Batman and Robin (1949, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 2: Tunnel of Terror

Even with Robert Lowery’s exceptionally questionable performance as Batman and Bruce Wayne, Tunnel of Terror is a relatively fine serial chapter. The cliffhanger resolution at the beginning is pretty weak, but then it turns out Lowery and Johnny Duncan have an almost superpower–they can sneak around really, really quietly. And not just indoors. They can also sneak around outdoors.

They let the bad guys get away though, ending up at soon to be prime suspect William Fawcett’s mansion. There they find leading Jane Adams with her foot stuck in the ground. She’s nonplussed by Lowery and Duncan in their costumes, which makes the scene play rather amusingly. Lowery chastises Fawcett for setting traps, regardless of bad guys wanting to spy on him. Then Adams is gone, as is Fawcett, and Lowery and Duncan are after someone else.

There’s a chase scene in a train yard–Tunnel has a lot of exterior shooting, lots of Batman and Robin running around in the daytime–and then a fight scene on top of the train.

Lowery’s not good. Duncan’s not good. Adams doesn’t seem to be very good either. But Fawcett’s all right and henchman Don C. Harvey gives the production a sense of sturdiness. It’d be nice if that reassurance came from the leads, but whatever. Tunnel’s okay.

And some of the music choices (all sourced from other places) are strong. Some aren’t, of course. But some work out beautifully.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and Royal K. Cole, based on characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Dwight Caldwell and Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Robert Lowery (Batman / Bruce Wayne), Johnny Duncan (Robin / Dick Grayson), Jane Adams (Vicki Vale), Lyle Talbot (Commissioner Jim Gordon), Don C. Harvey (Henchman Nolan), Lee Roberts (Henchman Neal), William Fawcett (Prof. Hammil), Leonard Penn (Carter), Rick Vallin (Barry Brown), Michael Whalen (Private Investigator Dunne), George Offerman Jr. (Henchman Jimmy), and Eric Wilton (Alfred Beagle).


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