LEMUR Sunday Night at the Movies

Back in 2003, Mark Millar perpetrated a fairly brilliant hoax on readers of his column over at CBR. Remembering this item the other day, I got to thinking about what different comic movies would look like if they came out in the era when the character first hit the scene. Who would have played Superman back in 1939 or ’40? Would Ray Harryhausen have done special effects for a 1960’s Green Lantern? The mental exercise here assumes that the studios would treat the movie as big budget instead of the B-movie fodder that was typical of comic book movies prior to 1977’s “Superman.”

Part of what originally spurred this idea was seeing Rod Taylor in “Time Machine” and thinking what a splendid Hal Jordan he would have made back in the 1960’s. After all, the 1960’s were all about space cowboys; a Green Lantern movie would have been an easy fit once the director got over the technical challenges. For my money, as serious scifi movie of that time should have been in the capable hands of Robert Wise (of “The Day the Earth Stood Still). His blend of drama, action, and science fiction are a perfect fit for a GL movie. As mentioned above, creating the verdant special effects would have been best handled by Ray Harryhausen. Costumes would naturally have been handled by the First Lady of Fabrics, Edith Head.

For Hal’s supporting cast and villain, the 1960’s were full of faces and actors that fit perfectly in these roles. For starters, every hero/ space cowboy needs a villain. For the most part, that spot has been taken by Sinestro. The calculating and elegant mind could best be expressed by David Niven (see the original “Pink Panther” or “Guns of Navarone”). In someways the conflict between Hal Jordan and Sinestro is the conflict between the brash and the refined. David Niven screams refined.


Next up is the love interest: Carol Ferris. In Carol, you need someone who is strong and forceful yet feminine; She’s Hal’s boss/ sometime girlfriend after all. It’s got to be someone who can wear the pants or the skirt equally well. For my money, no one wears pants like Patricia Neal. Look her up in “Operation Pacific” and see how she holds her own against John Wayne.

Finally there are the Guardians of the Universe. They’re allegedly modeled after David Ben-Gurion… minus the blue skin. Eli Wallach and Ernest Borgnine could handle the role of guardians quite well.

It would have been interesting to see a Green Lantern movie in the 1960’s. My guess is that it would have been more story driven than the computer generated orgasm that we will see next year. I do have hopes for next year’s movie all in all though.

2 comments on “LEMUR Sunday Night at the Movies

  1. Saint Walker says:

    That would have been a pretty awesome movie, I think. I do have a doubt about Harryhausen, though. While he was immensely talented and I think had the right idea in terms of special effects theory, Harryhausen to me says stop-motion puppetry, which I’m not sure would be the best for a Green Lantern movie. It’s entirely possible he could have pulled it off, but based on past movies, I would have picked the Forbidden Planet team to handle the effects. Well-handled cartoon overlays are pretty much what GL is all about, no?

    Rod Taylor’s a pretty good pick, I think. I probably would have just been lazy and gone with Newman.

    David Niven I’m not so sure about, either, though he’s got the look down pat, and I agree the class fits. Maybe my thoughts are a little heavily colored by his “Murder By Death” Thin Man impression, but I’m having a hard time picturing him portraying the serious type of evil I associate with Sinestro. Niven I’ve seen aloof and I’ve seen crazed, but I don’t remember seeing the take-charge utter disgust for weakness and chaos that I tend to picture in the purple guy. On the other hand, I’m having a hard time thinking of a better pick. I’d have to think about it for a while longer.

    Patricia Neal I’m not sure I’m familiar with, so I’ll just take your word on it.

    As for the upcoming affair, I’ve seen a couple previews, and I’m worried the fans were right in doubting Ryan Reynolds’s ability to accurately portray Hal Jordan other than physically. At any rate, I’m still psyched, and remain hopeful that it will at least be better-written than Batman and Robin and more crowd-pleasing than Superman Returns. Pull that off, and don’t have Hal generating a helicopter blade to fly around, and I’ll be happy.

  2. Jesse says:

    Every time I see the trailer for the new Green Lantern movie I catch myself wondering why Ben Stiller is in it.

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