry Potter!


Thankfully whoever ripped this tape left all the production logos on it, including the SKC company ad for their video tapes, floppy discs, and their brand new CD technology! CDs, it’s the FUTURE!!! As this is a rare film, we will give our patented incredibly thorough description of what is going on so you too can follow along at home, along with a side of snark. And like every single one of these Korean Children’s films, there are no subtitles, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

Hyuk (???) – Our hero is just some rando kid who happens to be the son of the famous astronomer Dr. Yang. Thanks to his irresponsibility he is granted phenomenal powers that he uses to fight evil Ratmen from space while befriending refugee turtles.
Bow Tie (???) – The required by Korean Kiddie Movie Law comic relief, Bow Tie here is a huge wimp who hangs around with children while failing to ask out Tae Kwon repeatedly (and later Princess Turtle repeatedly)
Tae Kwon (???) – The tough daughter of Dr. Yang who has the power of knowing tae kwon do, something alien ratmen armed with laser guns are helpless against!
Dr. Yang (???) – Brilliant scientist who is far too busy building weird telescopes and letting his children run wild to go see a dermatologist about that weird growth on his head. Helps build a fleet of attack ships for the Earth and helps the Turtles create their robot.
Princess Turtle (???) – – The Princess of the turtle world who leads the survivors of her conquered race in a desperate attempt to escape the evil Shark and his army of Ratmen. Has the plans for the powerful Comentor Robot that Shark wants. The Princess is armed with a magic wand that she’s pretty irresponsible with, and is also a brilliant tactician as shown later in the film where she commands a space attack. She transforms into….
Pink Turtle (???) – The lead turtle with the power of pink. All other turtles obey her orders. Outside of the Princess, none of the other turtles seem to have names (and even if they did, there ain’t no subtitles!) we will refer to them by their underbelly colors, as that is the only difference between the characters. They all use the same Michealangelo-base mold, which is seen by the “M” on all their belts. None of them really have personalities.
Black Turtle (???) – The turtle I got the least clear shots off in screencaps! Our made up biography reveals he is obsessed with football, but was never able to go pro due to a knee injury in college. Only the destruction of his homeworld prevented him from getting a job selling women’s shoes.
Yellow Turtle (???) – The Yellow Turtle is yellow. Shocking, I know! Despite that, he isn’t a coward. Congrats! Our made up biography reveals Yellow Turtle is a brilliant florist but lost last year’s rose competition due to internal politics. Luckily every other turtle florist is now dead, so he is a shoo-in to win this year!
Brown Turtle (???) – Our made up biography of Brown Turtle is that he was initially another color but he never bathes, thus giving his belly the brown color by which he got his new name. His original color was lost over time, even he doesn’t know what color he is supposed to be.
Purple Turtle (???) – This turtle is usually flying the Turtle spaceship but outside of that doesn’t do much interesting. Our made up biography indicates he is very into stamp collecting, to the point where he has taken out multiple mortgages to afford those stamps where the plane is upside down.
Shark (???) – Leader of the evil Ratmen who commits genocides on Tuesdays and wants the Comentor Robot to further his genocidal ambitions. Judging by how the transformed Ratmen look in the film, Shark has taken human form and is just another Ratman.
Ratmen (???) – The Ratmen are the disposable flunky troops of Shark. The leader is more grey and has blue eyes, while all the rest are more brown with red eyes. None of them are Splinter, unless this is the Mirror Universe! Wait a minute, maybe it is….

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

We get it, you vape!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 19, 2019 at 6:38 am

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Sinbad Alibaba and Aladdin (Review)

Sinbad Alibaba and Aladdin

aka Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin
Sindbad Ali Baba Aladdin movie
1965
Scenario and dialogue by Tabish Sultanpuri
Directed by Prem Narayan Arora (as P. N. Arora)


All India Pictures brings us Sindbad Alibaba and Aladdin! It’s got big stars, it has big effects, it has big costumes, it has big musical numbers, and it has a big not-Godzilla! Okay, maybe a few of the stars were past their prime and the Bootleg Godzilla looks goofy and isn’t in the film nearly as much as it should be, but still, there is a lot to love.

