Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BATMAN Chapter 8 (September 3, 1943)

"Lured by Radium" 
Screenplay: Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, Harry Fraser
Director: Lambert Hillyer
Producer: Rudolph C. Flothow
Last Time: Dr Daka has captured radium mine owner Colton. Batman and Robin track Daka's men to a Japanese laundry, but after a fight, Robin is knocked out and Batman's been tossed down an elevator shaft -- about to be crushed by the loading elevator! 

Synopsis: If you guessed that Robin would just get up off the ground and then hit the "off" switch on the elevator to save Batman, congrats. Luckily the actual fall down the shaft didn't seem to do any damage either.
As Bruce and Dick they meet up with Linda, who's decided to go look for Colton herself, following his map to his cabin. Bruce is a big dick about it for a while, but eventually gets her to agree to bring the two of them along without making them seem to eager about it.
Meanwhile, Daka still has Colton, so after he again refuses to take them to his radium mine, they put him into the zombie machine. They turn on the machine for a few moments and Colton immediately relents, agreeing to take them to the mine.
They drive out into the (California) countryside, with Colton leading them to the mine entrance. This leads to the hilarious sight of Colton, in a wide brimmed hat and suit, leading a bunch of mobsters, also in suits and fedoras, into a mine carrying lanterns and pickaxes. Like, you guys are a bit overdressed for this? Colton leads them into the tunnels a bit, and of couse makes a try at escaping.
Bruce, Dick, Linda and Alfred follow some time after, getting directions from a Indigenous man at a trading post who gives perfectly clear directions but his broken English gets a real racist response from Dick, unfortunately. They head up to Colton's cabin. When they don't find him there, Bruce leaves Alfred and Linda at the cabin while he and Dick go to take a look at the cave entrance that leads to the mine.
After spotting the gangster's car outside the mine, Bruce and Dick change to Batman and Robin and engage the crooks in fisticuffs inside the mine. Meanwhile, Colton shows up in his cabin, emerging through a trap door in the floor. He decides to dynamite the mine with the claim jumpers inside. Unfortunately Batman and Robin are down there too, and an attempt to warn them ends up with Colton, Linda, Batman, Robin, and the gangsters all down in the mineshaft when the dynamite goes off!
Next Time: Some new character named Chuck White wants in on Daka's gang, but what does he really want?

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Thoughts and Review: I guess you could say there's some forward momentum in this episode, with the characters all finally going to Colton's mine -- although its a little unclear if it's actually a mine, a cave with ore in it that Colton intends to mine, etc. Ultimately it's good to finally move this little subplot forward, especially as it takes up so many episodes of this serial. It's pretty standard A to B plotting, although the scenes with the Indian at the trading post are really cringeworthy. He speaks in a kind of "me Tarzan, you Jane" style English, but he tells the group "Colton Cabin, right road; Colton cave, left road" and Dick says "that's clear as mud!" Really Dick? What a little asshole. The scenes where Bruce keeps playing at being a disinterested jerk with Linda are also starting to wear thin, as she's seriously upset about things like her missing uncle, his missing friend, etc etc, and Bruce keeps trying to play like she shouldn't be so concerned. Ultimately I'd say this is an average installment. 

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