Plot: What’s it about?
As World War II rages on, the fate of the free world remains in doubt, but freedom faces enemies other than those they’re aware of. One such enemy is Dr. Tito Daka (J. Carrol Naish), a scientist who has been working on some inventions that would serve to hinder, not help mankind. Or at least most of mankind, as his creations would help him, of course. He has a pit of vicious alligators poised to devour his opposition, but even cruel fate is better than what some men will endure. He has created a method by which to turn normal men and women into zombies of sorts. These transformed people serve only his wishes and can even communicate back to him with updates on their progress. But Dr. Daka will not be able to nurse his evil plans to fruition without obstacles, because Batman is hot on his trail…
I really became interested in movie serials when I collected laserdiscs, I would pick up whatever serials I could find, good ones and bad. I eventually began to import serials and trade tapes, in order to screen hard to find serials. Of all the serials I have seen, I would rank Batman as one of the top five, damn close to the best, as I just loved this serial. When Sony released Batman and Robin, I was pleased, but more for the potential of this release, which is now here. This is how a serial should be done, good production values, performances, and atmosphere, a real treat from start to finish. This is the darker version of Batman, a faithful take on the early comics that is more horror than superhero. The emotion is high here also, thanks to the performances and of course, writing involved in the serial. I cannot recommend Batman’s 1943 serial enough, this is a well crafted serial and even if you’re not a serial fan, you’ll love this one.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. The state of serials on DVD isn’t all that great, as a lot of labels push out public domain titles in poor treatments. But for this release, Sony went back to the original negative and hammered out some terrific work. The image is impressive throughout the episodes, with prints that are quite clean. I did see some lines in the episodes, but these were minor and on the whole, the series look great. The visuals come off as sharp, with a lot of detail and refinement, while contrast is top rate and never falters much at all.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is no great shakes however, with mono soundtracks, but even new high end surround remixes wouldn’t be of much use here. You’ll hear some crackles, hiss, and pops, but not enough to be that concerned about. Just normal wear and for these movies, its kind of a surprise the elements are in this good of condition. The heroic music, maniacal laughs, and normal dialogue all come through in fine fashion. A few scenes sound better than others, but across the board, the audio is never less than solid. So nothing that memorable, but all in all, the audio is more than up to par, for the material involved. In a move we see too often these days from Sony, no subtitles have been provided, which is not cool.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes no bonus materials.