(I’m going to spell “Sinbad” both ways in this article, so deal with it!)
Sindbad Ali Baba Aladdin movie
Give whoever was in charge of the special effects a raise as they went right to the source, enlisting Keiji Kawakami and Seishiro Ishi from Tsuburaya special effects. That might be about as close as we’ll get to an actual Indian Godzilla film unless the long-lost Gogola is uncovered somewhere!

Sindbad Alibaba and Aladdin only seems available in unsubtitled vcds of what look like VHS rips with gigantic video company logos. Meemsab had Ultra Video Company, while my copy has Kamal Video plastered on the top left. Kamal Video also had a brief musical logo in the beginning featuring some soft jazz saxophone that would be at home in an early 90s softcore sex scene. They even forgot to cut out the logo of the VHS company that they got the VHS tapes they used to make this vcd from near the end of the film. Oops! Now we know why the watermarks keep getting bigger, they are covering other watermarks!
Sindbad Ali Baba Aladdin movie

Sinbad (Pradeep Kumar) – Sinbad is the heroic type in this film, while Aladdin and Alibaba both play the goofy sidekicks who are actually co-leads. Pradeep Kumar started acting in Bengali films and had moved to Hindu films by the 1950s, where he found success as a lead for a few years. By the 60s his star had begun to fade and he was doing more B-level movies like this one. By the late 60s he had turned to character acting and some good roles through the 80s. He died in 2001.
Alibaba (Master Baghwan) – One of the two comedic members of the trio, Alibaba is sort of in between the heroic role and the comedic role. He sort of gets a girl with the mysterious Jungle Girl, but she’s barely in the film. Bhagwan Dada was a working class son who dreamed of movies, eventually making his own low budget stunt films during the silent era of the 1930s. He moved on from that to starring in pictures in the 40s, by the 50s he was producing mainstream pictures and had early success (and spent his money accordingly), but eventually a string of failures caused him to have to sell his enormous mansion and seven cars (one for each day of the week), and by the 1960s he was doing B-level pictures like this one. He died in 2002.
Aladdin (Agha) – Aladdin is the other comedic member of the trio, but he’s the one who both Sinbad and Alibaba consider to be their comedic sidekick, hence him getting abandoned while drunk and sold into slavery. Whoops! But at least he does find a genie to love and save the day. Agha was a comedic actor who styled himself after Bob Hope’s comedy (very evident here!) He first got roles in the 30s and was very active from the 30s to the 50s. By the 60s he had started to slow down a bit, though he still had time to do some B-level movies like this one. He died in 1992.
Princess Jameela (Sayeeda Khan) – Sinbad’s love and the daughter of the Sultan, problem is everyone wants the princess either as a marriage partner for power or for lust reasons, so she’s constantly getting saved by Sinbad. Sayeeda Khan lived a tragic life, she got her career doing lower grade movies usually in supporting roles with occasional larger ones like this, but never broke into the big time. In 1990 her and her daughter Namrata were murdered (and her 20 year old son, actor Kamal Sadanah, wounded) by her filmmaker husband, Brij Sadanah, before he killed himself.
Genie (Helen) – Aladdin falls in love with the lovely lady of the lamp, Genie, who grants wishes to whoever controls the lamp. She also has a sense of humor, putting people in goofy situations. A great help to the heroes. Helen also pops up in Trip To Moon and Return of Mr. Superman
Bootleg Godzilla (Himself) – Totally not Godzilla shows up to shoot flames and try to make friends only to get stabbed in the eye because people sometimes just aren’t worth the effort. But let’s not blame poor Bootleg Godzilla, it isn’t his fault mankind has issues…

Sindbad Ali Baba Aladdin movie
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 7, 2018 at 7:18 am

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The White-Bone Sword Part 2 (Review)

The White-Bone Sword (Part 2)

aka 白骨陰陽劍(下集) aka The Yin Yang Blade aka Ingentious Swords, Part Two aka Bai gu yin yang jian, xia ji
White-boned Sword
1962HKMDB Link
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Ling Yun

