Batman and Robin (1949, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 4: Batman Trapped!

Most of this chapter, Batman Trapped, is a resolution of the previous chapter’s cliffhanger. There’s no trapped Batman in this chapter. There’s kidnapped Robin; more on that development in a bit.

After the immediate resolution of the cliffhanger–thanks to Batman (Robert Lowery) having a lot of tree climbing skill–the bad guys decided they’re going to go beat up Robin (Johnny Duncan). Duncan and the goons do a little slapstick chase thing, with the dramatic music sapping away the humor potential, before one of the bad guys slaps Duncan and knocks him out. Not much fighting winning going on for Batman and Robin anymore.

Well, eventually Duncan escapes; he too is an expert tree climber. The goons aren’t expert tree climbers. He goes back to spy on the goons–Lowery is taking his sweet time rescuing Duncan, spending most of the first ten minutes driving. Or climbing trees. The goons are interrogating Marshall Bradford with a lot of expository dialogue. The chapter has almost all expository dialogue, except when Jane Adams complains she never gets to take photographs.

After the goons escape, because Duncan–running around in his tights without his shoes–can’t stop them, Lowery and Duncan go visit Bradford in the hospital. Commissioner Gordon (Lyle Tablot) is cool with private citizen Lowery hanging out. Adams doesn’t question why lazy playboy Lowery wants to lounge around Bradford’s hospital room.

Lowery and Duncan let the goons bug the room and then have to get into costume to try to stop them from stealing a secret formula. They both get beat up again. Really, lead goon Don C. Harvey is so much more likable than Lowery or Duncan, it’s hard to root for the heroes. They’re somewhere between incompetent and stupid.

There’s nothing good about Batman Trapped, other than it moving briskly–director Bennet never lets it drag–although some of the silliness is distracting

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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