Batman and Robin (1949, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 9: The Wizard Strikes Back!

There’s some family drama for Jane Adams this chapter of Batman and Robin, as George Offerman Jr. returns to provide the main story for The Wizard Strikes Back! Otherwise, it’s just Robert Lowery and Johnny Duncan goofing off and being lousy superheroes.

Besides watching Lowery’s Batman cape flail as he tries to flag down a car (the mysterious Wizard has remotely disabled his car), the most amusing moment is when Lowery gets he and Duncan’s costumes from the file cabinet drawer. Duncan waits for Lowery to get his own out. Because they have to be together when they change, because Duncan–especially in this chapter–is just Lowery’s sidekick. There are a couple moments where Duncan gets to trouble first then just hangs back for Lowery to catch up. It really drags things down.

Still, the Wizard stuff is fine. Offerman’s better than the regular cast members.

Another dumb logic moment comes when police commissioner Lyle Talbot visits Lowery for crime-fighting advice. Not Lowery as Batman, but Lowery as Bruce Wayne. He and Adams are sitting around the suburban homestead, waiting for their lunch. Why Adams never wonders why layabout Lowery is always so involved… it gives her an impossible part.

Other cast members don’t get impossible roles, they just flub the ones they get. But the writing on Adams’s part is dreadful.

Batman and Robin itself isn’t dreadful. It’s just bad. And endlessly repetitive (but without a lot of repeat footage, it’s just the same serial set pieces, over and over, in different locations).

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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