Batman (1943, Lambert Hillyer), Chapter 5: The Living Corpse

Shockingly, The Living Corpse actually doesn’t involve a living corpse. It’s far from the most dynamic living corpse in cinema history, but it’s at least present in the chapter it entitles.

The Corpse has most to do with J. Carrol Naish’s half of the chapter. He’s got two schemes, with one being his orders from Japan. Somehow, Batman’s government handler knows to contact him with information about that scheme so Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft are able to try to stop it.

The opening cliffhanger resolution is, once again, lame. The resolution to this chapter’s cliffhanger will undoubtedly be lame as well, but might even be the exact same resolution. Whoever was in charge of plotting out the chapter finishes did a terrible job.

The ending action is indoors–sort of, it’s on an airplane–and Hillyer’s direction is lacking. The set is way too big and Hillyer and cinematographer James S. Brown Jr. have a hard time keeping the shots tight enough.

The much older stunt double for seventeen year-old Croft also stands out. It’s like an entirely different person has entered the fist fight.

There’s some strong editing from Dwight Caldwell and Earl Turner here though. Stronger than Batman needs (or deserves).


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), and J. Carrol Naish (Dr. Daka).


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