Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Favorite Movies: Batman!

OK, I'm not talking about the Michael Keaton Batman here, let me make that clear. No, I'm talking about the Adam West/Burt Ward movie, a big-screen version of the 1966 Batman TV series. This movie has been a favorite of mine since the first time I saw it as a kid on TV. Apparently, it must've aired a number of times when I was a kid, or lease it was just plain memorable, as my siblings and I would often play the climactic submarine battle (you know, where they fight on the surfaced Penguin submarine, and villains keep falling into the water).

The movie featured villains the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman -- all played by the TV version actors, save for Catwoman, who was played by Lee Meriwether (Julie Newmar was tied up with a different movie at the time, I don't recall which one. It's a shame, too, because I think she would've been better than Lee, not that she didn't do a good job in it).

The plot was outlandish as all hell... it involved the use of a dehydrator ray that could remove all the liquid from a human being (or presumably, anything else), and then reconstitute the powder when rehydrated. This also involved the Penguin buying a US surplus navy submarine to use as a base of operations, as well as the Penguin taking the place of Commodore Schmidtlap, and Catwoman taking on the identity of a Russian reporter. The ultimate plan was to dehydrate the main council of the United Nations (or their stand-in for the movie), and hold them for ransom.

The movie takes a number of twists and turns, and provides many sequences that fans recall to this day and make reference to... such as the Bat-Shark Repellent, used when Batman is attacked by an obviously rubber shark... or a later scene when Batman has to get rid of a bomb, and everywhere he goes to try to get rid of it provides one reason after another why he can't dispose of it there ("Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!").

The movie served as the opportunity for the TV show to get some new vehicles produced with the movie budget that would be used on the show, namely the Bat-Copter and the Batboat (both of which were reproduced in toy form for years afterwards).

The biggest difference between the movie and the TV show was the lack of the classic TV theme song, as well as a greater variety of locations. Unlike some times in the TV show, Batman is not fooled at all by the Penguin's disguise as the Commodore, although he does still bring him to the Batcave (using Bat-Sleep Gas to keep the location a secret).

It's a very fun movie to watch, and one I kind of wish I could have seen on the big screen. I've only ever watched it on TV, and later on DVD, naturally. My kids have seen this, too, and they both love it, so its appeal spans generations.

As I noted, the movie's been out on DVD, and until pretty recently, it's the only incarnation of the Adam West Batman to get a DVD release, because apparently there were different licensing agreements signed for the movie than the TV show.

It's been a while since I've seen it... at least a few years, in fact. I think it might be time to check it out again soon!


  1. I like it too. Have it on DVD.

  2. I assume you know, but in case you don't, the BATMAN TV show _finally_ hits DVD and Blu-ray on November 11!

  3. Hi Jon,
    I believe the movie Julie made instead for Columbia was McKenna's Gold.
    Hope this helps!


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