There’ve been a lot of adaptations of Marvel’s Spider-Man over the years, particularly in live-action. One that you might not know about released in 1973, and because it’s turning 50 years old in November, a new documentary is aiming to shed some light on the cult film.
Film historian Ed Glaser, who previously found the last 35mm print of The Man Who Saves the World (aka, “the Turkish Star Wars”) has released another mini-documentary for his “Deja View” series. This one focuses on the interestingly named 3 Dev Adam—alternatively known as either 3 Giant Men or Captain America & Santo vs. Spider-Man. The big claim to fame for this movie is that it’s “the world’s first comic book crossover film,” well before the MCU or any imitators came onto the scene. Its other big boast is that its version of Spider-Man lives up to everything J. Jonah Jameson’s ever said about him, because he’s a menace and genuine villain who requires two heroes to team up and bring him down.
As Glaser explains in his video, movies starring costumed heroes were big in Turkey back in the 1960s and 70s, which was helped by lax copyright protections for foreign works back then. In an effort to get in on that, director T. Fikret Uçak decided to bring multiple heroes together in one movie for audiences to see. While Captain America (played here by Aytekin Akkaya) and Spider-Man (Tevfik Şen) need no introduction, El Santo (Yavuz Selekman) may be another matter entirely: the character was a real-life masked luchador named Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, who first entered the movie scene in 1958. By 1982, he’d starred in over 50 movies. All three of the characters had varying levels of popularity in Turkey back then, so you can see the appeal in a crossover film where they share the spotlight.
The six-and-a-half minute documentary is a very fascinating watch, and goes to show how comic book adaptations are affected by factors beyond a creator’s knowledge of a particular character. From Glaser’s account of things, and with scenes from the movie shown in HD, it looks and sounds delightfully bonkers and imaginative in how it uses the three heroes. And if this sounds interesting to you, good news—you can watch it right here, albeit in 360p.
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