Batman (1943, Lambert Hillyer), Chapter 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun

When the chapter title refers to Slaves of the Rising Sun, I guess it means J. Carol Naish’s traitorous American henchmen. They really don’t do anything; well, Robert Fiske argues with Naish about Japan’s chances in the war to ill result, but otherwise, they don’t really do anything. They don’t even get enough personality to be yes men.

After yet another weak cliffhanger resolution, Rising Sun sets up the chapter’s action. Shirley Patterson is going to a mystic to find her missing uncle. She asks Lewis Wilson to go with, but he acts the foppish playboy so he can secretly go as Batman and save the day. See, he’s realized it’s a trap for Patterson and he wants to find out more about Naish’s gang (even though he doesn’t know anything about Naish).

Doesn’t quite work out in Wilson’s favor so he and Douglas Croft end up chasing some bad guys.

It’s not a terrible car chase at the end; like much of Hillyer’s action direction, it goes perfectly fine until all of a sudden Hillyer fumbles on something and the serial can’t recover. The turning point in Rising Sun is when Batman climbs down into the cab of the bad guy’s truck and the driver just watches him without reacting. He must be a cautious driver.

Also of interest? Once again, the cliffhanger resolution establishes Batman has committed manslaughter in his derring-do. Wilson–though Croft too to some degree–are inordinately incompetent as crimefighters.


Directed by Lambert Hillyer; screenplay by Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, and Harry L. Fraser, based on characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; director of photography, James S. Brown Jr.; edited by Dwight Caldwell and Earl Turner; music by Lee Zahler; produced by Rudolph C. Flothow; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Lewis Wilson (Batman / Bruce Wayne), Douglas Croft (Robin / Dick Grayson), Shirley Patterson (Linda Page), William Austin (Alfred Pennyworth), Robert Fiske (Foster), and J. Carrol Naish (Dr. Daka).


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