The Gladiator (1938 film)

The Gladiator is a 1938 American comedy and fantasy film starring Joe E. Brown, Dickie Moore and June Travis. The movie is an adaptation of Philip Gordon Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator, which is often credited with having influenced the creation of Superman.[1]

The Gladiator
Directed byEdward Sedgwick
Written byPhilip Wylie (novel The Gladiator)
Arthur Sheekman
Charlie Melson
Produced byDavid L. Loew
Edward Gross (assistant producer)
StarringJoe E. Brown
Man Mountain Dean
Dickie Moore
June Travis
Robert Kent
CinematographyGeorge Schneiderman
Edited byRobert O. Crandall (as Robert Crandall)
Music byVictor Young (uncredited)
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 15, 1938 (1938-08-15)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States


A man returns to college and is talked into joining the football team. He is a real joke on the team, until he is given a drug that gives him super strength.[2]

After the formula from Professor Danner turns him into a campus hero, Hugo Kipp enters a wrestling ring against Man Mountain Dean to raise money for an orphanage. He finds out too late that the serum is only temporary, losing his strength with the match in progress. Only a few lucky moves enable Hugo to win the match.


Main cast
Uncredited appearances


The movie reached theatres two months after the publication of the first appearance of Superman in a comic book.


  1. ^ Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. New York: Basic Books, 2004 (ISBN 0465036562), p.80. Also see Moskowitz, Sam Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction, Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Co., 1963 (ISBN 0-88355-130-6), pp.278–295
  2. ^

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