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Superman: The Fleischer Cartoons: The Complete Series (2009)

Jackson Beck , Dave Fleischer  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

List Price: $26.99
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Superman: The Fleischer Cartoons: The Complete Series + Ruby-Spears Superman + The New Adventures of Superman: 1966 - 1970
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jackson Beck
  • Directors: Dave Fleischer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001OD8E4G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,703 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • 17 animated theatrical shorts
  • First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series: the origins and influence of this groundbreaking cartoon series
  • The Man, the Myth, Superman: exploring the tradition of "superhuman" heroes on the page and screen
  • Exclusive sneak peek at DC Universe's upcoming animated feature Green Lantern

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Max Fleischer's Superman (DVD)

More than just a landmark in superhero animation, Max Fleischer's Superman shorts were no less than the foundation for so many shows that succeeded it. Playing in theaters in 1941-42, only a few years after the Man of Steel made his debut in Action Comics, these 17 exciting films were produced by Fleischer (and often directed by his brother, Dave) and made famous the phrase "This looks like a job for Superman!" At 10 minutes, each film had just enough time to run the opening credits, establish the threat, let Lois Lane make a headstrong rush into peril, and allow Clark Kent to change to his alter ego and save the day. The films show a remarkably dynamic and atmospheric storytelling style that enables them to hold up for modern viewers. At first the films followed a science fiction-fantasy theme (mad scientists, giant robots), but not unexpectedly for that time soon focused on wartime concerns (e.g., "The Japoteurs" from September 18, 1942).

These cartoons have been in the public domain and thus available in inexpensive, poor-quality collections. This 2009 set from Warner Home Video is reproduced from the original film elements, and while some source damage is still visible, the improved color and clarity make previous versions nearly unwatchable. (These are the same remasterings that were released in the 2007 Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition.) Also, rather than cramming them onto a single disc, the shorts are given two discs, adding a featurette on Superman the hero and a 12-minute history of the Fleischer project, including interviews with Max's son and modern animators such as Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, who discuss the Fleischers' influence on the highly regarded Superman and Batman animated series from the 1990s. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearing Up The Confusion January 15, 2009
By S. R.
I will not spend any time discussing the animated genius of these classic cartoon shorts since anyone visiting this page undoubtedly knows that already. However, since there have been many video releases of the Fleischer Superman shorts over the years, I feel it is necessary to clarify what is being offered with this latest edition. Having been considered part of the public domain for decades, these shorts have been issued numerous times on VHS and DVD with varying degrees of quality. The most notable DVD releases have been The Complete Superman Cartoons- Diamond Anniversary Edition released in 2000 by Bosko Video (now Image Ent.), and the Superman- The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection released in 2006 by VCI Video. Later that same year, Warner Bros. officially released all 17 shorts as bonus material split up between the Superman The Movie and Superman II DVD sets, which were also included as part of the 14-disc Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition and the 8-disc Christopher Reeve Superman Collection. WB's offering was unique in that it was the fist time that the Fleischer Superman cartoons were "remastered from superior, original vault elements." The result was more vibrant colors, top notch audio, and minimal amounts of dust and debris. Read more ›
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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Actually 3 and a half stars April 10, 2009
Finally, Warner Home Video has issued an official stand-alone release of the theatrical Superman cartoons from the 1940's. While it is exciting to finally have this set, it is far from perfect, and therefore you really need to take some things into consideration before you purchase this set. The title alone shows just how much homework Warner Home Video had done. Max Fleischer only produced the first 9 Superman cartoons. The remaining 8 were produced by Famous Studios after Paramount had took control of the Fleischer studio and removed the Fleischer brothers Max and Dave. Also, Famous continued producing new Superman cartons into 1943 before they decided to quit production.