Dancing with the Trees never took off like Dancing with the Stars did…

The magic of The White-boned Sword continues with Part 2, which features slightly less monsters but slightly more martial intrigue. Which means the entry is less friendly for watching without subtitles. There is some nice sword fights, nice animated martial effects, and the return of the Tree Spirit. But there is also a bunch of people arguing, a pointless martial tournament, and weird pipe fighting that sounds cool but gets old really quick. A disappointing second entry, but the next two parts give us some more monsters so I’ll take this brief break in the fun.
White-boned Sword

Wong Tin-ho (Walter Tso Tat-wah) – Helping Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl train along with Wu Sheung-fung, but is drawn into more sword-related martial intrigue. Doesn’t really do much amazing stuff in this entry.
Wu Sheung-fung (Yu So Chow) – Still helping Wong Tin-ho train Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl, she proves her martial superiority early in this entry, and even tricks some of the dumbest villains in martial history.
Luk Fong-fei (Connie Chan Po-chu) – Daughter of a murdered family and training to get revenge, while also being a rebellious teen who sneaks out to do more martial arts stuff. Like teens do.
Pak Ha-mui aka Black Girl (Yip Wai-Ngai) – Daughter of a murdered mother and possessor of magic swords. She also is easily offended when you blame her for people being killed. She’s so over being part of a franchise and being responsible for magic swords
Vampire Lady (Kong Bo-Lin) – Vampire Lady is back in domino form. This is probably her weakest appearance in the series, but she makes up for it in the other entries.
Tree Spirit (Himself) – He’s dead but he’s back, because you can’t kill a spirit. Or at least a spirit that is connected to the sword via magic and it can summon him to fight evil.
Ghost Mother (Kam Ying-Lin) – The nefarious Ghost Mother returns, now teamed up with a new group of baddies who don’t give her any respect. She’s graduated from being the big bad to being the person killed by worse villains just to show how evil they are. At one point the synopsis calls her Blue Flower Ghostly Mother so that’s probably her full, legal name for you trivia buffs out there!
Pipe Guy (Chow Gat) – Part of a pipe-based martial sect who briefly orchestrates posession of the White-boned Swords before his group is easily tricked out of them. That must not be tobacco they are smoking in those pipes!
Sek Kin 2.0 (Sek Kin) – I never figured out what his character name was, but Sek Kin 2.0 keeps up the tradition and dies just like his identical twin brother did in Part 1. He works with the Five Element Taoists in a sword-snatching scheme that backfires because they are the villains and not the heroes in the story, you see. His name might be Three-hand Lohan Mak Tin-lung, which is a cool name but as I couldn’t prove it was him, it will go unassigned until I use it in a story I write years form now…
Old Devilish Eccentric (Ling Mung) – A mad wondering monk who is good and trains Black Girl after she runs off after fighting with Luk Fong-fei. The world needs more crazy martial guys who wander around and live in trees, so I support him 100%!

White-boned Sword
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

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Shoktir Lorai (Review)

Shoktir Lorai

aka শক্তির লড়াই
Shoktir Lorai
????
Written by ???
Directed by ???

Still better than the remake

Robocop gets remade by Bangla cinema, and the result is far from the worst Robocop film. Shoktir Lorai (শক্তির লড়াই) takes the basic premise of a murdered man being rebuilt into a robot who fights for justice, adds an evil counterpoint built by the villains, and throws in as many other Bangla tropes as they can to bring about a movie that is amazing and ridiculous while still being as Bangla as possible.

Bangla cinema is full of over the top characters and over the top action films, and it’s amazing just how naturally science fiction fits right in. We’ve seen a prior example of Bangla robots battling it out with Machine Man, and that film even stole some of the same parts of Robocop that Shoktir Lorai did! (though it was mostly stealing from Terminator franchise!)
Shoktir Lorai
As usual with these rarities, the review is a longform synopsis with commentary and we’ve included plenty of pictures and animated gifs. Thanks to Bangla cinema being so rarely written about in English, the cast and character names are partial guesses, and there are no subtitles to speak of. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! I can’t seem to tell if this film was originally made for television or if it had a theatrical run, but television is where it first caught my attention as someone uploaded a clip to YouTube, and after that it was only a matter of two years of searching before I located a copy. Basically, any rare film you can’t find in less than an hour will probably take years to locate, that’s the disparity of rare cinema. So if people can fill in the blanks on who Shahin Alam and Notun are as well as all the actresses/actors who are nameless, it would be a great help!
Shoktir Lorai

