Batman and Robin (serial)

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Batman and Robin (1949) was a 15-chapter serial released by Columbia Pictures.

Robert Lowery played Batman, while Johnny Duncan played Robin. Supporting players included Jane Adams as Vicki Vale and veteran character actor Lyle Talbot as Commissioner Gordon.

Contents

Plot

The plot dealt with the Dynamic Duo facing off against the Wizard, a hooded villain whose identity remains a mystery throughout the serial until the end.

Cast

Casting

John Duncan as Robin has an inappropriate surly expression and a tattoo on his arm.

Production

"As usual on a Katzman production," note Harmon and Glut, "the low budget showed everywhere in money-saving shortcuts, and inadequacies." The Batman costume had a poorly fitting cowl and the Robin costume added pink tights to cover the "hairy-legs" of both the actor and stuntman. The Batmobile is again excluded, but instead of a limousine, as in the first serial, the duo drive around in a 1949 Mercury.

Several mistakes and failures of logic occur in the serial. One example of this is that the film shows the Batsignal working in broad daylight. Another occurs despite the fact that the heroes' utility belts had been replaced by normal belts for this serial, with no pockets or pouches. Nevertheless, in order to escape from a vault, Batman pulls a blowtorch from his belt. To compound this mistake, it is a full-sized blowtorch that would have been impossible to carry unseen on his person. Harmon and Glut suggest that this was probably scripted to be a miniaturized 3-inch blowtorch, as used in the comics, but the film-makers followed the directions for a "blowtorch" literally.

Release

Home media

The serial was released on DVD in 2005.

Critical reception

Despite the significantly higher budget, it was deemed slightly inferior to the original 1943 serial. But nevertheless, the acting was regarded as better than the first Batman serial. In particular, Lowery is regarded as being a much tougher Batman than his predecessor Lewis Wilson.

Chapter four is "one of the weirdest episodes" of the serial. During this instalment, Batman spends half the chapter climbing a cliff while Robin pursues a speeding truck on foot.

Chapter titles

  1. Batman Takes Over
  2. Tunnel of Terror
  3. Robin's Wild Ride
  4. Batman Trapped
  5. Robin Rescues Batman
  6. Target - Robin!
  7. The Fatal Blast
  8. Robin Meets the Wizard
  9. The Wizard Strikes Back
  10. Batman's Last Chance
  11. Robin's Ruse
  12. Robin Rides the Wind
  13. The Wizard's Challenge
  14. Batman vs. Wizard
  15. Batman Victorious
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