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Superman: Ultimate Collectors Edition DVD Set!!! And I mean ultimate.

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Guest sith lord

Special Edition Superman DVDs on the way.

By Barry M. Freiman

This is no fantasy.

The www.Supermanhomepage.com has learned exclusive details regarding Time Warner's work on new DVDs of the five Superman films released between 1978 and 1987. Ilya Salkind, who co-produced the first three Superman films and Supergirl and the Superboy TV series, confirmed that he is indeed working with Micheal Thau, the producer and Restoration Supervisor on the 2001 Special Edition of Superman: The Movie, and others Who've been retained by Time Warner to produce new versions of the original Superman films (and Supergirl) for DVD release in conjuction with marketing plans for 2006's Superman Returns.

"The five DVDs are coming out," Salkind said in a recent telephone interveiw. Along with his late father, Alaxander, and childhood friend, Pierre Spengler, Salkind produced the original Superman films (all except 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Piece" produced by the Canon Group in a one-shot film deal they had with the Salkinds).

Salkind is working with Time Warner on the DVDs. According to Salkind, Time Warner now owns all of the footage shot for 1978's Superman, 1980's Superman II, 1983's Superman III, 1984's Supergirl, and 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Piece, including distribution rights. This is consistant with last years announcement by director Bryan Singer that he had purchased rights to all of the footage shot for Superman 1 and 2 so that he could incorporate the voice of Marlon Brando's Jor-El (Superman's biological father) into the upcoming Superman Returns. A recent teaser trailor for the new film used both Brando's voice and the original musical score by John Williams to connect the new film with the original franchise rather than attempt to supplant it.

According to Salkind, "I'm in touch with Micheal Thau and I'm also in touch with another guy who does the documentaries and DVD special features." Thau declined to comment and referred all inquiries to Warner Home Video.

Salkind plans to do documentaries of Superman I, II, and III. In addition, Salkind would like to do a commentary on Supergirl, and this time hopefully Helen Sleter will do it... "Time Warner has aquired all distribution rights to Supergirl" from Anchor Bay, according to Salkind, and plans to release that film along with the four Superman movies.

While Superman IV: The Quest for Piece was not a Salkind production (Salkind and his father have a credit for initiating the Superman film series in Superman IV), Salkind believes Time Warner owns that film's footage as well and is in touch with director Sydney Furie.

The biggest revelation of the interview concerns plans for Superman II. Scenes shot by fired director Richard Donner (who directed Superman: The Movie), including all of Brando's work for the second film, may finally see the light of day. "There will be a Donner cut of Superman II from what I hear," Salkind said. "There will apparently be an original cut with the original music more stuff." Whether the extra footage will be presented as an alternative version of the film or included as a supplement has not yet been determined.

Actor Jack O' Halloran, who played mute super-villian Non in Superman and Superman II confirmed that Time Warner interviewed him about his work on both films. Like Salkind, O'Halloran believes there will be a Donner version of Superman II. "I understand they [Time Warner] are letting Donner do his cut of Superman II," O'Halloran said. "We spoke a lot about Donner, whom I like a lot."

The theatrical version of Superman II that Richard Lester directed will also receive special treatment on the new DVD. Though Lester- who also directed Superman III- has steadfastly refused to give interviews about his work on the Superman movies over the year, Salkind believes that "Lester might make an interview" he said. "Apparently Pierre convinced him to consider it," Salkind explained.

Virtually all films have footage that ends up on the cutting room floor and the five Superman films are no different. Before DVD technology gave life to deleted scenes as supplemental material, it was impossible to see what didn't make it to the theater screen unless you had connections in the movie industry. The Superman films are slightly different.

When ABC-TV aired the television version of Superman: The Movie in 1980, they split the film into two parts and added over 30 minutes of footage not seen in theaters. A syndicated version of the film aired in Los Angelas and Washington D.C. in the 1990's that included most of this added footage and two additional scenes never seen before, including an entirely original scene featuring one of the few bits of dialogue between Chrisopher Reeve's Superman and Brando's Jor-El.

A special edition DVD of Superman: The Movie was released in 2001 with eight minutes of footage added back to the film. It is unclear which version of the film will end up on the new DVD. Salkind not participate in the preparation of the 2001 DVD.

ABC-TV aired Superman II in 1984 and again in 1985 with almost 20 minutes of previously unseen footage. None of Brando's footage was included in that cut of the film. Brando died in 2004.

Superman III and Supergirl likewise had their debut television airings with added footage not seen in theaters.

The Superman homepage will publish a full length interview with Ilya Salkind in the next few weeks.

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