- Superman II
- Year of Film
- Richard Lester | Richard Donner
- Origin of Film
- USA | UK
- Type of Poster
- Style of Poster
- Origin of Poster
- Year of Poster
- Tongdee Panumas
- Size (inches)
- 21 7/16" x 31"
- SS or DS
This is the original Thai poster for the release of Superman II, the sequel to 1978’s Superman the Movie. The artwork is partially based on the international one sheet painted by the American artist Dan Goozee (see here). Goozee’s artwork also appeared on the Japanese B2 poster. My belief is that the Thai artist, Tongdee Panumas, repainted the original artwork and then added new items to the montage.
Superman II is infamous for its troubled production which saw original director Richard Donner replaced part way through filming. The producers of the first film had decided to shoot the sequel at the same time. Donner had filmed multiple scenes, including those featuring Marlon Brando, but at a certain point a decision was made to pause filming the sequel to get the first film out of the door. Once Superman the Movie was released into cinemas, the production team returned to finish off the sequel. In the interim period, the producers had been sued by Brando for a slice of the first film’s profits so his filmed scenes were excised from the sequel.
Richard Lester, who was originally brought on as an uncredited line producer on the first film, was chosen to replace Donner. The latter had fallen out with the producer Pierre Spengler whilst filming the first movie and soon discovered that he wasn’t to be invited back to complete the sequel. Lester ended up refilming many of the scenes that Donner had completed but quite a lot of the latter’s work survived in the final cut, including scenes with Gene Hackman who was unable to return for the reshoots. Composer John Williams also had a scheduling conflict but he recommended Ken Thorne, a friend and fellow composer, to the production team.
The fairly simple storyline sees the villains teased at the start of the first film, Kryptonians General Zod (a memorable performance by Terence Stamp) and his two accomplices, escape from the Phantom Zone and descend to earth. There they cause havoc and eventually break into the White House, holding the president hostage. Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on holiday cementing their romantic relationship. Lois has become convinced that her boyfriend is in fact Superman in disguise. Lex Luthor has also managed to escape from prison and agrees a tentative deal with the Zod that he will help them find Superman in exchange for him being given Australia to rule. The stage is set for a showdown between the four Kryptonians at the Fortress of Solitude.
Despite the behind the scenes woes, the film is actually a very strong sequel and was critically acclaimed on release. The box-office receipts were also very healthy and led to an inevitable sequel 3 years later (it was even teased at the start of the credits for part II).
Tongdee’s artwork features several key scenes from the film and I particularly love the floating Superman head in the bottom right. Note that there’s a Trebor advert on the left side and this is common for Thai posters of the era. I believe that companies paid to have their brand associated with a film’s release (as is common practice today) and these logos would often make it onto the poster. Pepsi is one brand logo that often appears on Thai posters.
Tongdee was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.