Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Monday - Batman, 1949 Chapters 4-6

Continuing the recap of the second Batman serial, Batman and Robin from 1949 starring Robert Lowery and John Duncan. Last week, I mentioned there should be a drinking game. Let's try it, shall we?

Okay, so, Batman and Robin, The Drinking Game. Drink whenever Professor Hammil sits in his magic chair. Drink whenever Batman and Robin speculate about the Wizard's identity. Drink whenever a building or street is given a completely generic name. Drink whenever they reuse a set. Drink whenever one of the thugs asks where the submarine's going. Drink whenever Batman adjusts his mask. Drink whenever the characters completely forget whatever they were doing in the previous scene. Drink whenever there's a totally outrageous coincidence that's necessary to advance the plot. Drink whenever Batman (or Robin) screw up their own plan. Drink whenever the chapter title has nothing to do with the episode in question.

Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah, Chapter 4, "Batman Trapped." The Wizard's thugs had stolen the special detonators for the X-90 and Batman was chasing them. During a fistfight, Batman gets zapped with the crazylegs ray and dances off a cliff. As the chapter opens, Batman lands in a tree. Meanwhile Robin tries to steal the bad guys' truck, but is caught and knocked out. They throw Robin in the back of the truck and drive off.

Batman climbs the cliff.

Whoa, turns out Robin's playing possum. He gets up, twists the knob on a spout connected to a barrel of chemicals (marked Solox), leaving a black trail of toxicity for Batman to follow. First cotton bales, now sludge. What the hell kind of delivery truck is this?

Batman climbs the cliff.

The thugs turn off onto a dirt road and drive up to an isolated cabin. Robin chooses this moment to spring into action, throwing off the thugs and running away. They chase after him.

Batman climbs the cliff.

Robin hides in a tree to evade his pursuers, then runs back toward the cabin.

Batman finally gets to the top of the cliff and adjusts his mask. Drink! He jumps in his Mercury and drives off.

Two of the thugs keep searching while the other two return to the cabin. Robin listens outside the door as the men say the Wizard is due to visit shortly. Robin sneaks through the door, which luckily has a little curtained partition to hide the front door from the rest of the room, so they don't see him come in.

Batman follows the trail of sludge. The cabin goes dark and the Wizard appears in a doorway like before. He demands that Morton, the inventor of X-90, tell him the formula for using his super-explosive to power machinery. Wait, I thought the remote-control machine was powered by diamonds? Morton refuses.

Batman pulls to a stop on the dirt road near the cabin, gets out and adjusts his mask. Drink!

The Wizard starts to do his blinky-eye hypnosis again when he suddenly notices (in the darkened room, mind you) Robin's shoes poking out from under the curtains. He alerts the thugs, who whip the curtain back to reveal... Robin's shoes. Robin is outside, running for the truck in his stocking feet. And the reason for taking off his shoes was what, exactly? To let them know he was watching?

As Batman drives toward the cabin, Robin adopts the strategy of running laps around the truck with the thugs in pursuit (maybe hoping they'll turn to butter?). Not a good strategy, BTW.

Batman arrives just in time, and the thugs flee inside. They escape through a secret panel as Batman and Robin enter to find an unconscous Morton. The Wizard appears in the doorway again and pulls a pistol. Batman brings an ashtray to the gunfight, throws it and shatters the Wizard into a million pieces! He was just an image on a big TV screen before Batman smashed it like he was Wii Bowling (so what the hell was the point of the gun?). TV really does make you violent!

Bruce and Dick take some time to review. Since they have no leads, they adopt the advanced investigative technique of listening to Barry Brown's broadcast. And I might add (in a purely heterosexual manner) that I think Dick's wardrobe is stylin' in this serial. Want that shirt.

Brown states that Morton is recuperating at City Hospital. Drink! Bruce and Dick speculate that Barry Brown might be the Wizard. Drink! Whoa, getting a little woozy.

At the hospital, Commissioner Gordon waits with Vicki Vale to question Morton when Bruce and Dick arrive. Then a thug comes in disguised as an orderly carrying water in a cut glass decanter. Fancy hospital. He plants a radio transmitter, so they can hear everything said in the room.

The thugs listen outside as Morton tells the location of his formula. But Bruce hears the noise as the radio transmitter shuts down, so he knows the Wizard's men are ahead of them. He and Robin race to the location of the formula, where they fight the Wizard's thugs. Batman is knocked into an electrical panel and falls in a shower of sparks.

Hey, wait a second. Checking the title, I see that Batman was never trapped. Drink!

In Chapter 5, "Robin Rescues Batman," we find out that Batman didn't really get electrocuted. While Robin helps Batman to his feet, the thugs escape with the secret formula by stretching a ladder to the window of the building next door and crawling across it. The police arrive to search the building and turn Vicki Vale away. So she looks across the street and sees the robbers getting into their car. Instead of telling the cops about it, she just runs over and takes a picture. Cause, you know, cops are kind of useless.