For starters, the project was started by the Max Fleischer studio, a cartoon studio that originated in New York (but later moved to Miami to produce feature films). The studio head was Max Fleischer, and his brother Dave was the lead director. The Fleischers were under contract to produce theatrical cartoons for Paramount Pictures. The Fleischers had success in the 1930's producing cartoons that starred characters like Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor, the latter of which was adapted from a newspaper comicstrip started by E.C. Segar. With the growing popularity of the Superman comicstrip, Paramount had interest in making theatrical cartoons based on the series. While cartoons of this era were typically musicals and/or comedies, the Superman comicstrip was action-based. Therefore, these Superman cartoons were the first action-based animated films ever produced. The Fleischer brothers were not interested in producing the Superman cartoons, and when they were approached by Paramount, they quoted a budget so high, they were certain that Paramount would reject it.
Read more ›
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warner Still Can't Get It Right! May 23, 2009
For an "authorized" release, "Max Fleischer's Superman" is a sloppy, lackadaisical effort. Animation aficionados have been waiting for a definitive collection of the 1941-43 Superman cartoons, yet Warner Home Video cannot be bothered. Apart from correcting the introduction to "The Mechanical Monsters," Warner simply reissued the same altered versions found in the special editions of "Superman" and "Superman II." Only two of the 17 cartoons were left unscathed: "The Arctic Giant" and "Electric Earthquake." Steven T. Siegert's excellent Amazon review touches on all the things wrong with this DVD set. However, the main problem lies in Warner's cynical, quick-buck attitude - they own the original film elements (which can be seen in their "TV's Best Adventures of Superman" videocassettes) yet refuse to give these animation classics the proper presentation and respect. Bosko's "Complete Superman Collection" remains superior because it offers the original theatrical versions without audio tampering. If Warner had any integrity, they would recall the DVD set and start from scratch.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Re-mastering? May 4, 2009
Here we go again folks! NONE of these animation masterpieces were re-mastered! Why lie on your box art???!!!
In fact, Warner's used the same generic musical closing on almost everyone of these cartoons!!!
Why is that wrong, you might be asking? Because, every one of these films had their own, unique musical closing cues at the fade out! Through their tinkering, now the same music over and over. It is obvious and annoying!
And on the image, If they took the time to clean up the frames one at a time like Disney does to their films, then we would have something to cherish. Instead, take a look at the dirt and debris left on MAGNETIC TELESCOPE for example! HORRIBLE!
If you already bought the Superman Collectors Set with all of the movies and these thrown in, you are better off not spending the extra dough.
O.k. Warner's, why not do this set right. Really re-master them and as a bonus, give us SUPER-RABBIT (Which you own!) STUPOR DUCK (Which you own) Popeye with Bluto as Superman in SHE SICK SAILORS (Which you own!) etc. etc.
Heck, contact me and I will give you more Superman parody cartoons that you could ad!
Save your hard earned cash Super-fans.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff!
Todays stuff is great but it is still sweet to be able to buy this older vintage supes!
Published 6 days ago by Bowman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 7 days ago by Dana Frustaci Zaccaro
4.0 out of 5 stars did a nice job on re mastering the shorts to were it ...
Warner Bros. did a nice job on re mastering the shorts to were it was when Paramount released it in the 40's and features are pretty good . My cons, is the sound is a bit dry
Published 1 month ago by Joshua
5.0 out of 5 stars This was excellent and should be seen by all Superman fans!
Very well done especially for the time period they were made - also considering these were made VERY close to the birth of the Superman myth they played a huge role in 'filling'... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David W. Nesbitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Cartoon Supes
The kids and I love these. Classic Fleischer Superman. They look great here, and while the stories are ultimately boilerplate (madman threatens Metropolis, "spunky gal"... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Hundley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Got these for my twin boys. They love them and I love that they are from the 1940s without all of the crude violence from today.
Published 4 months ago by Ange Albers
5.0 out of 5 stars Superman Popeye Coco the Clown they're all Super
Super because the have the Fleischer touch. Greatest cartoonist ever. Given the time and technology he didn't have to take a back seat to Disney or anybody for that matter. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Prerston Glazer
4.0 out of 5 stars Instant Classic Superman Cartoons.
I first saw these cartoon on Cartoon Network in 2012. I loved watching it &I have no regrets whatsoever. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rainet Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic 1940's versions of Superman
I wanted to introduce my 3/yo grandson to Superman, but not to the current scary versions. These episodes are hand drawn, short, and the stories are simple. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nugatorius
4.0 out of 5 stars Superman Discs' Review
The discs were free of scratches and the resolution was crisp and clear, unlike some of the other Supermans. Great buy.
Published 6 months ago by Z. Zarindast
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Topic From this Discussion
Warner is scaling back their releases in 2009 so we're lucky to even see this release. Maybe somewhere down the line we'll see a Blu-ray release with a full restoration, not the partial restoration of this set. The color correction looks nice but there is still too much noise and dirt.
Apr 8, 2009 by Rushead 2112-Hemispheres |  See all 2 posts
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