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Monday, January 31, 2011

Superhero: Tune in Next Week

Just four years after the Batman debuted in comics and only three years after he was joined by Robin, the Dynamic Duo found their way on to celluloid in the Batman serial in 1943. Peppered with anti-Japanese WWII sentiment and a very racist portrayal of the Nipponese villain by a Caucasian actor in "yellowface," (J. Carroll Naish, who would later portray Charlie Chan as well) this serial still managed to be exciting and fun. CGI was non-existent in  those days, so it's all just camerawork and stuntwork that bring the comics to life on screen. Surprisingly gruesome for a movie chapter play aimed at kids, the Batman serial is an interesting slice of history as well as a novel diversion for comic buffs.

There was another serial made in 1949, Batman and Robin, with a different line-up of actors, but I think that the earlier series (racism aside) was better made.

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