To rejoice the launch of The Batman, VFAN writers have published about their all-time favorite Caped Crusader films from Adam West to Ben Affleck
Of all the superheroes, DC Comics’ Batman is now endowed with the most Dostoyevskian seriousness. It wasn’t normally like this. And, in my coronary heart, my favourite Batman is the 1st film edition, from 1966, which grew out of the wacky Tv set exhibit in the era of Get Intelligent and I Desire Of Jeannie and Mad journal. As youngsters, we watched the software religiously on Tv set, which is where I caught up with the movie about Batman and Robin getting on Joker, Penguin, Catwoman and Riddler – in no way dreaming that it was anything at all other than deadly serious. I viewed it in the exact same spirit as I now check out Michael Mann movies. I was thrilled by the (genuinely) propulsive and thrilling “dinner-dinner-dinner-dinner” topic tune (how I resented the vulgar playground joke about what Batman’s mum shouts out of the window to get him in at mealtimes) and quivered at the outstanding, psychedelically conceived title-cards for fights: BAM! I also fanatically pored around the novelisation tie-in – Batman vs The Fearsome Foursome.
The clearly show-stopper was the famous, entertainingly tense sequence the place Batman can’t locate everywhere to dispose of a smoking cigarettes bomb, a little something that undoubtedly influenced the afterwards Zucker/Abrahams comedies. Adam West performed the sonorous Bruce Wayne and Batman and Burt Ward was Robin (confusingly, his change moi Dick Grayson was usually described as Wayne’s “ward”). Their costumes, with luxuriant silk capes, were gorgeous. Amazing acting expertise lined up for the villains: Latin lover Cesar Romero was the Joker veteran Hollywood character transform Burgess Meredith was Penguin, Lee Meriwether fused glamour and comedy as Catwoman (replacing TV’s Julie Newmar) and impressionist and night-club comedian Frank Gorshin was Riddler. A lot is reported about the campiness of this display – and of course, there is a circumstance for retrospectively re-deciphering this Batman and Robin as a covert queer statement. (In actuality, it was Cesar Romero who kept the press guessing about his sexuality.) But in a way, it was more about goofiness as part of the Sixties Zeitgeist: becoming foolish, even at this level, was countercultural seriousness. I suspect that every single solitary Batman director, from Joel Schumacher to Christopher Nolan, measures their get the job done against the addictive Day-Glo potency of the ’66 Batman. Pow! Peter Bradshaw
Go on looking through…