Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BATMAN AND ROBIN (1949)


BATMAN AND ROBIN 1949 15 chapter Columbia serial. Director: Spencer Bennet.

Batman (Robert Lowery) and Robin (John Duncan) cross wits and figurative swords with a criminal mastermind known only as the Wizard. The suspects for his real identity are numerous: the grumpy old Professor Hammil (William Fawcett) who seems to be crippled but can attach himself to a certain energy device; Dunn, the skulking private eye (Michael Whalen); radio announcer Barry Brown (Rick Vallin), who always seems to know what everyone is up to ahead of time; or Carter (Leonard Penn), Hammil's unctuous butler. [The Wizard's voice appears to be dubbed by Gerald Mohr.] The relatively colorless Jane Adams plays photographer Vicki Vale, who has a crooked brother named Jimmy. Lyle Talbot plays Commissioner Gordon. The Wizard employs such devices as a remote control machine that can stop cars and trains in their tracks, and another machine that turns him invisible to wreak more havoc. Robert Lowery makes an okay Batman/Bruce Wayne, and 26-year-old John Duncan is fine and credible as an adult Robin. The near-operatic theme music is also quite memorable.

Verdict: Suspenseful and fun. ***.

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