Spider-Man (1977 film)
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|Directed by||E. W. Swackhamer|
|Written by||Alvin Boretz|
|Produced by||Charles W. Fries|
Daniel R. Goodman
Edward J. Montagne
|Cinematography||Fred Jackman, Jr.|
|Edited by||Aaron Stell|
|Music by||Johnnie Spence|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures Television|
|Box office||$9 million|
Spider-Man is a 1977 American made-for-television superhero film that aired on CBS and had a theatrical release outside the US, which serves as the pilot to the 1978 television series titled The Amazing Spider-Man. It was directed by E. W. Swackhamer, written by Alvin Boretz and stars Nicholas Hammond as the titular character, David White, Michael Pataki, Jeff Donnell and Thayer David.
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Peter Parker (Nicholas Hammond), a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle, is bitten by a radioactive spider and discovers he has gained superpowers, such as super-strength, agility and the ability to climb sheer walls and ceilings. When a mysterious Guru (Thayer David) places people under mind-control - including a doctor and lawyer - to rob banks, Peter becomes the costumed hero Spider-Man to stop the crook's fiendish scheme. The Guru then announces that he will hypnotize ten New Yorkers, chosen at random, into committing suicide unless the city pays him $50 million, which becomes a Daily Bugle headline "Are You One of the Ten People?". The situation becomes even worse when Peter Parker is with his friend Judy, and by happenstance both of them are cornered by the Guru's men and hypnotized into being two of the people to defenstrate themselves from the Empire State Building by week's end. With some luck, Peter is able to break free of the hypnosis and then stop the Guru in his tracks.
- Nicholas Hammond – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- David White – J. Jonah Jameson
- Michael Pataki – Captain Barbera
- Hilly Hicks – Joe "Robbie" Robertson
- Lisa Eilbacher – Judy Tyler
- Jeff Donnell – May Parker
- Robert Hastings – Monahan
- Ivor Francis – Professor Noah Tyler
- Thayer David – Edward Byron
The sequence in which Spider-Man crawls across an office ceiling and jumps to the wall was accomplished using a complex set of rigging and cables hidden in tracks in the ceiling. Stunt grips lifted stuntman/stunt coordinator Fred Waugh to the ceiling, and he then scuttled down the hallway using a slider track while the wire pressure pulled him upwards. The scene in which Spider-Man swings from building-to-building was extremely expensive and dangerous, and required two days of rigging; to avoid having to repeat this, the stunt was filmed from multiple camera angles to create extra footage which could be used in future episodes of the TV series.
Release and reception
The film premiered on CBS on September 14, 1977. It received a 17.8 rating with a 30 share, making it the highest performing CBS production for the entire year. Overseas, the film was theatrically released and distributed by Columbia Pictures. In the UK particularly, Spider-Man received both a standalone release and a reissue as the first film in a double-bill with Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. It received a VHS / Laserdisc release as a straight-to-video film in 1980.
Spider-Man Strikes Back, a composite of the two-parter episode "Deadly Dust" of the contemporary television show The Amazing Spider-Man, screened in European theatres on 21 December 1978. After that a second sequel named Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge was also made and released in Europe and Australia.
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