Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Holy Popcorn! It's Batman's

Cleveland Press August 11, 1966

The Batman series was the biggest non dramatic drama series of last year's television season so it is only fitting that "Batman" is the biggest non-movie of the current motion picture offerings.

As befits a movie of this non-caliber, it stars the world's most popular non-actor, Adam West, as the Caped Crusader.

But holy box office, it really doesn't matter. Audiences, mostly kids, will make it successful.

Big screen, color and length doesn't make this any better -- only more exhausting.

As they have on TV, the producers have awkwardly tried to make this as bad as possible. For therein lies the humor of the whole preposterous affair.

It is just that on the small tube one is exposed to this for only a matter of minutes. The repetitions come about weekly, not at a single sitting. But the film is not without laughs.

TO PAD THIS OUT to feature length the Dynamic Duo is faced with not one but (holy fiendishness!) four villains. Organized as the U. U. (United Underworld) are the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), the Joker (Cesar Romero) the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and the Catwoman (Lee Meriwether).

The four are dedicated to two projects -- elimination of Batman and Robin and control of the entire world.

One predicament after another almost defeats our heroes.

See . . .

A SHARK almost devouring Batman . . .

TORPEDOES headed right for the pair as they float helplessly on a buoy . . .

A BOMB, its fuse sputtering, in the hands of Batman as he tries to dispose of it without hurting innocent bystanders. These include a saloonful of drunks -- "They may drink, Robin, but they're human beings."

A MlSSILE hitting their Batcopter sending them crashing to the earth . . .

ROMANCE -- holy heartbreak! -- almost entangling Bruce Wayne (Batman) when he meets a Russian temptress who is the Catwoman in disguise.

Will moonlight, dancing and allure defeat him? Does he realize his danger as he sits in her apartment waiting for a cup of hot cocoa?

Meredith, Romero and Gorshin have a ham actor's field day as they leap about in their zany characterizations. Miss Meriwether, handling the role done by Julie Newmar on TV, is a sinuous, sensuous Catwoman as she undulates all over the screen.

The Neal Hefti Batman theme is used only briefly. The rest of the background music was composed by Nelson Riddle and is bland by comparison.

Almost two hours is a trifle long for a movie intended for younger kids. Remember, there are no commercial breaks for kids to do whatever they do during commercial breaks.

If the secret of ridding the world of pop art and camp culture is over exposure, this movie may do it with sheer length.