Batman (serial)


Batman (serial)

Infobox Film
name = Batman


image_size =
caption =
director = Lambert Hillyer
producer = Rudolph C. Flothow
writer = Victor McLeod
Leslie Swabacker
Harry L. Fraser
Bob Kane "(character)"
narrator =
starring = Lewis Wilson
Douglas Croft
J. Carrol Naish
Shirley Patterson
music = Lee Zahler
cinematography = James S. Brown Jr.
editing = Dwight Caldwell
Earl Turner
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = Flagicon|USA15 April 1943
runtime = 15 chapters (260 min)
country = USA
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by = "Batman and Robin"
website =
amg_id = 1:142778
imdb_id = 0035665

"Batman" was a 15-chapter serial released in 1943 by Columbia Pictures.

The serial starred Lewis Wilson as Batman and Douglas Croft as Robin. J. Carrol Naish played the villain, an original character named Dr. Daka. Rounding out the cast were Shirley Patterson as Linda Page (Bruce Wayne's love interest), and William Austin as Alfred.

The film is notable for being the first filmed appearance of Batman. Also, the film introduced "The Bat's Cave". The name was altered to the Batcave for use in the comic books as well as the Grandfather's clock entrance. Also, the comic Alfred was overweight and clean-shaven prior to the serial's release. Austin was trim and sported a thin moustache. The comic Alfred's appearance was altered to match that of Austin's, and remains the same to this day.

Plot

The film's plot dealt with Batman and Robin's struggle against Dr. Daka, a Japanese spy who invented a device that turns people into pseudo-zombies.

Cast

*Lewis Wilson as Batman/Bruce Wayne
*Douglas Croft as Robin/Richard 'Dick' Grayson
*J. Carrol Naish as Dr. Tito Daka/Prince Daka
*Shirley Patterson as Linda Page

Casting

Lewis Wilson's face resembled that of Bruce Wayne and he played his part with sincerity. However, his physique was unathletic and "thick about the middle" while his voice was both too high and had a Boston accent.cite book
last = Harmon
first = Jim
coauthors= Donald F. Glut
authorlink = Jim Harmon
title = The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury
origyear = 1973
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 9780713000979
pages = pp. 235-240, 243
chapter = 10. The Long-Underwear Boys "You've Met Me, Now Meet My Fist!"
] cite book
last = Stedman
first = Raymond William
title = Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment
origyear = 1971
publisher = University of Oklahoma Press
isbn = 9780806109275
pages = pp. 129
chapter = 5. Shazam and Good-by
]

Douglas Croft was too old to play Robin and looked older still when doubled by a "hairy-legged" stuntman.

Both the actors and their stunt doubles lacked the "style and grace" of either the comic characters they were portraying or their equivalents at Republic Pictures.

Although the Batman costume was based on his first appearance [cite book
last = Harmon
first = Jim
coauthors= Donald F. Glut
authorlink = Jim Harmon
title = The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury
origyear = 1973
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 9780713000979
pages = pp. 222
chapter = 9. The Superheroes "Could Superman Knock Out Captain Marvel"
] both costumes were unconvincing. The Batman costume was baggy and "topped by pair of devils horns."

Production

The film was made at the height of World War II, and like numerous works of popular American fiction of the time, contains anti-Japanese racial slurs and comments (in one scene, one of Daka's henchmen turns on him, saying, "That's the kind of answer that fits the color of your skin."). The film also suffered from a low budget, just like other contemporary serials. No attempt was made to create a bona fide Batmobile (which was also absent in the comics until the the 1950s), so a black Cadillac was used by Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, as well as Batman and Robin. Alfred chauffered the Dynamic Duo in both identities.

While many serials made changes during adaptation, to the extent that they were "often 'improved' almost out of recognition", Batman "fared better than most" and the changes were minor. A normal limousine replaced the Batmobile, the utility belts are present but unused and Batman is a secret government agent in this serial instead of an independent vigilante. This last change was due to the film censors, who would not allow the hero to be seen taking the law into his own hands.

