Thursday, March 5, 2015

Batman - The Movie!


As difficult as the vintage Batman TV series has been to obtain (finally in 2014 after decades of frustration) that's just how easy the 1966 Batman movie has been to get. It was one of the very first things I bought on VHS for my home library and I've since replaced it on DVD of course.

But now at long last I've been able to view this flick in the context it was intended, a summer big-screen offering between the first and second seasons of the original TV show run. Created to entice foreign distribution of the TV show, the movie has all the elements of the show, just turned up to eleven.


Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin are just as straight-faced and corny as they are in the TV show. The satire of the movie might be a bit more pronounced in the movie as the yarn unrolls over a leisurely one hour and forty-five minutes or so. That has a lot to do with the gaggle of villains (Cesar Romero as Joker, Frank Gorshin as Riddler, Burgess Meredith as Penguin, and debuting Lee Meriwether as Catwoman) who cavort with bristling energy whenever they hit the screen.

The plot (such as it is) rambles all over, supplying opportunities for Batman and Robin to use some of their here-to-fore unseen equipment such as the Bat-Copter, the Bat-Boat, and a new improved Bat-cycle with detachable sidecar.


Great moments abound such as Batman's classic dash about the pier to try with little luck to dispose of a bomb, the outlandish romance between Bruce Wayne and Miss Kitka, the dehydrated henchman who pop like balloons in the Batcave, and many more.

The movie is a giant episode, not unlike one of those outstanding summer annuals the comic book companies used to produce which had truly special over-sized adventures. If the episodes of the TV show are the regular issues, then this movie is the 100-Page Spectacular.

Now I'm properly ready for Season Two of the regular series.

Rip Off


12 comments:

  1. Starting Season Three m'self. I am in heaven watching these old shows in such clarity! Even more beautiful than I remembered them looking when I watched them during first run on the neighbors' color TV!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm into season two. I'm trying not to binge too much on these, so as to savor them a bit more, but it's hard to resist. They get like popcorn after a few.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  2. Atomic Cereal? LOL! I love the covers of the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These were fun to assemble. Glad you like them.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  3. " It was one of the very first things I bought on VHS for my home library and I've since replaced it on DVD of course."

    Too bad.
    The VHS image wasn't "matted" the way the DVD/Blu-Ray image, so there's more picture top and bottom while not cutting off any side picture!
    When it ran on HBO Family last year, I DVDed it after discovering the airing kept the same ratio as the VHS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I still have the VHS copy around here. It's not worth enough on the market to shed it and I've kept a lot of those, too many probably. I'll have to get it back out and compare.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  4. "Created to entice foreign distribution of the TV show, the movie has all the elements of the show, just turned up to eleven."

    It was also the first time many people (me included) saw it in color, since the majority of TVs were still (gasp) black and white!
    And 1966-67 (Batman's second season) was the first time a TV network (ABC) had an all-color prime-time lineup!
    Bet there was a serious uptick in color set sales after the movie came out...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never saw it much during its first run. We were an NBC family with ABC coming in okay. CBS was right out, but you had to make choices with the antenna as to which channels you wanted. Getting the TV during prime time was tough and two nights in a row was nigh impossible.

      I still vividly remember the first color TV Dad and Mom brought home. We watched Daniel Boone the first night and it was a wonder.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  5. BTW, if you want to see what inspired the production of the tv series, TCM will begin running the 1943 Batman serial this week on Saturday morning at 10am Eastern!

    http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/490377/Batman/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have both the serials and have enjoyed them a few times. It is likely time for another dose though. I have the TCM stuff set for series recording so I can follow it weekly as was done originally.

      Found both serials together in the discount bins at Wal-Mart a few months ago. Both for five bucks, what a bargain! I almost bought them again.

      Rip Off

      Delete
    2. That's probably the "Gotham City Serials" set
      It's not the same quality as the individual serials from Columbia Home Video.
      Lots of artifacting.
      Mill Creek Entertainment (which did the combined Bat-serials) and Echo Bridge Home Entertainment are releasing a slew of re-packaged low-cost movie and tv collections, usually on two-sided DVDs and very heavily-compressed.
      They're the GoodTimes Video of DVDs (remember GoogTimes and their cheap LP and SLP video releases?)

      Delete
    3. I own scores of GoodTimes VHS tapes. They were a joy, thanks for reminding me. There was a time when they were the only game in town.

      Rip Off

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...