In his first screen appearance, the Caped Crusader of Gotham City (belying the lethargic facade of his alter ego Bruce Wayne) battles Dr. Daka, Japanese mastermind of a wartime espionage-sabotage group. Daka has a radium-powered death ray that pulverizes walls, a classic alligator pit to dispose of enemies, and can turn men into electronic zombies who do his bidding and transmit video signals to Daka's lab! Batman has no Batmobile, but there are bats in the Bat Cave... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
HE MOVE LIKE A FLASH! HE RIDES LIKE THE WIND! HE CAN PUNCH LIKE A BATTERING RAM!..THe mighty red-blooded American-hero comes to thrilling life in new adventure serial! (original 1943 poster) See more »
The Batmobile does not appear in this serial and it's often regarded as a slight to the character, but this was filmed in early 1943 and the Batmobile as we know it had only made its first appearance two years earlier. In the first appearances of Batman in Detective Comics, Batman (or The Bat Man as he was called then) often drove a nondescript convertible. See more »
In episode 3 Alfred picks up a revolver and fires 8 shots, without reloading. See more »
High atop one of the hills which ring the teaming metropolis of Gotham City, a large house rears its bulk against the dark sky. Outwardly there's nothing to distinguish this house from many others, but deep in the cavernous basements of this house is a chamber hewn from the living rock of the mountainside, strange, dimly lighted, mysteriously secret bat cave headquarters of America's #1 crimefighter, Batman! Yes, Batman, clad in the somber costume which has struck terror to the ...
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Discovering the Batman serial and the strip cartoon at the age of eight must have shaped (warped?) my taste for the rest of my life.
Even pre-pubescent, I could tell this one was superior to the draggy Sam Katzman chapter plays which engulfed my Saturday afternoons. Encountering it again in the sixties when it was a star turn in the low camp boom wasn't an anti climax. The imagery (imagery yet!) of the comic book survived diluted and distorted. Batman silhouetted against a night sky made white by the deep red filter, after Robin strikes fear into the hearts of the henchmen by showing the bat signal on their wall, remains embedded in the memory bank. A disguised Bruce Wayne waves a gun at one stage and we miss the Batmobile but Bob Kane made over his drawings of Alfred the Butler to look like William Austin.
Add on another forty (gulp) years and we've had political correctness an a version removing Knox Manning's narration about the wisdom of a government that locks up it's evil Nipponese citizens in a camp or the fetching Shirley Patterson shrieking "A Jap" when faced with J. Carrol Naisch, his Irish eyes pulled back into the fiendish mask of Dr. Dakar the sadistic son of Nippon feeding henchmen to pet alligators. The baggy forties suits and baggy 4F extras, along with the tackiness of the hand me down sets have become period detail as much as drab. We do notice that they have only two zombie hats so if there are a couple on screen, one has to go out and send another one in.
Along with that however, there are some remarkably well staged action scenes - the chase after that armored car we keep on seeing in old Columbia movies, the fire that showers (The) Batman with burning rafters,apparently staged by western specialist Harry Frazer who gets a writer credit.
Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft and Shirley Patterson must have resented the fact that their careers peaked here but how about poor old Lambert Hillyer who was one of the architects of the classic westerns of William S. Hart and has now survived only as the director of record of this rush job kids actioner.
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