Batman (1966 film)

Infobox Film
name = Batman
imdb_id = 0060153


caption = Poster by Tom Chantrell
producer = William Dozier

writer = Screenplay:
Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Characters:
Bob Kane
starring = Adam West
Burt Ward
Lee Meriwether
Cesar Romero
Burgess Meredith
Frank Gorshin
director = Leslie H. Martinson
editing = Harry Gerstad
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = July 30, 1966
runtime = 105 min.
language = English
music = Nelson Riddle
Theme:
Neal Hefti
awards =
amg_id = 1:4277
budget = $1,377,800

"Batman" (also known as "Batman: The Movie"), is a 1966 film spin-off of the popular "Batman" television series, and was the first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics character. The 20th Century Fox release starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.

The film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson who also directed a pair of "Batman" episodes; "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't," both from season one.

Plot

When Batman (West) and Robin (Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (the final role of actor Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission using the Batcopter. After a tangle with an exploding shark, Batman and Robin head back to Commissioner Gordon's office where, through deduction and wisdom, they figure out that the tip was a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever (Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman), who have united to defeat the Dynamic Duo once and for all.

Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, a Navy surplus submarine, and their three pirate henchmen (Bluebeard, Morgan and Quetch), the "fearsome foursome" intends to take over the world, and Batman and Robin must stop them. Catwoman romantically lures Bruce Wayne into a trap, unaware that Wayne is Batman's alter-ego, and Penguin even schemes his way into the Batcave, leaving the Duo unable to prevent the kidnapping of the dehydrated United World Security Council.

After giving chase in the Batboat, the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder use a sonic charge weapon to disable Penguin's submarine and bring it to the surface, where a grand fistfight ensues. Although the powdered members of the dehydrated Council are mixed together – which would normally spell their doom – Batman constructs an elaborate filter to return each of them to life.

Prior to this process, Robin asks Batman if it might not be in the world's best interests, with continued problems of overt racism, especially in the U.S. during the 1960s, for them to alter the dust samples so that humans can no longer harm one another. In response, Batman says that they cannot do so and can only hope for people, in general, to learn to live together peacefully on their own.

However, in the final scene, Robin's wishes are ironically fulfilled when the Security Council is improperly re-hydrated. While all of the members are alive and well, continuing to squabble among themselves and totally oblivious of their surroundings, each of them now speaks a completely different language than their original native tongue. As the world looks on in disbelief at this development, Batman and Robin quietly climb out of the United World Headquarters to an uncertain future. Batman's final words express his sincere hope that this "mixing of minds" does more good than it does harm.

Cast

*Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman
*Burt Ward as Dick Grayson / Robin
*Cesar Romero as The Joker
*Frank Gorshin as The Riddler
*Burgess Meredith as The Penguin
*Lee Meriwether as Catwoman / Miss Kitka
*Alan Napier as Alfred Pennyworth
*Neil Hamilton as Commissioner Gordon
*Stafford Repp as Chief O'Hara
*Madge Blake as Aunt Harriet
*Reginald Denny as Commodore Schmidlapp
*Milton Frome as Vice Admiral Fangschleister
*Gil Perkins as Bluebeard
*Dick Crockett as Morgan
*George Sawaya as Quetch
*William Dozier as Desmond Doomsday the Narrator "(uncredited)"

Though Julie Newmar played the Catwoman to great acclaim in the TV series, she suffered a back injury and was replaced by Lee Meriwether in this movie.

History

Filmed at the end of the first season of "Batman" the TV series (between April 25 and May 31, 1966 at an estimated $1,377,800), this movie featured four main criminals from the show, including the "clown prince of crime" The Joker (Cesar Romero), that "count of criminal conundrums" The Riddler (Frank Gorshin), that "pompous, waddling master of fowl play" The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and the "fiendish feline" The Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). It was written by series writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. and directed by series director Leslie H. Martinson, who won a Golden Gryphon for his efforts, and is less well remembered for directing a large number of less notable movies such as "PT 109" and "Rescue from Gilligan's Island".

The 105-minute "Batman" opened at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas on Saturday, July 30, 1966 (between the first and second seasons of the TV series).

The movie was moderately successful at the box office.

Tone

Like the television series, the movie featured saturated colors, campy dialogue and special effects, and over-exaggeration in acting performances, effectively being a tongue-in-cheek parody.

Though it is often described (like many contemporary shows) as a parody of a popular comic-book character, some commentators believe that its comedy is not so tightly confined. It's worth noting that some commentators feel the film's depiction of the Caped Crusader "captured the feel of the contemporary comics perfectly". [ [http://www.stomptokyo.com/movies/batman-66.html stomptokyo.com review. 2002.] The film was, they remind us, made at a time when "the Batman of the Golden Age comics was already essentially neutered". [http://www.grouchoreviews.com/index.php?module=Movie_Reviews&func=display&id=2125 grouchoreviews.com review of "Batman".]

Nevertheless, certain elements verge into direct parody of the history of Batman. The movie, like the TV series, is strongly influenced by the comparatively obscure 1940s serials of Batman, such as the escapes done almost out of luck. Likewise, the penchant for giving even obscure devices — notably, "shark repellent" — a "Bat-" prefix, and the dramatic use of stylized title cards during fight scenes, playfully acknowledge some of the conventions that the character had accumulated in various media. However, the majority of "Batman"'s campier moments can be read as a broader parody on contemporary late-1960s culture in general. [ [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/B/htmlB/batman/batman.htm Museum of Broadcast Communication's entry on the parent TV show] ]

Release

On August 21, 2001 this film was released on DVD. On July 1, 2008 this film was re-released on DVD and on Blu-ray for the 42nd anniversary of the film's release and because of "The Dark Knight"'s release on July 18. The Blu-ray added several features in addition to those found on the original DVD, however the 2008 DVD is identical to the 2001 release (except for the disk artwork) with no additional special features.

Vehicles

Besides the Batmobile, other vehicles used by The Dynamic Duo:
*Batcopter
*Batcycle with side car
*Batboat, provided by Glastron

Of the three new Batvehicles which first appeared in the "Batman" movie, only the Batcycle crossed over into the "TV series", as the budgetary limits of the TV series precluded the use of the others. Instead, snippets of the Batcopter and Batboat from the movie were stitched into episodes.

References

External links

*imdb title|id=0060153|title=Batman
* [http://www.batmanytb.com/movies/60/index.php Batman The Movie @ BYTB: Batman Yesterday, Today and Beyond]
* [http://www.bat-mania.co.uk Batmania UK: 1966 Batman]
* [http://www.methodsreporter.com/2007/03/01/white-stripes-icky-thump-batman-catwoman/ "Strange new Batman/White Stripes link"] Article on Batman: The Movie's pop culture influence


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