At that moment, more cops arrive as Batman and Robin run out of the building. Vicki points them after the escaping car (like, great timing, Vick). The cops give chase, but the Wizard fools them with a remote controlled car. Meanwhile, the crooks discuss retrieving the picture. Turns out, their getaway driver Jimmy (the pilot from Chapter 1) is Vicki Vale's brother! Co-yay! Drink!

Jimmy calls Vicki to tell her he needs the negative and the prints. She agrees to meet him, but drops by and tells Bruce the story first. When Vicki shows up at the rendezvous, thugs try to grab the negative. Batman and Robin appear to help, but the negative ends up being burned. Batman collects the remains and, in the Batcave, uses a special chemical mist to restore the image. He checks his "rogue's gallery" to identify the other men in the photo.

Meanwhile, Professor Hammil uses his special chair. Drinky-poo! Meanwhile, Batman and Robin speculate that Hammil is the Wizard. Drink again! I love this game! And I love you, man! You're the best!

Jimmy calls Vicki again to tell her he's leaving town. Vicki uses her reporter connections to have the call traced. It came from the Harbor Club on Seaside Avenue. Drink! Whoa, starting not to love this game so much.

Batman and Robin head for the Harbor Club as well, having identified it as the hangout of one of the men in the photo. Yippee-ki-co-yay, motherfucker. Drink! Thugs kidnap Vicki and try to spirit her onto a boat, but Batman appears on the docks. Head thug Nolan pulls a pistol and shoots. Batman hides behind some handy gasoline barrels. Nolan shoots twice, taking careful aim both times. And both times, he misses by a good two feet to the left. He needs to get his sights checked. Meanwhile, his shots have sent gasoline spewing into the water. Vicki gest (whoops, meant 'gets' - too many drinks) thrown in and Batman jumps in to save her. Thugs set the water on fire!

Title check! Robin didn't really rescue Batman from anything. Drink! Dude, serious buzz going.

In Chapter 6, "Target--Robin!," Batman and Vicki climb out of the burning water without any difficulty. Man, the "deathtraps" in this serial are really lame. The thugs turn to shoot them, but Robin activates a siren, and the thugs flee.

Now comes the new Batman's Chuck White moment. Batman decides to disguise himself as the thug htey (whoops, too many drinks - meant to say, "htey"--that is, "htey"--you know what, fuck it) captured at the waterfront. He does this by putting a big bandage on his head. He doesn't look any different than he did as Bruce Wayne, but Robin tells us that he looks like the crook's "twin brother." I think Robin's been playing the drinking game along with me. Batman's plan is to pose as captured criminal Mac Lacey and be taken straight to the Wizard's hideout.

He goes to the Harobr Club, where the rest of the gang is waiting. Now keep in mind, he looks exactly like Bruce Wayne with a big bandage on his head. But everybody there (who presumably know Mac) believes he's Mac.

They make a plan to head for Hideout B. Along the way, Bruce lights a smoke-bomb cigarette which he tosses out hte window to show Robin which way he went.

They go to the cabin, where Jimmy tells htem the Wizard wants them to listen to Barry Brown's broadcast. Barry Brown announces that Mac Lacey is being held by the police. So who's this guy with the big freaking bandage on his head?

As head thug Nolan threatens Bruce, Robin steals a page form hte first serial to flahs the Batsignal on the wall.

Notice how the scallops in the bat's wings go the other way? Batman needs quality control.

Nolan and Jimmy run outside to find Robin, while a third thug holds Bruce at gunpoint. The thugs grab Robin and bring him in. Nolan tells Bruce he can join the gang if he kills Robin. "That's a deal," says Bruce, a little too eagerly. He shoots Robin in the belt buckle (which stops the bullet) then shoots out hte light nad he and Robin escape.

The thugs call the Wizard, who tells Nolan that he's to be killed and replaced. Nolan doesn't even try to argue; he's as tired of this serial as I am. Also, no alligators. God, I miss Prince-Doctor Daka. Also, the Wizard has talked to Mac in jial and is setting up a trap.

Meanwhile, Batman and Robin speculate that Barry Brown might be the Wizard. Drink! God, no, please. I'll be good. Don't make me drink again.

The Batsignal appears, and Batman stops at a pay phone to call the Commissioner. Gordon says that Mac Lacye talked. There's going to be anotehr robbery on the waterfront, on Marine Street. Shit! Drink. You know, if tou tilt your head, it looks like the 60's. And the room, it kind of spins.

Sorry, passed out for a while. I'm back.

Batman and Robin spot some thugs outside a building and pursue them inside. They end up trapped in a room that is filling with deadly CO2 fog (seriously, the sign says CO2 gas)! They're doomed!

Oh, and since Batman did have to target Robin when he shot him, the title sort-of fits. No drink. Thank God.

You can read the recap for chapters 1-3 here.

Read the recap of chapters 7-10 here.

And finally, the recap of chapters 11-15 is here.

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