Can you read my mind?
Do you know what it is that you do to me?
I don't know who you are
Just a friend from another star
It is 1978 and Superman: The Movie directed by Richard Donner is released in theaters. This franchise beginning movie starred Marlon Brando, Christopher Reeve, and Gene Hackman and was relatively well received at the time.
I was in 8th grade when the movie was released and after having read Superman comics for as long as I can remember and pretended to be him through countless battles in my backyard, the idea of seeing one of my heroes portrayed on the big screen was quite exciting. I can remember being in the theater and wondering about the weird crystal theme the art director had chosen for Krypton. I remember being pretty jazzed at how the young super-powered Clark Kent out ran a train and kicked a football into orbit. I remember getting a little chill when Chris Reeve got jerked into the air by a bunch of wires while holding his fist out, giving audiences worldwide their first glimpse of what the movie's tagline had so thoroughly hyped: You will believe a man can fly.
Here I am like a kid out of school
holding hands with a god
I'm a fool
And then, about three-quarters of the way into the picture, teen and pre-teen boys around the world collectively went "What the hell?". Most of us had rolled with the punch that Donner had picked Margot Kidder for his Lois Lane. Kidder was a gravelly voiced actress who came off as tough as nails and, in retrospect, a little butch. She was not at all what I had pictured Lois to be like, but I was more interested in watching Superman grab a helicopter out of the air, so I didn't give it much thought. But then, the flying scene came.
Will you look at me
Like a little girl
You can see right through me
During this scene, Superman arrives at Lois's apartment and takes her for a romantic flight around the city. We assume that if you are Superman and being played like a middle schooler mooning over the cute girl in your class, this is what passes for seduction. Not only is the scene saccharine sweet, but the accompanying soundtrack is possibly the worst two and a half minutes in cinematic Superman history (and yes, I am taking into account Superman IV).
Can you read my mind?
Can you picture the things that I am thinking of?
Wondering why you are
All the wonderful things you are
The two fly over Metropolis all the while listening to Lois nattering on like a giggly middle school girl about her feelings for Superman. Superman stretches out his hand and lets Lois experience flying as if she was under her own power. My personal feeling was to that he should drop her and look up Lana Lang from Smallville, because Kidder and Donner were quickly using up all the good will they had gathered to this point.
You can fly!
You belong in the sky!
You and I
Could belong to each other
Even years later, when I was not an 8th grade boy, the scene still doesn't work. Actually, knowing more about the relationship between men and women and the actual wooing process, I think I find the scene even more embarrassing now than I did when seeing a bra was a huge thrill, not to mention a huge sexual milestone. Admittedly, most women I dated were never conviced that I could bend steel in my bare hands and fly under my own power despite what I may or may not have told them, but I still cannot see two adults beginning the opening stages of a relationship in this way.
If you need a friend
I'm the one to fly to
If you need to be loved
Here I am
I have come to understand in recent years, that many people inexplicably like this scene. Recently, I even encountered a wedding where the couple wanted it played during the ceremony. Obviously for some, this scene had a lot of power and struck a romantic cord for them.
I am NOT one of those people.
Read my mind.
Source: Can You Read My Mind (The Love Theme from Superman) was written by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse.