Batman (1943, Lambert Hillyer), Chapter 11: A Nipponese Trap

So, even though the title is A Nipponese Trap, there’s no trap in the chapter. Unless it’s when the bad guys bail out Lewis Wilson–in his thug disguise–so they can run him over. Except Douglas Croft and William Austin have already bailed him out, yet they don’t go to pick him up. The bad guys are there.

Screenwriters Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, and Harry L. Fraser are really out of ideas for this one. Besides the pointless double bailout sequences, there’s also Austin repeating Wilson’s instructions to Croft, even though the viewer heard Wilson’s instructions. Sure, it gives Austin another few lines and he’s fun, but it’s another drag on the already dragging narrative.

The resolution to the cliffhanger is bad, as always, though it’s also revealed Wilson left Croft unconscious with five of the bad guys to run away. Batman’s really not good at the whole caped crusader thing; the screenwriters characterize him as a punch-happy tool.

Though it is nice for Wilson to get some scenes in his thug persona. He’s pretty funny in it.

And, sadly, the usually sturdy editors flop at the end–Dwight Caldwell and Earl Turner’s cuts setting up the cliffhanger reveal its resolution.

Oh, and the one big action set piece–a truck accident–obviously uses footage from something else. Worse, someone had the shockingly dumb idea of giving the non-action truck a distinct signage… which clearly doesn’t match the old footage.

It’s just inept at this point.

CREDITS

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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