Dr. Johan Buchi (Danny Sidak) – Our Hero is a do gooder scientist who tries to do the right thing and stand up to criminals, but just ends up putting his family at risk. The villains get their revenge and Johan is 99% murdered, but is rebuilt into…
Robocop (Danny Sidak) – Dr. Johan Buchi is back in Robocop form, rebuilt by his father in law to be a powerful cyborg that just so happens to be handy to use as a blunt instrument of revenge. He at first doesn’t remember anything except having a sense of justice, but eventually remembers his family.
Wife (Munmun) – Dr. Johan Buchi’s wife and Dr. Mola’s daughter. I couldn’t figure out her name, which is a real shame. Her and Johan have a daughter who might be named Lita, but she gets killed early in the film. Supports her newly Robocopped husband’s excursions of vengeance where he beats up the criminal underworld. Oddly she didn’t have her daughter rebuilt into a cyborg warrior, a shame because we missed out on Kindergarten Robocop! Munmun was also in Banglar King Kong
Dr. Mola (???) – Tubby Buddy! It’s good to see a familiar face, this guy who is in practically every Banglar film we watch! This time he’s a famed scientist who works on cyborg technologies and rebuilds the nearly dead Dr. Buchi, as well as Julie, into cyborg super powered people.
Inspector Suhil (???) – A heroic cop who tries his best to clean up the mean streets, which might happen now that a cyborg is throwing piles of criminals into his police station every night. Is sort of in a relationship with Charmine.
Charmine Mola (???) – Wife’s sister and Dr. Mola’s younger daughter, she has a carefree attitude and playfully flirts with Inspector Suhil, though she also flagrantly breaks the law while doing so with no remorse. Does little to advance the plot besides adding two songs.
Sharif Mohammad (???) – The grey haired businessman villain whose criminal empire blunders across Dr. Johan Buchi, so they order him wiped out when he refuses to not testify against them. Is incredulous when Robocop starts smashing up all his stuff.
Julie (???) – Sharif Mohammad’s girl who he shoots so she can have Robocop-ish powers of her own, though she’s more of Wonder Woman with super strength and bullet-deflecting metal bracelets. Her soundtrack is punctuated with crows shrieking which is awesome.

Shoktir Lorai
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm

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Cazadores de Espías (Review)

Cazadores de Espías

aka Spy Hunter
Cazadores de Espías
1969
Story by Adolfo Torres Portillo
Screenplay by Rafael Baledón
Directed by Rafael Baledón

Still more exciting than whenever Mantaur wrestled!

In 1969, Mexico had noticed the whole secret agents thing has gotten a little ridiculous and thus ripe for parody. Enter Cazadores de Espías, a comedic film filled with secret agents, double crosses, identical twins, a carnivorous plant, a masked villain, a seductive villainess, a luchador, a mad scientist, and even a robot. There is plenty of goofy action across the board, lending Cazadores de Espías the power to potentially be something bigger than it is. Unfortunately, there is no subtitled version at all, and the first half of the film leans heavily on verbal jokes, leaving people like me to be forced to lean on their rusty Spanish. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but they probably would have come in handy here! Despite the lack of clear understanding of a few plot points, the general gist was easy to get, and no one needs subtitles when a robot is running around! Cazadores de Espías is fun, but thanks to the language veil it isn’t as fun as it should have been.
Cazadores de Espías
Cazadores de Espías was filmed around the same time as Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar, which is pretty obvious. It features familiar sets and cast members, and all are directed by Rafael Baledón (though this time the original story is by Adolfo Torres Portillo). The sets usually used at the villain’s lair is now a hotel, a control room is now a villain lair, and the familiar nightclub returns, though there is now a big wrestling ring in part of it. The goons of the mysterious Mr. X were big X’s on their uniforms (instead of G’s or K’s!) Mexican villains are all sponsored by the same letters that sponsor Sesame Street!

