Friday, July 30, 2010

Batman - Trailer (1966)

Batman, often promoted as Batman: The Movie, is a 1966 film based on the television series and the first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics character of the same name. Released by 20th Century Fox, the film starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.

The film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson, who also directed a pair of Batman episodes; "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't," both from season one. When Batman (West) and Robin (Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (the final role of actor Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission using the Batcopter. After a tangle with an exploding shark, Batman and Robin head back to Commissioner Gordon's office where, through deduction and wisdom, they figure out that the tip was a set-up by four of the most powerful villains in Gotham City (Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman), who have united to defeat The Dynamic Duo once and for all. Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, a World War II "Pre-Atomic" Submarine made to resemble a penguin, and their three pirate henchmen (Bluebeard, Morgan and Quetch), the "fearsome foursome" intends to take over the world, and Batman and Robin must stop them. Catwoman, disguised as the Soviet journalist "Miss Kitka", lures Bruce Wayne into a trap, little suspecting that Wayne is Batman's alter-ego, and Penguin even schemes his way into the Batcave, leaving the Duo unable to prevent the kidnapping of the dehydrated United World Organization's Security Council. After giving chase in the Batboat, the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder use a sonic charge weapon called "Bat-Charges" to disable Penguin's submarine and bring it to the surface, where a grand fistfight ensues. Although Commodore Schmidlapp sneezes on and scatters the powdered members of the dehydrated Council, mixing them together – which would normally spell their doom – Batman constructs an elaborate filter to return each of them to life. Prior to this process, Robin asks Batman if it might not be in the world's best interests for them to alter the dust samples so that humans can no longer harm one another. In response, Batman says that they cannot do so and can only hope for people, in general, to learn to live together peacefully on their own. However, in the final scene, Robin's wishes are ironically fulfilled when the Security Council is improperly re-hydrated. While all of the members are alive and well, continuing to squabble among themselves and totally oblivious of their surroundings, each of them now speaks a completely different language than their original native tongue. As the world looks on in disbelief at this development, Batman and Robin quietly climb out of the United World Headquarters to an uncertain future. Batman's final words express his sincere hope that this "mixing of minds" does more good than it does harm. William Dozier wanted to make a big-screen film to generate interest in his proposed Batman TV series, to have it in theaters while the first season was before the cameras, but 20th Century Fox studio refused, because a network would share the cost of a series whereas they would have to cover the entire cost of a movie, and they wanted to know if the series was a hit before they would do that. So it was not filmed until the end of the first season of Batman the TV series (between April 25 and May 31, 1966 at an estimated $1,377,800). This movie featured four criminals from the show, including the Joker (Cesar Romero), Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). It was written by series writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and directed by series director Leslie H. Martinson, who won a Golden Gryphon.
The 105-minute Batman opened at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas on Saturday, July 30, 1966 (between the first and second seasons of the TV series). The movie was moderately successful at the box office. It had its nationwide television debut as an ABC Sunday Night Movie, at 9:00 Eastern/8:00 Central, on July 4, 1971.

Like the television series, the movie featured saturated colors, campy dialogue and special effects, and exaggeration in acting performances, as well as the occasional breaking the fourth wall, effectively being a tongue-in-cheek parody. Though it is often described (like many contemporary shows) as a parody of a popular comic-book character, some commentators believe that its comedy is not so tightly confined. Some commentators felt the film's depiction of the Caped Crusader "captured the feel of the contemporary comics perfectly". The film was, they remind us, made at a time when "the Batman of the Golden Age comics was already essentially neutered". Certain elements verge into direct parody of the history of Batman. The movie, like the TV series, is strongly influenced by the comparatively obscure 1940s serials of Batman, such as the escapes done almost out of luck. The penchant for giving devices a "Bat-" prefix, and the dramatic use of stylized title cards during fight scenes, acknowledge some of the conventions that the character had accumulated in various media. However, the majority of Batman's campier moments can be read as a broader parody on contemporary mid-1960s culture in general. Batman: The Movie has received positive reviews over the years, with an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Bill Gibron of gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and commented that "unlike other attempts at bringing these characters to life...the TV cast really captures the inherent insanity of the roles." Variety magazine stated on their review that "the intense innocent enthusiasm of Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin as the three criminals is balanced against the innocent calm of Adam West and Burt Ward, Batman and Robin respectively.

105 MIN

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