Batman and Robin (1949, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 3: Robin’s Wild Ride

I actually can’t figure out why this chapter is called Robin’s Wild Ride. Robin (Johnny Duncan) does not have a wild ride. Unless they mean when he gets to drive the car for a bit at the beginning. The chapter’s cliffhanger resolution is pretty tepid, but Batman and Robin clearly isn’t trying for thrilling cliffhangers, just something to stop a chapter. Batman (Robert Lowery) takes on three thugs and gets beat up. Duncan gets in a fight with another. He gets beat up.

Towards the end, Lowery fights another three thugs–probably the same three, actually–and does a little better. He still ends up losing because it’s cliffhanger time and the mysterious Wizard is able to zap him through a tire iron with a remote control ray. It’s pretty silly stuff.

In between, the Wizard terrorizes scientist Marshall Bradford with a hologram-type thing. Bradford gets temporarily zonked by the Wizard’s newly revealed superpower–he can mind control thanks to flashing eyes.

Lowery and Duncan are still suspicious of radio announcer Rick Vallin, who once again tips off the bad guys on his broadcast. The one he does from his living room. Jane Adams shows up looking for Bradford only to get locked up in a broom closet by the bad guys. It’s kind of a lackluster response from the villains, as Adams has seen all their faces, but the bad guys don’t appear to carry guns in Batman and Robin. They don’t need to since Lowery and Duncan are losing the fistfights.

Duncan’s got a lot of exposition and, wow, he’s bad. And Lowery looks like he’s sleepwalking as Bruce Wayne. He’s at least amusing as Batman, because it’s silly. All Batman and Robin has going for it, three chapters in, is the silly.

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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