If any single director can encapsulate the popular image of Britain in the Swinging Sixties, then it is probably Richard Lester. With his use of flamboyant cinematic devices and liking for zany humour, he captured the vitality, and sometimes the triviality, of the period more vividly than any other director. This has been somewhat to the detriment of his later work which, whilst more conventional in style, has qualities which have been overshadowed by his fashionable earlier output.
Lester was born in Philadelphia, USA, on 19 January 1932. After graduating in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, he began his career in American television as a stagehand, rising to become a director at just 20. He left for Europe in 1954, settling in Britain in 1956.
His sympathy for anarchic comedy made him an ideal director for the television series A Show Called Fred (ITV, 1956), where he worked with Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. He teamed up with them again for… read more
Flawed as Lester's version may be, it still kicks Zack Snyder's ass. Admit it.
Bigger fan of the supposed sanctimony. Donner treated the character seriously while still being able to add more engaging and appropriate character based humor. Plus, even the attempts at non-humor related action feel cheap and staged. I'll at least give Lester the slack of being handed a crappy situation here. Superman III on the other hand...
There's a level of seriousness and grandiosity that should be in the character, absolutely. The screwball nature of the first two Superman flicks stands out to me the most and give it a feeling of humanity apart from the super-heroics. Plus the tonal separation btw Superman & Lester's Superman II, while it was created from a cynical place of needing enough footage to discredit Donner from the production, differentiate the films enough so they share the same narrative space without repeating each other, if that makes sense. I'm glad that the preference btw cuts exist, but both are flawed and intriguing enough to merit distinction.