The Bat (1926)

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Say hello to the man simply known as "The Bat!"
Say hello to the man simply known as "The Bat!" | Source

The Bat (1926)

Director: Roland West

Writers: Avery Hopwood, Julien Josephson, George Marion Jr., Mary Roberts Rinehart, Roland West

Cast: George Beranger, Charles Herzinger, Emily Fitzroy, Louise Fazenda, Arthur Housman, Robert McKim, Jack Pickford, Jewel Carmen, SĂ´jin, Tullio Carminati, Eddie Gribbon, Lee Shumway

Synopsis: A masked criminal who dresses like a giant bat terrorizes the guests at an old house rented by a mystery writer.

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Note: This movie was one of the main inspirations behind the iconic superhero, "Batman." In honor of my upcoming review of "The Dark Knight Rises", this will be the first of many hubs to celebrate the final movie in Nolan's trilogy. I hope you all enjoy reading, and the pictures up above are all from this movie by the way, for those wanting more proof this film had a heavy influence on creating the Dark Knight.

Brittany Elliott's excerpt form "The Bat", where she adds a musical score to it. In the original, there was no sound, or music whatsoever.

Before there was Batman, we had...THE BAT!

Beware folks, as the menacing criminal known simply as "The Bat" is on the loose. Who is this Bat person you ask? He's a man that dresses up like a giant bat, while scaring the living crap out of everyone. Heck, he even has his handy utility bag full of gadgets like a grappling hook, and he even uses a trademark bat symbol that he flashes to invoke fear into others.

No, it's not Batman, but it's the character that Bob Kane admits was the inspiration behind the character. Needless to say, I think the term "inspired" probably translates more along the lines of ripping off the character more than anything else. But hey, if Disney can get away with ripping off "Kimba: The White Lion" with "The Lion King", then I'm sure the American public can forgive Bob Kane for deliberately ripping off "The Bat" with "Batman." Wink...wink.. I do apologize if I'm coming off as a smart a** with that remark about Bob Kane, but I couldn't resist seeing the obvious similarities between "The Bat" and "Batman."

Before I review this movie, I should tell all my readers that this is a true silent film, with absolutely no sound or music in the background whatsoever. Therefore, if you watch this movie, then you're not going to hear any music at all, so I would only recommend this film to those that truly love silent movies. Or, you could listen to a CD or whatever while watching this movie, but it's really up to you. However, I just thought I'd give you readers a fair warning ahead of time about that. Now, that we've established that "The Bat" is a true silent movie, we can move on with the review.

The movie centers around a criminal mastermind, who dresses like a giant bat to steal jewelry and money from various places. Nobody knows who this mysterious criminal is, as he travels across rooftops using a complicated system of grappling hooks, while donning a black cape. Yep, you really are a louse Mr. Kane. Anyway, "The Bat" even uses a gun to shoot people. Wait a minute, didn't "Batman" used to have a gun to shoot people too? Oh my god, was there anything that Bob Kane didn't rip off from this movie to create Batman!?! Okay, I'll stop with the jokes, as I'm just having way too much fun with this review. Besides, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Bob Kane, so I do apologize if I'm p***ing off a lot of die hard "Batman" fans out there. Trust me, in terms of superhero films, "Batman" is clearly the best among his peers.

Anyway, to get back to the review, "The Bat" is a mysterious man who dresses up like a bat to scare people, while committing various thefts. The movie takes place in a dark secluded mansion that's being rented by a mystery writer. Although the film does play a key influence in the creation of Batman, it's worth pointing out this movie plays more along the lines of an old school horror film. "The Bat" is based off a Broadway play that was later adapted into a movie by Roland West in 1926.

In the film, seven people are inside the spooky darkly lit mansion, and one of them could potentially be "The Bat" himself. But who could it be? I can't really say, as part of this film's allure is finding out for yourselves. But, I will say this, the film keeps you in suspense, and shrouds it's story in enough mystery to keep the audience guessing throughout the movie.

Another thing that works ingenuously for "The Bat" is the clever use of lighting throughout the movie, where it shows you just enough to see the Bat whenever he's on the prowl, but it's dark enough to where it allows viewers' imagination to wander, to build up the suspense.

Although I hesitate to call this film scary, but I did enjoy the humor aspects of the movie meshed in the horror mystery elements of it. I especially liked the maid in this movie, as she was riot to watch on screen. In one scene for instance, the detective asks her how old she is, as part of his investigation. As she tries to flirt with him, she lies saying she's twenty two; which prompts one of the other characters say that she's really forty. Needless to say, I couldn't stop laughing when I saw that joke in the movie. Even if you're not remotely scared by this movie, you can still find fairly reasonable enjoyment from the humor and mystery factor of "The Bat" to still appreciate it as a film.

For the time period, the cinematography was very well done. I especially loved the overall tone of the movie itself to where it was just dark enough to buy into the atmosphere "The Bat" tries to create, while still remaining light enough to where the humor never felt out of place. Unfortunately, that's not to say this film isn't without it's flaws. The movie tends to drag at times, which causes some pacing issues. However, it's never enough to where it ruins the movie, as "The Bat" is still a fairly interesting horror, mystery and comedy film to watch.

Overall, I don't think this movie will appeal to everyone, unless you're really into old school silent movies. However, if you're a fan of silent films in general, then it's definitely worth watching. And if you're a die hard Batman fan, then you might still be interested to see this movie if only to see where Bob Kane got his inspiration for the character from. "The Bat" may not be the scariest horror film that I've ever seen, nor would I go on record to say this is the best silent movie that I've seen either. However, for what the movie happens to be, I thought it was pretty good. It's definitely worth seeing at a rating of three out of four.

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Comments 10 comments

montecristo profile image

montecristo 4 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

My, My, My...You learn something every day. I still am a Bob Kane fan, but thanks for sharing!


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

No problem Montecristo, and thank you for stopping by. :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I read the original story by Mary Roberts Rinehart when I was a kid...I found a tattered copy in the upstairs bookcase one rainy day. I really thought the story was a bit stupid and unbelievable, but something about it pulled me in, and I read it straight through. Fascinating that this story was the inspiration for "Batman"! Thanks for yet another great review.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Your welcome paradise, and thanks for stopping by to check out my review on the movie. And, thanks for sharing that insightful story with us. I think it's amazing that this story served as one of the main influences behind batman.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by again. :)


gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

It looks like a very interesting movie. The pictures are really great. I enjoyed watching the video. I liked the lighting in the movie. It did look kind of scary. Pretty good movie.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Thanks. You should definitely try to check out the full version of the film though, as it's pretty interesting; especially if you're into silent films. Anyway, thanks for stopping by gail. :)


gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

Your welcome. I will try to check out the full version of the film.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

That's good. Well, I hope you enjoy the movie then whenever you get a chance to see it. :)


Geekdom profile image

Geekdom 3 years ago

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. The information, pictures and youtube video were amazing.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 3 years ago Author

Your welcome, and thank you for stopping by to read my hub.

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