Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
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FLYING THROUGH NEW DANGER THIS SUMMER
- Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder.
- Madam secretary. Honorable delegates. Ladies and gentlemen. For many years now, I've lived among you as a visitor. I've seen the beauty of your many cultures. I've felt great joy in your magnificent accomplishments. And I have also seen the folly of your wars. As of today, I'm not a visitor anymore, because the Earth is my home too. We can't live in fear, and I can't stand by and watch as we stumble into madness of possible nuclear destruction. And so I've come to a decision. I'm going to do what our governments have been unwilling or unable to do. Effective immediately, I'm going to rid our planet of all nuclear weapons.
- Once more, we have survived the threat of war and found a fragile peace. I thought I could give you all the gift of the freedom from war, but I was wrong. It's not mine to give. We're still a young planet. There are galaxies out there. Other civilizations for us to meet and to learn from. What a brilliant future we could have. And there will be peace – there will be peace when the people of this world want it so badly that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them. I just wish you could all see the Earth the way that I see it. Because when you really look at it, it's just one world.
- [to Clark Kent, about Superman] Well, if he can't manage and if he really is in trouble, then there's, uh, there's a few things I'd like to tell him. I'd tell him that I will always cherish the time we spent together. And I never expected anything in return and no matter how few minutes I saw him for, it always made me happy. And I would tell him, that I love him. And that I'll always love him. And that whatever happens to the world, I, I know that he's doing his best to make sure it'll be all right for the rest of us.
- Lenny, I've always considered you the Dutch Elm disease in my family tree.
- Lenny, let's try and keep your IQ a family secret.
- [to Lenny] He gets his energy from the sun. Without it, he's like you at night - useless.
- [to Superman] This is my nephew Lenny. He worships me.
- [to Superman] You know, you're a work-o-holic. Don't you ever stop, smell the roses, huh?
- [repeated line] Destroy Superman!
- Perry White: You're late, Kent.
- Clark Kent: I'm sorry, Mr. White. It won't happen again.
- Perry White: Ha!
- Lex Luthor: You know what I can do with a single strand of Superman's hair?
- Lenny: You can make a toupee that flies!
- Clark Kent: Lois?
- Lois Lane: There you are? What happened?
- Clark Kent: What happened? What do ya - what do you mean, "what happened?"
- Lois Lane: Oh, nothing, nothing. Just uh meet me at the lobby at six o'clock for the press awards dinner, wear something really nice, and don't be late. [Clark sighs] You must have been talking about some other Lois? Huh?
- Clark Kent: Lois, I'm sorry. I completely forgot.
- Lois Lane: Okay. Go get your penguin suit on, and we'll go.
- Clark Kent: No, I'd-I'd rather not, if you don't mind. I got a lot of thinking to do. But, um, you go ahead, okay. [Clark walks over to an armchair and sits]
- Lois Lane: Clark? [she takes off her coat] Something's wrong, isn't there? [she sits down in another armchair. She puts her hand on Clark's] Is there anything I can do?
- Clark Kent [nods his head]: Yes, you can . . . as a matter of fact, heh.
- Lois Lane: What?
- Clark Kent [points outside]: Could we go get some fresh air?
- Lois Lane: Fresh air? [to herself] Fresh air. [to Clark] Fresh air! Sure! [she pats Clark's leg] Sure, Clark!
- Clark Kent: Okay. [the two get up and head for the balcony, arm in arm]
- Lois Lane: Sure, huh!
- Clark Kent: C'mon.
- Lois Lane: Who needs a driver chicken sandwich pieces anyway, right? Let's go! C'mon! Let's get some fresh air! [Clark opens the doors to the balcony, and the two walk out] Breathe, breathe, breathe! [the two keep walking] Breathe! Don't you feel better? [Clark keeps walking, pulling Lois along] Clark? [Clark walks onto the balcony edge, pulling Lois along] Clark?! [Lois grabs his arm] Clark, things aren't that bad! [Clark keeps walking, pulling Lois along] Clark, stop! [Clark walks off the balcony, with Lois falling with him] Ahh! [Clark lets go of her hand and falls ahead] Clark! Clark! Clark! [Superman arrives, wearing Clark's glasses, and catches Lois. Lois wraps her arms around Superman and smiles. She then sees that Superman is wearing Clark's glasses, surprising her] Clark? [she takes off Clark's glasses and puts them on the belt of her dress. She sighs erotically] Superman!
