Welcome to the latest instalment of Mister Cinecal Reviews Batman 1943, my unwieldy-titled series which looks back at the very first Batman film and asks the important questions, like ‘Does anything even happen this week? ’ and ‘Does Batman even need a costume since no one seems to recognise Bruce Wayne?’ Today is Chapter 5 in the 15 part serial: The Living Corpse!
The Living Corpse, which is not actually a corpse, is not to be confused with The Living Brain, which was Chapter 1, and was also kind of an odd title now that I think of it. Brains are generally alive more often than not, no? And Daka’s whole thing was brainwashing, so if anything his brains were less alive than average…regardless, last week’s chapter ended with Batman inside the bad guy’s car as it fell off a cliff. This week, he rolls away just in time. Again, Anne Wilkes would not be impressed. I can only hope the writers of this serial had their legs broken with a sledgehammer. Robin comes up and Batman tells him to go down and help the guys who were in the car. Robin, son, don’t even bother, they’re all so much paste at this point.
Daka must be getting frustrated at this point as his takeover of the United States has been very stop-start. Every time it seems like it’s going to get going and he’s going to get his hands on some radium one of his guys falls from a large height and he’s back to square one. He gets a message over short wave radio from a Japanese submarine. They communicate with him directly, just keep that in mind. The sub tells Prince Daka that they have a special package they’re sending for him to pick up at Smuggler’s Rock, which is like Makeout Point levels of literal naming. Daka tells his boys to rent a hearse and get the package.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick are back in their lab. Generally they’re spending most of these transitional scenes in this lab, rather than the bat cave. The paper bat on a string must have been too expensive to maintain so they couldn’t overuse that set. Bruce asks Alfred for his mail but Alfred’s like, there’s just this blank piece of paper. What an idiot! Does he not even know that by mixing random chemicals you just have laying around on your desk together you can make invisible ink visible? Do they even have schools in England? These are all things I assume Bruce is wondering as he hates his butler in this. The secret message is from the government telling Batman to protect a new plane being developed nearby at Lockwood. So Bruce and Dick get undercover jobs working there to guard the plane. Does nobody recognise billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne? His extravagant effort to disguise himself is just a cap (thankfully he’s abandoned last week’s turban) but he can just take up a job at Lockwood no questions asked? Maybe a nice hat is the Gotham equivalent of glasses in Metropolis.
Back at Daka’s hideout his goons have returned with a coffin. They open it and are shocked to find the corpse of a Japanese soldier inside. Apparently being asked to ride up in a hearse and pick up a coffin didn’t make it obvious enough for them. Daka tells them that he’s just been rendered psychically unconscious (?) and gives the soldier a hearty dose of electricity to wake him up. Says Daka “welcome to the country that will soon be a colony of our expanding empire”, you can see why that greeting never caught on. The soldier tells Daka to get that plane at Lockwood and then rendezvous with the submarine, he gives him a map of Lockwood and then he dies.
...could they, could they not have just told him that over the radio? This was not in any way necessary. They did have to deliver the map thing but they could have just used…you know…a box or something. I’m wondering if there’s just one guy sitting in the war room in Tokyo like “can we pitch some strategies that don’t involve us dying? Can we get off this please?” Sure there are spies and everything but ringing ahead to tell someone to pick up a coffin, reviving the guy in the coffin, getting his message and then disposing of his body when he dies seconds later is a much slower process than just using codewords. That’s what codewords are for dummies, no wonder you guys lost.
|Supposedly more convenient than a box and a phone call|
The bad guys sneak their way into Lockwood by zombifying up two guys who already work there. They rope them in to taking the racist ride thing that makes up Daka’s hideout, then Daka comes out to distract them and they think he’s part of the ride (they tell him his accent needs work, hard to disagree). Robin sees the guys sneaking around, but gets knocked out again, he’s hardly going to be able to walk by the end of this film. But luckily he gets a warning off just as the plane takes off. Batman is on the plane fighting the zombies but the US army, shoot the plane down. These fakeout deaths are certainly getting more extravagant. Again by the end of this film, it’ll be the end of the war and Batman will just roll away from the A-bomb being dropped in time.
|Don't worry kids. Mere stock footage is no match for Batman, he'll be fine!|
Take it away Racist Narrator! “This man has discovered a rich radium mine, which Daka is determined to steal! Will Daka’s men overpower the Rugged Prospector and will Robin be able to upset Daka’s fatal plans? Don’t fail to see ‘Poison Peril’ Chapter 6 of Batman, at this theatre next week!”
…Rugged Prospector? Well you definitely have to come back next week to see what the deal with the Rugged Prospector is, same Hack Time, same Hack Channel! (This means next Friday)
Check out previous chapters!
Check out previous chapters!
- Chapter 1: The Electrical Brain!
- Chapter 2: The Bat's Cave!
- Chapter 3: Mark of the Zombies
- Chapter 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun!