Search - Batman - The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection on DVD

Batman - The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection
Batman - The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection
Actors: Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft, J. Carrol Naish, Shirley Patterson, George Robotham
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     4hr 19min

See how BATMAN really began. BATMAN started it all, and it's now available on DVD for the first time ever! Watch as mild-mannered Bruce Wayne (Lewis Wilson) becomes Batman, the classic superhero who, with Robin (Douglas Cr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft, J. Carrol Naish, Shirley Patterson, George Robotham
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Classics, Superheroes, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/18/2005
Original Release Date: 04/15/1943
Theatrical Release Date: 04/15/1943
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 4hr 19min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Rick B. from GLENVIEW, IL
Reviewed on 4/7/2013...
If you're a Batman fan, this is worth a watch. There's no Commissioner Gordon and no Vicky Vale yet, no bat signal, and no Batmobile.

There is, however, a bat cave (I believe this serial actually added the Bat Cave to the canon), and the most gee-whiz, apple pie Howdy-Doody Robin ever. From what I read, too, William Austin's Alfred look changed how Alfred looked in comic books and in every incarnation of Batman since.

Oh, yeah - the actual movie. Well, it's a serial, kids, and very typical of the era. Cliffhanger where Batman appears doomed every episode, then miraculously in the next episode Batman somehow escaped. Sometimes laughably.

Also Batman loses every fight, I think.

And please excuse the anti-Japanese sentiment, and stereotypical Japanese portrayal of the villain. It was right in the middle of WW II, after all.
Karl V. (walksinstars) from LAS CRUCES, NM
Reviewed on 8/13/2009...
Not to date myself but these movies in this collection take me back to being a kid. Batman is always good this movie collection is just the thing for old movie buffs great nostalgia.

Movie Reviews

William J. Landis | ALBUQUERQUE,NM | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Since the DVD version has yet to be released,I can't comment on that version but have to rely on the VHS Tape which I have.Many reviewers have commented on the "racism" in this serial. Undoubtably they were not alive or at least going to the movies at that time in their life.The serial while it may not be considered politically correct in the present time only reflected the attitude of an nation that was drawn into WW2 by the attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor in 1941.All motion pictures of that era released by the 7 major studios pictured the axis ( Germany,Japan and Italy ) in an unfavorable light just as in the 50's during the Cold War Russia was portrayed in the same manner..Columbia Pictures which is a subsidiary of Sony Corp ( a Japanese entity)is to be congratulated for releasing the serial..I enjoyed it thoroughly.Although Columbia serials were never as well produced as the serials from Republic Pictures,this is one of their better chapter plays. One of the unintended bloopers that I enjoyed seeing was in one of the early chapters. This chapter has Batman fighting with his cape on and the cape mysteriously disappears in mid fight and just as mysteriously reappears before the fight is concluded.I notice the format is listed as color which is incorrect unless Columbia colorized the discs.I do hope they have copied the serial unto dvds with a restored print as the VHS tape was not as clear as it should be.I was disappointed to see that it will be released on 2 disks.All 15 chapters could well fit on one disk."
One of the best DVD serial releases yet!
Laughing Gravy | Sacramento, CA United States | 10/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The 1943 BATMAN is a terrific serial: goofy, funny, and exciting by turns. Not as slick as Republic when it came to chapterplay product, Columbia made up for it with sheer energy and zany enthusiasm. A lake full of alligators under a trapdoor in front of your desk? No problem (although one wonders what the contractors thought, finishing THAT room). There were many embarrassing portrayals of Japanese warlords in '40s serials (Johnny Arthur in THE MASKED MARVEL comes to mind) but J. Carrol Naish strikes just the right balance of looniness and menace. The "zombie-maker" machines seem to have been left over from the Boris Karloff film THE DEVIL COMMANDS, or at least inspired by them, and how come you can't buy stuff like that on the Shopping Network? All that said, the racism in this serial is ugly, even by WWII movie standards, and parents are going to need to talk to their kids when watching it. (Incidentally, a Sony rep advised me that yes, this will be the uncut 1943 version, not the "cleaned up" 1980s video version that removed some of the racist slurs.) I recommend this serial very highly. For more info on this and other serial releases, please visit"
The Very First Batman Movie
Scott Lothrop | Tampa, FL, USA | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before the big glossy Batman movies and the campy 1960's television series there was this little masterpiece. It starts strong with the spooky music over the opening credits. Lambert Hillyer was an experienced B-movie director but this was his first and only serial. He makes it an enjoyable adventure with an unusual sense of humor for a serial. Note the banter between Alfred, Batman, and Robin in the third chapter after Alfred fires a few shots with his eyes closed.

The film has been criticized as racist, which it certainly is, rife with comments like "Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs..." and "your twisted Oriental brain." But that's exactly the way it was at the height of World War Two, so this is really a historical document of the pervasive attitude at that time. The War was still unsettled in 1943, and people were terrified of the Japanese threat. The serial has also been issued in a cleaned-up version, but this one is much more realistic even if it wouldn't be acceptable today. Just try to enjoy it for what it was.

I particularly like Lewis Wilson when he's Bruce Wayne, with his tongue-in-cheek portrayal of a lazy playboy, even though in his Batman guise he displays a bit of a gut that kept him out of the 1949 sequel. He's really a cool dude for 1943.

J. Carrol Naish was a great character actor, garnering two Oscar nominations in a long and distinguished career. He specialized in foreign dialects, and as Dr. Daka he does his best Peter Lorre imitation. Any villain would kill for that living room with the built-in alligator pit.

Douglas Croft (nee Douglas Wheatcroft, 1926-1963) was a successful child actor in the early 1940's. The year before he played Robin in this serial he was in both "Pride of the Yankees" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy," playing Lou Gehrig and James M. Cohan, respectively, as a boy. Not much is known of him as he dropped out of acting later in the decade, and died at the age of only 37.

Shirley Patterson (1921-1995, later known as Shawn Smith) was Miss California of 1940. After this performance she played in B-Westerns opposite Charles Starrett, Johnny Mack Brown, and others. Even Charles Middleton, that all-time favorite serial villain, puts in an appearance starting in Chapter Six, but this time he's on the right side of the law as Dan Colton, who has discovered a radium mine and of course Daka needs radium for his nefarious schemes.

As usual with Columbia serials the fights and the chases don't measure up to Republic's standards, and in general the cliffhangers aren't as good either. But the way Batman escapes from the old room-with-sharp-blades-closing-in routine at the end of Chapter 13 is a classic. The Chapter 14 cliffhanger isn't bad, either.

Be sure to watch for a cameo appearance by Bob Kane, the original creator of Batman. He's the young man who plays a newsboy who sells a newspaper to Bruce Wayne early in the first chapter."