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The Bat (1926)
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, Sôjin, 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.
- Batman is to The Bat as Nosfertu is to Dracula....sort of. Maybe. I don't know a
If you want more proof that this film definitely had a big inspiration on Batman's creation, then feel free to check out this online article, as I'm sure you'll find it very educational.