The Joker has escaped from Arkham and Batman must once again bring him in - once and for all. Unfortunately for the bat, there is something even more sinister than the Joker waiting in the alley for the dark knight detective..
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>
With this release, Batman became the first DC Comics character to have his own serial. See more »
At the end of chapter four, Batman blows a hole in the roof of an armored car, but when it goes over the cliff moments later, there is no hole. 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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Made by Columbia Pictures in 1943-- just four short years after the character was first created by National Comics-- this serial remains a pretty faithful adaption and one of the top 5 serials of all time.
This is an A-Production from a B Unit. Director Lambert (Dracula's Daughter) Hillyer was a great choice to helm this moody and horror filled adventure. Corpses, zombies and spies are aplenty and The Batman himself is a dark and somewhat frightening figure himself.
Lewis Wilson (father of Bond Producer Michael Wilson) delivers an outstanding performance as the foppish Bruce Wayne and his tough as nails alter ego. William Austin is fantastic as Alfred the Butler who provides comedy relief throughout the 15 Chapters.
Shirley Patterson, who was a contract player at Columbia is the love interest Linda Page and delivers a convincing performance as a young woman frantically searching for her missing uncle (who has been abducted by the evil japanese spies).
The characters all display real emotions-- something that is unique to the plot driven serials of the 30s and 40s. Bruce Wayne seems to care about Linda Page-- Batman scolds Robin when he fails to follow his orders-- and Alfred bumbles his way through mishaps but shows a genuine desire to do well.
Granted, there is no Batmobile--but at least Batman is driven around in a limo-- Shadow Style-- and Commissioner Gordon is replaced by Captain Arnold ably played by Charles Wilson who is hot on Batman's trail and plans to bring the vigilante in.
Regarded in terms of acting and production values this holds up with any B-Movie of the time-- unheard of in serials with the exception of the very best (Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Captain Marvel and Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars).
The second Batman serial, made in 1949 with a different cast and production team is a horrendous Ed Wood-ish yawn fest.
The politically correct crowd is quick to forget history and instead view it through rosy glasses-- this was made during the height of World War II when it looked like the good guys might actually lose! Remember Pearl Harbor? The Japanese launched a cowardly sneak attack on the United States at the very moment we were negotiating treaties with them and therefore American sentiment didn't look too fondly on them. This serial is guilty only of being patriotic to the time. Remember, those who fail to recall history are doomed to repeat it.
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