The Batman - The Complete 1943 Serial Collection

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Overview

The 1943 Columbia Pictures serial Batman was nowhere near the peak of the chapter-play genre; produced by Rudolph C. Flothow and directed by Lambert Hillyer, it was done on the cheap even by serial standards, and if the writing wasn't bad, the production was terrible. Apart from the presence of J. Carrol Naish as the villain of the piece, there's hardly a major screen name associated with it, and the entire tone of the piece -- which includes references to "shifty-eyed" Japanese and other slurs, referring to ...
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Dick Curtis, George Chesebro, Roy Bucko, Lynton Brent, William Austin, Frank Austin, Shirley Patterson, J. Carrol Naish,... 10/18/2005 DVD 1943 Run time: 259. BRAND NEW ... Amazing low price. Read more Show Less

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043396119291 This item is brand new. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Thank you for supporting our small, family-owned business!

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Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft DVD New in new packaging. Originally released: 2005. 2 discs. Language: English. Run time: 259 minutes.

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Overview

The 1943 Columbia Pictures serial Batman was nowhere near the peak of the chapter-play genre; produced by Rudolph C. Flothow and directed by Lambert Hillyer, it was done on the cheap even by serial standards, and if the writing wasn't bad, the production was terrible. Apart from the presence of J. Carrol Naish as the villain of the piece, there's hardly a major screen name associated with it, and the entire tone of the piece -- which includes references to "shifty-eyed" Japanese and other slurs, referring to Japanese-Americans in that instance -- makes it just as well that this is the case. The serial, which was reissued in the mid-'60s to theaters as part of the "Batman craze" spurred by the ABC television series with Adam West, looks to be in only a fair state of preservation, at least in the first chapter. The Columbia logos at the front and the credits look fine, but much of the image is too dark and, in compensation, the producers have pumped too much light through it to brighten some of the sequences, which ends up whitening the skin of the characters too much and whiting out certain details; and one sequence in the middle of the episode looks oxidized, even solarized at one moment at what appears to be a reel-change point. Luckily, chapter two looks and sounds much better, and most of the rest of the serial is closer to that condition than to the shape of the first chapter, but there is an edit at about eight and a half minutes in, involving a shot that simply doesn't belong, that appears to have been in the original release print of the serial, and that speaks volumes about the overall sloppiness of the production. The packaging is infinitely slicker than the content, with the cover art made to resemble the dark 1940s version of Batman in a stylized manner, while the serial itself is less atmospheric than just dullish and clunky. The discs both open automatically to a simple menu that offers easy access to all episodes spread among two layers, advancing automatically chapter by chapter, with all installments getting five numbered scene-markers. The transfer seems to be a bit dark in spots, but there's a general consistency to the look of the full-screen 1.33:1 image and the sound that makes this one of the better presentations of the serial since the 1940s. The Batman serial never made it to laserdisc and on videocassette was only ever issued under license from Good Times in an SLP-speed VHS edition. There are no bonus features, but for serial buffs this is still a sort of encouraging release, in that it marks the first time that one of the major studios' video divisions has tried tapping into the serial market on DVD -- the pity is that Batman is such a second-rate example of the genre, but at least it shows that they know the stuff exists in the vaults.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Will “sinister Japanese underground agent” Dr. Daka turn everyone in the United States into a zombie? Will “the Batman” fall to his death from a skyscraper? Or perish in a fiery car crash? Or be crushed by an elevator? Or be eaten by alligators? No need to wait until next week for the answers to these cliffhanging questions. This two-disc set contains the complete 1943 15-part theatrical serial that introduced Bob Kane’s caped crusader to the screen. For aficionados, this wartime serial is where Batman begins, although it takes some liberties with the mythology. For instance: Rather than being a freelance avenger, Batman works for Uncle Sam. The villain -- Dr. Tito Daka J. Carrol Naish -- is bent on establishing a “League of the New Order,” using his radium gun to create an army of zombie henchmen. Foiling his every step are Batman Lewis Wilson and his youthful ward, Robin Douglas Croft, who always arrive in the nick of time to deliver some “whirlwind action” before a new peril threatens their lives at the end of each episode. Shirley Patterson makes for a very fetching damsel in distress, while Charles C. Wilson is a hard-boiled hoot as the credit-grabbing Captain Arnold “Get out of here and try to find a clue,” he tells two unfortunate officers who have been shown up by Batman. Please note that a P.C. advisory is definitely in order: Throughout the film, Dr. Daka’s Japanese heritage of is viciously impugned. “That’s the kind of answer that fits the color of your skin,” one ill-fated character mocks him at one point. Still, from the cheap special effects and ill-fitting costumes to the period dialogue “So long, suckers”, Batman is nostalgic fun that recalls a bygone era of moviegoing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/18/2005
  • UPC: 043396119291
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 4:19:00
  • Format: DVD

Menu

Disc #1 -- Batman: The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection - Episodes 1-7
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      The Electrical Brain
      The Bat's Cave
      The Mark of the Zombies
      Slaves of the Rising Sun
      The Living Corpse
      Poison Peril
      The Phony Doctor
Disc #2 -- Batman: The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection - Episodes 8-15
   Play All Episodes
   Episode Selection
      Lured by Radium
      The Sign of the Sphinx
      Flying Spies
      A Nipponese Trap
      Embers of Evil
      Eight Steps Down
      The Executioner Strikes
      The Doom of the Rising Sun
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

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    Posted March 7, 2010

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    Posted August 12, 2010

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