William Dozier

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Batman (1966) Review


Good
If you're old enough, you remember when Batman first became a cultural phenomenon. No, not when Tim Burton tagged then-comedian Michael Keaton and Oscar-winning warhorse Jack Nicholson to play the Caped Crusader and his joking nemesis, respectively. Forty years ago, every kid in America was glued to their living room TV set, awaiting the moment when the familiar Neal Hefti theme music would announce another amazing adventure with the crime fighter and the boy wonder Robin. So successful was the '60s version that at the height of its popularity it actually aired twice a week. Naturally, ABC wanted to maximize its prime time hit's potential, so in between seasons one and two, a full length motion picture was produced.

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.

Continue reading: Batman (1966) Review

The Big Bounce (1969) Review


Weak
Alex March takes his sweet time getting us to even a small bounce, much less the titular big one.

In the parlance of Elmore Leonard's 1960s novel, a bounce refers to a crime, and party girl Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young in one of her first screen roles) is really into bouncing. When drifter Jack Ryan (no, not that Jack Ryan), played by Ryan O'Neal, shows up, Nancy encourages Jack's bad-boy past, goading him into riding along on her minor crime wave. Eventually of course that takes a turn for the worse (this being an Elmore Leonard book), and while much of this is obviously intended as twisty comedy a la Get Shorty, television director Alex March never gets a firm grasp of the material, leaving the proceedings quite flat. The big finale couldn't be more unsatisfying.

Continue reading: The Big Bounce (1969) Review

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