Several continuity errors occur in the serial, such as Batman loosing his cape in a fight but wearing it again after the film only briefly cut away.

Press releases announced it as a "Super Serial" and it was Columbia's largest-scale serial production to date. The studio gave it publicity campaign equivalent to a feature film.cite book
last = Cline
first = William C.
title = In the Nick of Time
origyear = 1984
publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.
isbn = 078640471X
pages = pp. 14-15, 25
chapter = 2. In Search of Ammunition
]

Cliffhangers

The quality of the cliffhangers varies according to episode. Chapter ten ends with Batman in a plane crash. In the resolution, Batman simply staggered out of the wreckage, slightly dazed but otherwise unhurt. In the words of Jim Harmon and Donald Glut, this "might as well have been a silent comedy."

Release

Theatrical

Batman was first released in theaters on 16 July 1943.cite book
last = Cline
first = William C.
title = In the Nick of Time
origyear = 1984
publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.
isbn = 078640471X
pages = pp. 235-236
chapter = Filmography
]

In 1965, the serial was re-released in theaters as "An Evening with Batman and Robin", in one complete marathon showing, to capitalise on its camp value.cite book
last = Harmon
first = Jim
coauthors= Donald F. Glut
authorlink = Jim Harmon
title = The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury
origyear = 1973
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 9780713000979
pages = pp. 368
chapter = 15. Last Chapter "The Final Chapter"
]

Home media

The serial was released on home video in the late 1980s in a heavily edited format that removed the offensive racial content. A reviewer for the magazine "Cinefantastique" commented, "The changes aren't surprising when you see that Columbia is now owned by Japan's Sony Corporation. It appears that some of Daka's operatives escaped Batman's justice and were rewarded with positions at the new George Orwell department at Columbia." It should be noted that the edited version was not released by Columbia, but Goodtimes Home Video, an independent distributor.

However, in 1989, the cable network The Comedy Channel (United States) aired the serial uncut and uncensored. The cable network American Movie Classics did the same in the early 1990s on Saturday mornings.

Sony released the serial on DVD in October 2005. The DVD release is an unedited version, with the exception of Chapter 2, which is missing its "next Chapter" sequence.

Critical reception

Stedman notes that the serial "gained good press notices" but "scarcely deserves them," going on to describe it as an "unintentional farce." Harmon and Glut describe Batman as "one of the most ludicrous serials ever made" despite its "forthright simplicity." It was, nevertheless, popular enough for a sequel, Batman and Robin, to be approved.

Influence

"An Evening with Batman and Robin" was especially popular in college towns, where theaters were booked solid, The success of this led to the creation of the "Batman" series. The breathless opening and closing narration of each chapter in this and other Columbia serials was to some extent the model that was parodied in the series.

The success of both the re-release and the subsequent TV series prompted the production of another serial based series, the Green Hornet TV series. It was played as a straight action mystery series, "in the tradition of its former presentations," and was also very popular with audiences but lasted only one season due to significantly higher production costs. As a result, serial revivals were not believed to be possible at that time.

Chapter titles

# The Electrical Brain
# The Bat's Cave
# The Mark of the Zombies
# Slaves of the Rising Sun
# The Living Corpse
# Poison Peril
# The Phoney Doctor
# Lured by Radium
# The Sign of the Sphinx
# Flying Spies
# A Nipponese Trap
# Embers of Evil
# Eight Steps Down
# The Executioner Strikes
# The Doom of the Rising SunSource:

See also

*List of film serials
*List of film serials by studio
*List of films based on English-language comics

References

External links

*
*
* [http://www.legionsofgotham.org/SERIALS.html Batman Serials & Interviews @ Legions Of Gotham]
* [http://batmanytb.com/serials/index.php Serials @ Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond]
* [http://www.gothamcity.com.br Batman Site www.GothamCity.com.br]
* [http://www.batman-on-film.com/historyofthebatman_40sserials.html "BATMAN ON FILM" -- The 40s Serials]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Columbia Serial
before=The Valley of Vanishing Men (1942)
years=Batman (1943)
after=The Phantom (1943)


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