- Superman: How'd you like going solo?
- Lois Lane: I loved it . . . Not as much as being with you.
- Superman: I need to be with you too. You make me laugh. You're the only one I can talk to, Lois. See, sometimes, I don't know what I'm supposed to do.
- Lois Lane: I'm always here for you, you know that. And you'll do the right thing, no matter what it is, you always have.
- Superman: Thank you. You know something?
- Lois Lane: What?
- Superman: You don't even know my name.
- Lois Lane: Kal-El.
- Superman: You remember, don't you? [she nods]
- Lois Lane: I remember everything.
- Superman: "Never set one of them above the rest. Love all humanity instead." [he shakes his head and sighs] It's not fair. [He gives her a long, passionate kiss. As he lifts his head away from her face, Lois's eyes are closed, her head falls back, and her shoulders relax. She is in a trance-like state. Superman takes his glasses off her dress. She is bobbling back and forth. Superman walks back into his apartment and goes to his room. Clark comes out wearing a suit and puts on his glasses. He takes Lois's coat and purse on the armchair and walks to the door leading to the balcony]
- Clark Kent: Lois. [Lois is still in a trance-like state. When he calls her name, she starts to awaken] Uh Lois, it's time to go. We'll be late. [Lois swings her head sexily towards Clark. She turns her head around uncertainly]
- Lois Lane [dazed]: Huh? [she shivers] What am I doing out here freezing my butt off? Oh [she points her finger stupidly at Clark], you wanted some fresh air! [she walks to Clark, and he helps her put on her coat and gives her her purse]
- Clark Kent: Oh no, that's okay. I don't want to catch a cold. Here you go.
- Lois Lane: God!
- Clark Kent: Shall we go?
- Lois Lane: I feel kinda weird. I feel like I've jet lag or something like- [Lois and Clark start walking toward the door]
- Clark Kent: Jeepers!
- Lois Lane: Am I gonna go crazy? [The two stop at the door, and Lois looks at Clark] How about you? Are you still down?
- Clark Kent: Nope. Things are pretty clear, really.
- Lois Lane: Good! [Lois places her hands on Clark's arms] Too much thinking wears down your batteries. [She winks. She walks to the door and turns around, pointing the hand with her purse at Clark, the other grabbing the doorknob] Clark! You gotta go with your gut!
- Clark Kent: Hm? [Lois opens the door]
- Lois Lane: C'mon! [She walks out, the door slightly closing behind her]
- Clark Kent [nodding]: Uh huh. [Clark grabs the door before it closes, opens it, walks out, and closes the door]
- Lacy Warfield: You can't park here! You'll get towed! Lois, do you have any idea how much a ticket's gonna cost here?
- Lois Lane: Lacy, it's only money!
- Superman: Madam Chairman, I don't represent any one particular country, but I'd like to address the delegates.
- U.N. Chairwoman: Well, in that case, you will need a sponsor. [all delegates raise their hands] I believe that will do. Please.
- [before Superman's speach to the U.N.]
- Lacy Warfield: What's he going to say?
- Lois Lane: Something wonderful.
- Superman: You'd risk world wide nuclear war for your own personal financial gain.
- Lex Luthor: Nobody wants war. I just want to keep the threat alive
- [Superman and Nuclear Man confront each other in downtown Metropolis]
- Nuclear Man: Where is the woman?
- Superman: Give it up, you'll never find her.
- Nuclear Man: If you will not tell me, I will hurt people!
- Superman: Stop! Don't do it, the people!
- Lex Luthor: Is the world gonna be vaporized?
- Superman: No. It's the same as it's always been, Luthor. On the brink. With good fighting evil. See you in twenty.