As the film is rather obscure, please enjoy the longer film synopsis review. But as the film is hard to follow at parts, please forgive any errors that creep in due to confusion or language barriers. As usual, I blame those nefarious Spider Gnomes of Jupiter, who cause me no end of troubles. I will defeat you one day, Spider Gnomes of Jupiter! Fans of random Mexican song interludes will enjoy the performances by Los Rockyn Devil’s, The Shadow of the Beast, Manolo Muñoz, Rubin “Penjamo” Mendez, and Jose Antonio Zevala. Non-fans will find a convenient time to go to the bathroom. Now on with the show!
Cazadores de Espías

Ricardo (Carlos East) – Ricardo’s twin brother Ramiro is murdered right in front of him, and Ricardo goes on a quest for revenge, which puts him in the middle of two rival criminal espionage groups and some innocent people. Part of his cover is disguising as the luchador Rayo De Oro, because that’s how you go undercover in Mexico, dress as a flamboyant wrestler.
Chelelo Ochoa (Eleazar García “Chelelo”) – A relative of the dead Mr. X who inherits part of the property that becomes the center of espionage conflicts. Wants to promote wrestling matches for money. At one point has to disguise himself as Rayo De Oro when Ricardo goes missing. Is either Leonor’s husband or distant cousin with the same last name (I was unable to figure this out). Eleazar García has a nickname, so we know from experience to prepare for comedic pain. Though, really, Chelelo isn’t that unfunny. He might be the most entertaining nicknamed Mexican comedian I’ve seen in a film. And I’ve seen quite a few! So many nicknamed Mexican comedians…
Leonorilda “Leonor” Ochoa (Leonorilda Ochoa) – Leonor is one of the not really deceased Mr. X’s long lost relatives who gain ownership of a property he controls, thus everyone tries to kill her and Chelelo. They keep failing at it. She wants to turn the property into a gogo dancing hall. Leonorilda Ochoa also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar.
Sylvana (Maura Monti) – Leader of a villainous faction that is trying to gain possession of the property everyone wants. Owns a Carnivorous Plant and a bunch of goons. Maura Monti also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas, Con Licencia Para Matar, La Mujer Murciélago, S.O.S. Conspiracion Bikini, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras, and Santo Contra la Invasion de los Marcianos.
Mr. X (Héctor Andremar) – The mysterious Mr. X is very mysterious. Most mysterious of all is his plan, which makes no real sense. Hides out under the property in question all day and gives his men branded uniforms. He also has a twin brother, but he kills him to fake his own death. I’m pretty sure this is Héctor Andremar.
Carnivorous Plant (itself) – A very hungry plant that is eager to eat anything and anyone it can get its vines on! Used by Sylvana to threaten her enemies.
Robot (???) – A remote controlled robot that looks like a modified diving suit with a stove grill in the front of it. Controlled by the Mad Scientist Guy using a remote in his cane. Uses it to kill the enemies of his group, and also as a wrestling opponent in a bid to kill off Ricardo.
Mad Scientist Guy (???) – One of Sylvana’s goons who controls the Robot that kills people and wrestles. Takes great joy in seeing his creating destroy the living both inside and outside the ring. Forgot to use circuit breakers, proving he really is mad. Meets a shocking end. I am not sure who played him.

Cazadores de Espías
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

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Return of Mr. Superman (Review)

Return of Mr. Superman

Return of Mr. Superman
1960
Written and directed by Manmohan Sabir
Return of Mr. Superman
In 1960, India would release not just one, but two movies featuring the American super hero Superman. Neither film was authorized by DC Comics, and both films starred famed actor P. Jairaj as Superman. Yet weirdly enough, the two films were produced by competing production companies. Both films were originally going to be called Superman, but producers from Mukul Pictures wrote a letter to Manmohan Films (ran by writer/director Manmohan Sabir), which resulted in Manmohan changing the name of their production to Return of Mr. Superman. At least, that’s how the story goes, though the oft-repeated story doesn’t seem to have an actual origin beyond people repeating it. The 1960 Superman film is not available to watch, though some songs from the soundtrack still exist. The only listings I have seen of out of print VCDs or VHS tapes all seem to be about Return of Mr. Superman, so the chances of actually locating the missing Indian Superman film might be a lot closer to zero than I want. If the past few years of lost films arising from the ashes has taught me one thing, it’s to never give up hope. Superman may still be out there, but until he returns to Earth, let’s make do with Return of Mr. Superman!

