Batman and Robin (1949, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 5: Robin Rescues Batman!

Once again, the chapter title doesn’t have much to do with the chapter. Robin Rescues Batman. Okay, sure. If you count Robin (Johnny Duncan) hiding until the bad guys leave with the stolen formula then going in and checking on an unconscious Batman (Robert Lowery). The bad guys have this extended escape sequence–Batman and Robin’s secret to serial mediocrity, even with the bad acting from the leads and the goofy costumes, is how well director Bennet paces the action.

It goes on and on. But it’s always active. There’s always something. Except when it’s Lowery and Duncan trying to figure things out. Then it just hangs; Lowery’s a fun kind of bad in costume and an intolerable kind of it as Bruce Wayne.

Anyway. Eventually Lowery and Duncan figure out what’s going on with the bad guys, thanks to Jane Adams. She shows up looking to take pictures and spots the bad guys. Including her brother (George Offerman Jr.).

There’s then this subplot about Adams trying to figure out what to do with Offerman while lead thug Don C. Harvey–who really does keep the serial afloat with his professionalism–fighting with the masked, mysterious Wizard to save Offerman’s life.

There’s a fight scene finishing the chapter. On the docks. Batman versus like five bad guys. He holds his own, which is weird since three of them kick his butt in the opening.

Ira H. Morgan’s day-for-night photography is almost good, but he can’t do the action with it. It’d be nice for something in the serial to actually succeed. Maybe someday.

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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