Nov 042013
Superman 3 car and hydrant scene

It’s been a while since we did one of our trademark movie “then and now” posts. For those who have not seen any of these, we search out productions that were filmed in our area and using our detective skills alone, we track down the locations where they were shot, documenting how they look today.

In this series we look at three screen captures taken from the 1983 movie Superman 3. A thief has just robbed a bank, resulting in mass chaos. In the melee a car crashes into a fire hydrant and begins to fill with water. Unable to get free, the panicking driver risks drowning until the Man of Steel comes to the rescue.

Be sure to comment on this post (below pictures).

All these shots were taken on a single corner in downtown Calgary. Surprisingly, all the buildings seen still exist, although one has been altered so much as to be unrecognizable. The other two though have changed very little in the thirty years since that film was shot.

In the first scene, a bank robber has pulled off a heist and people run about, scared and confused. Soon a gun fight will ensue. This is the scene that has changed the most and all of what we see, the stairs and facade, are now gone. Only the building in back, which is still recognizable, helps us line things up.

As the story progresses, a security guard emerges from the bank and takes a shot at the robber. Rather than striking the bandit, he misses and shoots out the tire of a passing car, causing it to careen out of control and smash into a nearby fire hydrant. We are able to duplicate that scene to within metres and nearly everything seen in the movie is pretty much as it was.

The car begins to fill with water and while passers-by are unable to help, Superman soon appears to save the day. He rips open the car roof just in time, extracting the hapless soul who is trapped inside.

Duplicating the scene, we turn 180 degrees and face south. The building in back is instantly recognizable and it was quite easy for us to recreate the shot. In fact, the structure has change so little in the passing years, which is quite amazing given how dynamic and changing Calgary’s downtown is.

These scenes are by no means the only ones shot in Calgary and we have plans to research and shoot more. Remember, we find these locations without no outside help. It’s a ton of fun to do!

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Regarding how we line up our “now” shots – it’d be near impossible to duplicate the originals exactly so rather then try, which is way too much work, we just have fun and hope for the best. Most of the time however, the results are pretty good.

Of the Superman films, this one rates rather low with most critics and viewers. With it’s campy script and low production values, it was a major departure from the preceding two Superman films which were far more serious in tone. In my opinion, this one is almost unwatchable when compared to the first two in the franchise. Much of it was filmed in our area however and this makes it appealing to us for that reason alone.

Images form the movie are copyright Warner Brothers.

To see some more Superman 3 then and now articles we’ve posted, click the links below…
Superman 3 then and now – opening scenes.
Superman 3 then and now – bar scenes.
Superman 3 then and now – Smallville.

Check out this post…
Genealogists don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

If you’d like to know more about what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: November, 2013.
Location: Calgary, AB.

Bank Robber Superman 3

The bank in back has just been robbed and chaos will soon reign.

Superman 3 bank robber scene

Everything from this angle has changed, save for the building on the left.


Car and hydrant Superman 3

In the confusion a car smashes into a fire hydrant and begins to fill with water.

Superman 3 fire hydrant scene

Not much has changed in the 30 years since that scene was filmed here.


Superman 3 car and hydrant

Superman comes to the rescue!

Superman 3 car and hydrant scene

This building is instantly recognizable.


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4 Comments on "Superman 3 then and now – car and hydrant scene"

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The critics are right, Superman III was a stinker.


Superman III: it was funny, I’ll give it that. Richard Pryor is a good comedian but his character felt out of place. It was a little too silly for a Superman movie though.