India would return to Superman a few more times. There is a well-known Hindi version of Superman that has become a common grey-market trading item. There is also a Telugu-language Superman film starring NTR called Superman, which we’ve covered before. Superman’s costume has appeared in musical numbers as well. Let us not forget about the documentary Supermen of Malegaon, which covered the making of a micro-budget Superman bootleg film. Nor is India alone in their bootleg Supermen, he’s popped up in films from Turkey, Bangladesh, and Italy, with suspiciously similar characters appearing in dozens of films from many origins. Superman just has that universal appeal that everyone strives for.
Return of Mr. Superman
Superman here isn’t the classic Superman costume we all know and love (nor is it the awful red and blue costumes from that forgetable story arc) Superman (or Mr. Superman if you’re nasty) looks like Commando Cody, complete with a crazy space goggles, mask, and cap over his head. He’s got a jumpsuit and a big cape, but still manages to not look like any other incarnation of the hero. My favorite aspect isn’t the goggles, but is his face mask that still has a hole cut for the mouth so he can smugly grin at his opponents as they land punch after useless punch against his chest, before he defeats them by lightly tossing them aside.

Superman gets involved in a complicated smuggling plot, dealing with criminals who continue to operate despite some super-powered guy running around foiling all their plans. It’s not a real mystery as to why that is, the cops in the film are so incompetent at catching these criminals that they often don’t catch them despite Superman phoning them with specific instructions. The only one with any competence is the guy who keeps answering Superman’s calls, and the cops only get effective when he’s leading them in the final battle.

Despite the print being in relatively good condition for a 1960 Indian film, there are obviously some missing segments. At one point two women are captured and Superman goes to attack the villains, but there is no actual rescue of the women. In addition, the main villain who sports a beret suddenly has a black eye for reasons unknown, possibly due to said missing rescue. Another thin is the sudden appearance of a Random Hero Dog, who may not be so random if he is from another part of the film, but as that part does not seem to have made it to the VCD releases, who knows. Finally, Helen is featured in the credits, but does not appear in the film as far as I could determine. She is also listed in the credits for the other 1960 Superman film, so maybe something shady was going on, or maybe her big number has been lost to the sands of time.
Return of Mr. Superman
As interesting as this movie sounds, it’s actually pretty close to terrible serials in quality. The chunks missing probably help the pacing a bit, though it looks like a few of those sequences were action parts, so maybe not. Definitely something to seek out for fans of obscure stuff, but Return of Mr. Superman isn’t going to make anyone’s bootleg super hero movie must-see list. It’s interesting for the obvious serial influences, but if you aren’t a fan of serials, you will get really annoyed really quickly.

As this film is obscure as heck, please enjoy the overly long film synopsis review. And there are no subtitles for Return of Mr. Superman, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

P. Jairaj was a Bollywood actor who dated back to the silent era, his first film being 1929’s Jagmugti Jawani. Born Paidypathy Jairula Naidu, Jairaj was the son of an accountant in a well-to-do family in Hyderabad which set up a life for him to follow, but Jairaj dropped out of college to find his own fortune in Bombay. A friend who worked for Mahavir Photoplays figured he would make a good screen actor, and gave him a supporting role. This was quickly followed by the lead in 1930’s Raseeli Rani, and a string of films followed. When sound was introduced to Indian film, Jairaj had an advantage of speaking Hindi and Urdu (Jairaj also spoke Telugu, but I don’t believe he starred in any Telugu language pictures), but had the disadvantage of not being able to sing. Luckily, the playback system saved his bacon, and he continued being an in-demand lead actor through the 1950s. By the 1960s, his star had faded a bit, and he was relegated to character roles, though managing appearances in classic cinema like Sholay, Toofan, and Don. Through the 1980s and 90s he made less and less frequent appearances. He died in relative obscurity in 2000. Jairaj had some directorial credits, was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980, and is even in the Guinness World Records for having the longest-spanning career of an actor at 70 years.
Return of Mr. Superman
Sheila Ramani was a swinging leading lady in the 1950s, her best known role might be in 1954’s Taxi Driver. She was the niece of Pakistani producer Sheikh Latif (Lachchu), who not only got her some roles in Indian cinema, but some Pakistani films as well (such as Anokhi (1956)). By the end of the 50s, her star was on decline and she appeared in B pictures such as this one and 1959’s Tarzan-inspired Jungle King. She retired from film after getting married.

