The Amazing Partnership of Kidder and Reeves
There have been eight actresses who have played the part of Lois Lane, stating with the 1940's radio series and progressing through movies and television. But none have equaled or brought the amazing dimensional complexity to the role that the late Margot Kidder did. Along side her co-star and leading man, Christopher Reeves, Margot helped make Lois into a character that is more than just a side character in a comic book or even Superman's girlfriend. But in fact, helped to make her figure on par with Lady Macbeth or Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois.
When most people think of Lois Lane, they can't seem to figure out how can she not see that Clark Kent and Superman are the same guy? All kinds of jokes have been made about how come Lois, who is supposed to be one of the Daily Planet's best reporters, can't see what is so obviously in front of her. With Margot Kidder in the role, it isn't that Lois can't see that Superman and Clark are the same man, it's that she doesn't.
If one goes back and looks at Superman: The Movie, one can notice that Lois only looks at Clark full in the face maybe twice. Once when she first meets and he tells her about his silver-haired mother and again right after they've been mugged and she thinks he's been shot. The rest of the time, she's always looking past him as she rushes towards her next story or article. It's not that she's indifferent to Clark, but she meets guys like him all of the time.
Superman on the other hand, well, Lois can't take her eyes off those amazing blue eyes and perfect teeth. But really, who can?
But what made this a partnership, was that Christopher played along by making sure that Lois couldn't look directly at Clark either. In some scenes in the first and second movies, Christopher would often look away from Margot, whenever Lois was about to really look at Clark. This was to make sure that Lois would never realize that the man she was in love with was really disguised as her annoying co-worker.
In a lot of ways, Kidder and Reeves were like a team of magicians, working together to create an illusion for the audience. In this case, the illusion was that Lois Lane really doesn't know Superman is Clark Kent.
In so many ways, Margot made Lois stand out, just by making her a woman of her times. When Superman The Movie came out, it was the late seventies. The era of Post-Nixon, Post-Vietnam, and the era after the murders of leaders like the Kennedy's, King, and Malcolm X. Every night Americans turned on their televisions and heard about the Iranian hostage crisis, fuel shortages, and the growing crime rate. It was an age of movies like Dirty Harry, The Godfather, Death Wish and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sometimes, people couldn't tell the difference between heroes and villains sometimes and monsters seemed to win most of the time.
Margot's Lois was in some ways an embodiment of all of us; hard-bitten, cynical, always rushing to the next thing. But always hoping that for something to believe in again and to raise our hopes. Like in the scene during their first date when Superman says he's there to fight for truth, justice and the American way, Lois scoffs and says he'll take on all of city hall. But Superman tells her: "You don't really mean that, Lois."
Christopher Reeves might have made us believe that a man could fly. Margot Kidder made us want to believe in that man.