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 anyone even like this bit with the important questions?’ and ‘Like, if I just stopped doing this, would people be up in arms? Oh not the question thing, that was funny, why did you stop doing that? Would they ask that? Shit. I don’t know man. What am I even doing?’ Today is Chapter 8 in the 15 part serial: Lured By Radium!
Last time on Batman, the Incompetent Knight was knocked down an elevator shaft by Daka’s gang members, who sent an elevator down to crush him before running off. They really should have a rule for these cliffhangers, your protagonist escaping from danger should at least be as exciting as your protagonist getting into danger. Getting thrown from a great height, knocked out and threatened with being crushed should have a more creative and entertaining resolution than ‘But then Robin gets up and shuts off the elevator’. Also, as long as I’m workshopping 70 year old movies, you don’t need to show Robin running all the way down two flights of stairs until he gets to Batman to see if he’s okay, you can just cut to that. Try to remember that next time, dead people.
|Exciting Stair Action!!|
Linda Page is convinced that the disappearance of Colton, his radium mine and her missing uncle are linked somehow and she wants to check it out. She’s finally getting proactive, which the Patriarchal Crusader shuts down right quick, with Bruce patronisingly laughing at her concerns, telling her that he’s sure everything’s fine and that there is no point in doing anything. This is her family and friends in danger Batfedora, she has as much right to check it out as you do. When she won’t be dissuaded, he agrees that he and Dick will go with her to Colton’s radium mine to check it out. Alfred goes with them to, but Bruce doesn’t mention him because Bruce doesn’t see Alfred as a person.
|Every time Linda raises an opinion or suggestion, he cocks his eyebrow like he's The Rock|
So, we see the area that Colton’s mine is, and it appears to be the town of Bedrock.
Colton agreed to tell Daka and his men where his mine after they tortured him, so while he’s tied up in the mobsters car they drive to it, stopping to get water for their car from a stereotypical Native American. The mobster getting the water calls him “Sitting Bull”, you would think that that’s supposed to make us not like him because he’s a bad guy, but with Batman 1943 it’s hard to tell. After passing Colton’s cabin, they get to the radium mine, and I mean, they’re not really dressed for a mine, they’re all wearing well-tailored suits. Pack some overalls lads. Colton manages to slip away from the mobsters in the mine. He basically uses the aul “hey look over there!” trick on a guy and smashes his lantern over his head.
On unwittingly hot pursuit of the mobsters are Bruce, Dick, Alfred and Linda. They have a an awkward conversation with aul Sitting Bull, getting directions to the mine from him and seemingly, buying a useless trinket from him because his English is bad and neither party can communicate well enough to end this exchange. We’ve all been on holiday, we’ve been there. Linda asks them to check out Colton’s cabin in case he’s there, which he isn’t, leading her to remark “I’m sorry fellas, I guess my women’s intuition failed again”. You could cite this serial in papers about race and gender studies, I swear to God. Someone get Linda a copy of The Feminine Mystique. Anyway, Bruce and Dick tell her to stay in the cabin with Alfred while they check out the mine. At the same time, the mobsters send guys to check the cabin in case Colton went there. Oh we’re on a collision course for excitement now!
Bruce and Dick spot the mobsters down the mine and decide to change into their costumes for a good old fashioned chapter-ending slobberknocker. It turns out that the mine leads to the cabin, as Colton emerges from a trapdoor, startling Linda and Alfred. He startles them even more when he announces that he’s going to use dynamite to blow up the entire radium mine with Daka’s men inside. They send Alfred to run after Bruce and Dick to warn them, which means another entry into the Alfred Treated Badly file. Alfred’s fecking old, he can’t run!
Alfred gets caught almost immediately by mobsters, who don’t buy his excuse that he’s on ‘physician’s orders’ to get a good run in every day, probably because he’s 75 and he looks like his heart is about to explode. They take him back to the cabin, and when Linda sees them, she runs down into the mine with Colton. Batman and Robin explore the mine, which Batman might consider moving into, because this actually looks like a cave, not a Bat Office. They get into a fight with the mobsters down the mine, just as Colton is hooking up his dynamite. Colton and Linda can see Batman and Robin fighting and, come on, how could they not know Batman and Robin are Bruce and Dick at this point? There is no one in this area for miles around. Bruce and Dick said they were going to the mine, then two lads of similar build just happen to show up in the mine, with Bruce and Dick nowhere to be seen? I know you have to have suspension of disbelief with superheroes, but who else is going to be Batman, Sitting Bull? Colton gets involved in the fighting, he gets pushed onto the dynamite plunger and there is a big explosion. They blew up the mine! I better not watch the next chapter and find out that Robin just turned the dynamite off!
And so, with everybody obviously buried dead in the mine, we get a glimpse into next week from the Narrator, as a Brand New Character is introduced: “This tough looking character (he is dressed in a suit and hat like 98% of characters in this serial) calls himself Chuck White-is he friend or foe? Daka would like to know the answer to that question! Who is Chuck White pointing that gun at? And why is he being attacked? Don’t fail to see ‘The Sign of the Sphinx’, Chapter 9 of Batman, at this theatre next week!” I do like how the Narrator sounds like he’s a child just watching everything for the first time. “Who’s that? What’s going on? Are they gonna fight? Where’s Batman?” Will Racist Narrator ever grow up/figure out what’s going on? Will he figure out that 'Chuck White' is very, very obviously just Bruce Wayne? To find out, tune in next week, same Hack Time, same Hack Channel!
Chapter 1: The Electrical Brain!
Chapter 2: The Bat's Cave!
Chapter 3: Mark of the Zombies
Chapter 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun!
Chapter 5: The Living Corpse!
Chapter 6: Poison Peril!
Chapter 7: The Phoney Doctor!
Check out previous chapters!