SUPERGIRL (1984) – 24th April 2014, The Cuban, Harbourside

Bristol Bad Film Club is teaming up with What The Frock! to show Supergirl… the reason Wonder Woman is still waiting to have her own film.


In-between the disastrous Superman III and the god-awful Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind were still looking to wring as much cash as possible from their superhero franchise.

Their brilliant idea? A spin-off, starring Superman’s cousin – Supergirl!

Starring the likes of Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway and Peter Cook (all of whom were clearly strapped for cash), Supergirl attempted to replicate the success of the first Superman movie by surrounding the unknown lead with some famous faces. It didn’t work.

We know what you’re thinking: “But I love Supergirl! It was great when I was a kid!”

Yes, we grew up loving Supergirl as well, but you have to admit, it’s one of the most bizarre, cheap-looking and nonsensical superhero films ever made. Need proof? Just look at the opening scene.


It starts with Peter O’Toole (wearing a glorious sweater and clearly thinking about when Happy Hour begins), playing Argo City’s resident artist and eccentric Zaltar, stealing the city’s power source (which resembles a glowing Christmas ornament) in order to create a tree. Kara (aka Supergirl) then makes a dragonfly using Zaltar’s magic wand, which then ruptures Argo City’s ‘membrane’ (seriously, is this incredibly cheap-looking space city surrounded by skin thinner than clingfilm?!), prompting Kara to try and retrieve in it an inter-dimensional pod.

At least, that’s what we think it is. Details aren’t important in this film.

Cue some classic dialogue:

“What is a tree?”

“A lovely thing which grows on Earth.”

“Earth? You mean where my cousin went?”

“And to where one day soon perhaps I might venture as well.”

“I don’t believe you. How?”

“In that. Through there.” (We like to think this was improvised on O’Toole’s part because he couldn’t be bothered to spout the rubbish dialogue)

“The Binary Chute? But you could never survive the pressure. It would destroy you…”

Still, half-assed Peter O’Toole is still better than 90% of the world’s actors.

Which brings us to the rest of the cast.

Despite throwing money at some of the biggest stars at the time (Dolly Parton was offered $7 million to star as the villain, Dudley Moore $4 million to be her lackey), no one wanted to take part.

Not even Superman himself was interested in appearing in the film, with Christopher Reeve refusing to do a cameo, except as a poster.


The film went on to under-perform in every possible way. It has the lowest box office returns of any Superman film (just $14 million) and even got Peter O’Toole and Faye Dunaway nominated for two Razzie awards.

It is one reason DC Comics are so reluctant to put money into a female-led superhero film (Catwoman can also take a lot of the blame), but for that reason alone, it stands unique among the plethora of spandex-clad superhero films out there.

As well as the film, we will also have comedian Amy Howerska doing a comedy set beforehand. A movie AND a night of stand-up comedy?! Bristol… you are welcome.

When: 8.00pm, 24th April 2014

Location: The Cuban, Harbourside, BS1 5SZ

Tickets: £7 (in advance)/£8 (on the door) (all profits going to One25)

The Cuban is also offering food for the screening, so for £12 you can get your advance ticket PLUS one of the following:
Quesadillas (chilli beef / chicken / vegetarian);
Empanadas (chilli beef / chicken / vegetarian); or
Nachos (chilli beef / chorizo / plain cheese [vegetarian]).

Advance tickets no longer available. Tickets will be available on the door

On a desperate mission to save Earth, Supergirl (Slater), must retrieve a missing life-giving power source to save her home city from total destruction. Startled by her own amazing powers, Supergirl traces the lost Omegahedron only to discover that it has fallen into the hands of the rapacious Selena (Faye Dunaway) who unleashes untold horrors to thwart her young adversary.

“The tagline — “Her first great adventure.” — is wrong in at least three ways.” Christopher Null,

“Most delightful of the Super-series for its good-natured disregard of narrative considerations.” Geoff Andrew, Time Out

“The plain fact is that director Jeannot Szwarc turns in a movie so ludicrous and overblown that it skips right over any semblance of logic and into a self-absorbed flight of fancy.” Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid