Reading the Screen: Doc Savage

doc savage coverYou might not know this, but before he directed Iron Man 3 Shane Black was developing a Doc Savage movie. According to this story at the Hollywood Reporter, the movie is back on.

In case you’ve never met him, Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, is the pulp-fiction hero whose adventures were told, in the 1930s and ’40s, by Lester Dent and other writers (although they were credited to Kenneth Robeson, a house name of Street and Smith Publications). The stories, repackaged in book form, have been in and out of print — but mostly in — ever since.

A “biography” of the Man of Bronze, Doc Savage: His Apoclyptic Life by Philip Jose Farmer, was published in 1973. Horror in Gold, a new Doc Savage novel, was published in 2012, credited to Kenneth Robeson but written by Will Murray.

There has been a Doc Savage movie already, but it’s not especially good. 1975’s Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze starred, rather woodenly, Ron Ely as Savage, and was directed by Michael Anderson (who would later do the equally drab Logan’s Run, bur earlier did the much flashier Around the World in Eighty Days). Here’s the trailer, to give you a sense of the movie’s approach:

Let’s hope Black gives us something a bit less, um, cartoonish. The Doc Savage stories are, for want of a better term, techno-thrillers, borderline science fiction, fast-paced and exciting but meant to be taken seriously. No word yet on who Black will get to play the Man of Bronze, but it’s not easy casting. Here’s a thought:

The Doc (Clark Savage, Jr.)The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)


The Doc and The Rock…what do you think? And before you make a snap judgment, check out Get Smart, the Steve Carell movie, and pay close attention to Mr. Dwayne Johnson’s performance. Then come back and we’ll talk.



About the Author:

David Pitt lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to reviewing for Booklist, he writes a monthly column about paperback fiction and nonfiction for the Winnipeg Free Press. He has contributed to The Booklist Reader since 2010.

2 Comments on "Reading the Screen: Doc Savage"

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  1.' Prof Wexler says:

    Nope. Ol’ Dwayne doesnt pull off the “doctor” part of Doc Savage. Try Alex Skarsgard

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