- FLYING THROUGH NEW DANGER THIS SUMMER
- Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman's greatest battle. And it is for all of us.
About Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
- The movie does not do justice to the script at all. The script was actually pretty clever. The script was basically that a kid asks Superman to get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world, saying, ‘You’re Superman! Why can’t you do it?’ That was a much bigger part of it than a lot of the really dumb Nuclear Man stuff that ended up being used. It ended up with Superman basically deciding that’s something Earthlings are going to have to do for themselves, which I thought was an important message at the time. When I finally did see the movie, every frame of it hurt me physically. [Laughs.] I’d had such high hopes for it that… To feel like you’re a part of the downfall of something that you had hoped to resurrect, that’s a tough thing to take.
- John Cryer as quoted in "‘Superman IV’ Was A Disaster From The Start, According To Co-Star Jon Cryer" by BAADASSSSS!, Geeks of Doom, (May 14th, 2013).
- Gene showed up to set and I told him what to do, where to look and all that. He had to do this whole speech about the "primeval swamp" or something like that. So, he asked me where the primeval swamp was, and I told him that we'd have to shoot it later, but for now, he would just look offscreen. So he erupted, "You call yourself a director? How am I supposed to play this scene without seeing the primeval swamp?" And I just said, "Well, Gene, you're an actor. Isn't that what actors do? This is not Shakespeare. If anyone can fake it well, you can." And it wasn't quite the same after that, to be honest.
- This film's social conscience, which fortunately is presented with a minimum of self-righteousness, also leads Superman to the United Nations, where he makes a speech and promises to rid the world of nuclear weapons. He is then seen gathering missiles into a gigantic mesh shopping bag, spinning it around and flinging it into the sun, where it explodes. The Superman series gets more and more whimsically outrageous as it goes along.
The cast wears costumes that are swanky but very strange, and the dialogue is also unexpectedly funny at times, as when Luthor pronounces Superman a workaholic and advises him to stop and smell the roses. There's also a new character, a solar-powered blond titan (Mark Pillow) created by Luthor as a rival for Superman, to keep the action moving. Threadbare as it's beginning to look, the Superman series hasn't lost its raison d'etre. There's life in the old boy yet.
- We were also hampered by budget constraints and cutbacks in all departments. Cannon Films had nearly thirty projects in the works at the time, and Superman IV received no special consideration. For example, Konner and Rosenthal wrote a scene in which Superman lands on 42nd Street and walks down the double yellow lines to the United Nations, where he gives a speech. If that had been a scene in Superman I, we would actually have shot it on 42nd Street. Richard Donner would have choreographed hundreds of pedestrians and vehicles and cut to people gawking out of office windows at the sight of Superman walking down the street like the Pied Piper. Instead, we had to shoot at an industrial park in England in the rain with about a hundred extras, not a car in sight, and a dozen pigeons thrown in for atmosphere. Even if the story had been brilliant, I don't think that we could ever have lived up to the audience's expectations with this approach.
- The story, which Christopher Reeve dreamed up in an attempt to make "Superman" more socially relevant, finds the man of steel persuading the leaders of the world to surrender their nuclear missiles and detonate them in deep space.
But there is something our hero does not realise: Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and his gormless nephew Lenny (Jon Cryer) have planted a fiendish device inside the weapons that, when detonated, creates an indestructible android programmed to wreak havoc on Earth.
The ensuing battle between Reeve and Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow) is desperate stuff, involving the destruction of the Great Wall of China, and Superman coming to the rescue of a runaway subway train (unconvincingly shot on the London Underground). The rest is scarcely better and makes no sense, probably because over half an hour of material ended up on the cutting room floor. A sorry finale for a much-loved series.
- Niel Smith, "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)", BBC, (updated 9/12/2001).
- Christpher Reeve - Superman / Clark Kent
- Margot Kidder - Lois Lane
- Gene Hackman - Lex Luthor / Nuclear Man (voice)
- Jackie Cooper - Perry White
- Jon Cryer - Lenny Luthor
- Mark Pillow - Nuclear Man
- Mariel Hemingway - Lacy Warfield