Superman and the Mole Men (1951) Review

Rating: 3 Stars

The following review contains spoilers.


Clark Kent and Lois Line fly out to a small town somewhere in the Western U.S. to write a story about the country’s deepest oil well, but they arrive to find the well has been shut down under mysterious circumstances. Kent later learns that the well is suspected of being radioactive. But though the well has stopped drilling, it’s too late: from the almost unimaginable depth of six-miles, which apparently is deep enough to reveal that the Earth has a hollow center, come the strange Mole Men.

What Superman and the Mole Men gets right about Superman that so many other adaptations get wrong is that Superman is most interesting when he’s fighting an idea. If you simply create a villain that punches really hard and get them into a fist fight there’s no real tension because Superman is invincible and will always punch harder. In this movie, Superman’s enemy is the hysterical lynch mob that the townspeople become when they learn about the Mole Men. The tension comes from wondering how he can resolve this issue without anyone getting hurt.

Best Parts:

I love how smug Superman is in this movie, and how blatantly he flaunts his secret identity. He literally says to Lois Lane: “I brought – I mean, Superman brought the Mole Man to the hospital.” and then looks at her smugly when she doesn’t get it. He literally goes around the corner as Clark Kent and comes right back as Superman, and continues the same conversation without anyone picking up on it.

“Since you can’t be trusted with guns, I’ll have to take them away.” Superman isn’t mad, he’s just… disappointed.

Worst Parts:

Even at only one-hour long, Superman and the Mole Men drags in the middle. The sequence where dogs are chasing one of the Mole Men through the desert seems to go on forever.

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