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..
Antisocial Prof. Hammil's Remote Control device, which enables the user to take over any motor vehicle within 50 miles (!), is stolen by The Wizard, black-hooded mastermind, and his gang. Batman and Robin (who drive about in a standard convertible) must prevent the Wizard from obtaining diamonds, needed as fuel for the device, and rescue magazine photographer Vicki Vale from periodic perils. Where is the Wizard's base, reached only by remote controlled submarine? Which of several suspicious characters hides beneath the Wizard's hood? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Vicki Vale would become a common character in the Batman comics after this film. Bob Kane based her on Marilyn Monroe, whom he met during the film's banquet. See more »
Wires can be seen when The Wizard is supposed to be invisible, most notably in the telephone booth when The Wizard is on the run and calls his headquarters. See more »
Crime, striking our city night and day, is on the increase. Our undermanned police force is helpless to cope with the situation, but they have an ally - Batman - who with the faithful Robin, wages unending war against all criminals!
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"NEW ADVENTURES" gives Dynamic Duo Complete Make Over
With the end of World War II, there was a marked change of tone and settings in the film world. This was especially true in that staple of the Saturday Matinée, the Serial. After all,Nazi Germany,Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan had now been defeated. There were no Nazi U Boats, Imperial Japanese soldiers, nor any Axis Spies or 5th Column Traitors to deal with. Now the bad guys would either have to be of the domestic variety of crook. Or, if by chance the baddies were of the international espionage set, their Nationality would have to be kept a secret. Just as before the United States got into the War, the villains country could be implied, but not specifically stated.
The second Batman chapter-play did follow all of the above mentioned, using a large number of common underworld types and a secret leader of unknown origin and identity (until the end), who was bent on, what else, world domination.
The cast and production team changed as Columbia had Sam Katzman produce it. Mr. Katzman's Production Company, called ESKAY, was known for the frugality of its productions. Much of its output was done at and released by Monogram Pictures. The best known of these would probably be the EAST SIDE KIDS series, one branch of the DEAD END Family Tree.
This was the second serial for a comic character;but it was not the first time that it was done. Flash Gordon, Don Winslow, The Spider, Tailspin Tommy, Jungle Jim,The Green Hornet and Secret Agent X9, had all had 2 or more.DICK TRACY leads the pack with four serials. But unlike these others, which may have had one or two changes in cast, the 1949 Batman film cleaned house, leaving no one from the original.
Veteran Robert Lowery, who referred to himself as "the King of the B's", was a good choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman. His dead panning of Wayne's dialog contrasted with the so-serious speech of Batman. He possessed the build and obvious athleticism to bring a certain authenticity to the role.
John Duncan* had been around doing juvenile roles for several years (including the previously mentioned EAST SIDE KIDS series), and now had matured some, giving him both the youthful appearance and the gymnast-like musculature that Robin would have.
Additionally, we have all characters and elements taken directly from the comics feature. News Photographer,Vicki Vale (Jane Adams), Alfred the Butler(Eric Wilton) and Police Commissioner James Gordon(Lyle Talbot) were all characters out of the comic book adventures. They reprised the Bat Cave from the '43 version and added The Bat Signal(the bat emblemed searchlight,Batman summoner of Gotham City's sky), albeit in a sort of vest pocket size.
Like many serials, they did employ a hooded mystery man villain as the "brains" heavy you know, unknown but having several on screen suspects to keep the audience guessing for 15 chapters.This was okay, or at least adequate, but begs the question: Why not use one of the great colorful villains from the comics pages? The Batman TV of 2 decades later did so, making the series so memorable.
As for THE NEW ADVENTURES of BATMAN and ROBIN, it ranks far above most serials of its Post World War II period. As well as common crooks and masked super villains, it confronted the Super Nova Explosion of Technological Advancement, a phenomenon of which we still have a lot of apprehension.
NOTE* John Duncan, now a man in his 80's, still makes appearances a various Film Fan conventions around the country. We met him in a Bud & Sharon Courts promoted event, here in Chicago about 2 years ago. He was most energetic and gracious to the fans (including this writer).
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