Filling the supporting/comic relief role here is Majnu. He was born Harold Lewis, a Punjabi actor who debuted in 1935’s Majnu, an action comedy that satirized the story of Layla and Majnun (and provided him with the nickname he’s use for the rest of his career!) Though he started in lead roles, he did a lot of supporting/comedic roles through his long career.
Return of Mr. Superman
So here’s the full scale Roll Call:

Jaikumar R. Dayal (P. Jairaj) – A mild-mannered reporter at the newspaper Azad Desh, Jaikumar uses his super powers to listen for crimes, then beats up the criminals, calls the cops, and writes stories about the crimes.
Mr. Superman (P. Jairaj) – Mr. Superman aka Superman who cosplays as Commando Cody fights villains and stands and grins at his opponents as they inflict zero damage on him. The only way to beat Mr. Superman is to damage his reputation, which he then fights by punching even harder.
Usha (Sheila Ramani) – Usha types up a lot at Azad Desh, and is possibly also a reporter, as she seems to go out and investigate stuff. Maybe she gets two paychecks this way! Or, more likely, it’s just assumed that women do all the typing in 1960.
Johnny Braganza (Majnu) – Jaikumar’s best buddy guy, sort of like Jimmy Olson. He’s dating Stella but always hitting on typist Shammi.
Stella (Naazi) – Johnny’s girlfriend, which occasionally gets her in trouble when Johnny and Jaikumar make enemies and she gets kidnapped. Naazi generally appeared in supporting roles in B-level pictures, including the Dara Singh Hercules (1964). Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much more about her online (unless she is also the actress Naaz?), and Google keeps thinking I mean “Nazi”, which means I’m now on a bunch of lists.
Typist (Shammi) – Shammi has a small role as a typist at the Azad Desh office, where she usually has to put up with Johnny Braganza hitting on her all day. This is especially alarming, because nowadays she’d win a million dollar lawsuit and own the Azad Desh. All hail Boss Shammi! Shammi started work in film in 1949 while she was still working at a pharmaceutical company. Taking a large variety of roles, from comedic to supporting to vamp to mythological, it’s said her willingness to take any part cost her big budget starring roles, but Shammi wanted to work more than anything else.
Inspector Dilip Desai (Ram Mohan) – The cop who does nothing but investigate tips sent in by Superman all day. Which works out pretty well, until the fake Superman starts robbing people. Then he teams up with the real Superman to finally bust the bad guys he keeps missing by a few minutes.
Boss (David) – The boss at the Azad Desh newspaper. Somehow puts up with Jaikumar and Johnny. David Abraham Cheulkar was a popular character actor from the 40s through the 70s. He died of a heart attack in 1981.
The Villain (Jagdish Kanwal) – The beret-wearing villain is played by Jagdish Kanwal. He’s the leader of the smuggling gang, and mastermind of all the evil things going on. Which means he spends the entire film getting foiled again and again before he’s finally defeated. Try not to be a loser next time, villain guy!
Shashi (Heera Sawant) – The bad girl who is part of the evil gang, and tries to kill Superman in between her seductive dancing for the members of the gang (which drives the members mad with fits!) Heera Sawant had a career as a featured dancer in many Indian B pictures.
Fake Superman (???) – It is a mystery who this could be! (Not really!)
Ram Dayal (???) – A local nice guy farmer who finds the alien baby child and raises him as his own son, Jaikumar. Raises his son almost too honest.
Random Hero Dog (???) – In the greatest sequence ever filmed, the exciting conclusion of Return of Mr. Superman features a random brave heroic dog who fights the villains. Where does he come from? Who is he? Questions you will ask forever, because the film doesn’t bother to tell us! Just enjoy the Random Hero Dog, and try to live your life as good as him/her.

Return of Mr. Superman
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1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

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