Accessibility links

Movie Review: 'Hollywoodland' Looks at Death of Actor Who Played 'Superman' on TV


The mystery drama "Hollywoodland" is in American theaters. Alan Coulter, director of legendary TV series such as 'Sopranos,' 'Six Feet Under' and 'Sex and the City' explores the death of 1950s actor George Reeves -- the star of the TV series "The Adventures of Superman." VOA's Penelope Poulou has a review.

A web of mystery surrounds the death of George Reeves. The actor who rose to fame with the hit TV show "The Adventures of Superman" seems to have committed suicide. But appearances can be deceiving.

Private investigator Louis Simo gets hired by Reeves' mother to uncover the truth about her son's death.

The story unfolds on two timelines. One recounts Reeves' life leading up to his untimely end. The other follows detective Simo after the actor's death. Simo is an unsavory character who tries to keep the Reeves case open to get his name in the newspapers.

The more Simo investigates Reeves' life and death, the more he realizes that the actor was on a slippery slide, both personally and professionally. Tragedy abounds behind the actor's glamorous life. Reeves had been typecast as Superman and could not get another acting job.

In his effort to redefine himself, he leaves his nurturing older lover for a ditsy starlet who could have killed him. The deeper Simo digs into Reeves's psyche the more he empathizes with the TV star. Because, like him, the private eye is grappling with personal failure and disappointment.

With "Hollywoodland," director Alan Coulter pays homage to film noir [a type of highly stylish crime film featuring malevolent characters, shot in black and white.] Coulter, who is no stranger to sinister plots and shady personalities, creates a wonderful character drama accentuated by a superb cast.

Oscar winner Adrien Brody offers a sexy, charged and complex interpretation of Louis Simo. Academy Award winner .

British actor Bob Hoskins transforms himself into the ominous and street-smart MGM studios manager Eddie Mannix.

Alan Coulter says his fictionalized drama "Hollywoodland" does not offer answers to one of Tinseltown's greatest unsolved mysteries. "The debate goes on. There is no definitive answer about what happened on the night of June 16th, 1959."

But this in no way diminishes the edginess of the film. Director Coulter shows there may be many sides to a crime and many facets of the human soul.

XS
SM
MD
LG