The storyline of 1966's Batman offers up the four main villains from the series -- The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether, subbing for a previously committed Julie Newmar) -- uniting to bring down Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) once and for all. Using a device known as a dehydrator, they kidnap the United World Security Council, determined to use their crime to dismantle the organization and take over the world. With the leaders now turned to dust, our bad-guy-busting duo must save the day, hopefully restoring the assembly before the planet devolves into chaos.
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Manna From Heaven is the story of a Buffalo family who one day discover $20,000 "raining from heaven," wisely decide to split it up, and then go on their merry ways. A decade or so later, every last one of them has grown up to be a loser, having squandered his or her (mostly her) share of the loot. The lone exception is Theresa (Ursula Burton... well of course the good one is going to be played by a Burton sister!) who has become an ash-on-the-forehead nun. In fact, Theresa becomes convinced that the 20 grand of so long ago was not a gift but a loan, and that they must now "pay it back."
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The story is pretty straightforward, as Twin Peaks' James Marshall finds the plates in his possession and discovers has warring factions of thugs as well as cops immediately on his ass. Frankly, that rather pedestrian story occupies the entire film, and it doesn't merit much additional detail.
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Everything's jake to Johnny Twenties. Johnny is a newspaper man, see. He's got moxie and nobody's gonna play him for a sucker -- even if he is blissfully unaware of the world he lives in.
You see, Johnny Twenties is about 70 years behind the times. He's a fast-talkin', wise-crackin' upright joe straight out of a Howard Hawks comedy -- but he's resides in Manhattan, circa 1999.
The fedora-sporting hero of the neo-B-grade, screwball comedy "Man of the Century," Johnny is the invention of screenwriters Adam Abraham (who directed the film) and Gibson Frazier (who plays Johnny), who have created an ingenious homage to the kind of flicks that came and went in a week the 1920s and 1930s -- the kind of dime-a-dozen comedies that delighted the masses during the Depression, but will probably never be seen on American Movie Classics now.
Continue reading: Man Of The Century Review
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