Batman (1943, Lambert Hillyer), Chapter 7: The Phoney Doctor

The best part of The Phoney Doctor is Charles Middleton. He’s the rough and tumble prospector, albeit one who falls for a phoney doctor, but he’s got personality and presence. He’s unexpected. Everything else in Batman, down to Batman and Robin getting beat up yet again, is predictable.

The chapter opens with another lackluster resolution to the cliffhanger. It’s always exactly what it appears to be, only somehow Lewis Wilson survives. It’s a peculiar narrative, just in terms of there not really being any A plot other than J. Carrol Naish’s pursuit of radium. He needs it for some weapon we haven’t seen (or heard about it many chapters).

The one slightly amusing part involving Wilson and Douglas Croft–though, again, they’re perfectly fine, with Wilson’s New Englander blue blood accent oddly fun for Bruce Wayne–is when they report getting beat up to the cops. They got beat up as Batman and Robin.

What if the cops did catch the bad guys?

While Batman is pretty dumb, the screenwriters characterization for Wilson is even dumber.


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), Charles Middleton (Ken Colton), and J. Carrol Naish (Dr. Daka).


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