Virgil Films & Entertainment has targeted Nov. 18 as the DVD debut date for documentary filmmaker Brett Culp’s Legends of the Knight.
Since the height of World War II, when Lewis Wilson became the first actor to portray Batman on the silver screen in director Lambert Hillyer’s 1943 serial (15 thrill-packed chapters) for Columbia Pictures — it was simply titled Batman — this crime-fighting hero has been a part of American culture.
Even before that as the comic book creation of Bob Kane (beginning in 1936). Following the war, director Spencer Gordon Bennet delivered Batman and Robin, a second 15-chapter serial adventure in 1949, this time starring Robert Lowery as the mysterious Gotham crime-fighter.
It wasn’t until 1966 that Batman and his trusty sidekick Robin returned to the screen. Adam West teamed with Burt Ward for the 1966 theatrical release of Batman, which was an offshoot of the popular TV series (also starring West and Ward) that was launched the same year.
Of note, the Batman TV series will be heading to home entertainment as a complete collection on Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Nov. 11, so Virgil Films timing here is spot-on.
For years the character was relegated to the world of animation; TV adventures, etc. but then in 1989 the character of Batman was re-launched as a theatrical vehicle (big-budget and all) with Michael Keaton as the super hero in director Tim Burton’s smash film hit of the same name, Batman.
He reprised the role in 1992 in Batman Returns (also directed by Burton) … Val Kilmer took over in 1995 (Batman Forever), George Clooney followed in 1997 (Batman & Robin) … and then once again the legendary super hero of Bob Kane comic book inspiration dropped out of sight.
In 2005 director Christopher Nolan teamed with actor Christian Bale to re-imagine Batman with a trio of mega-theatrical hits — Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Filmmaker Brett Culp, inspired by tales of ordinary people taking on the Batman persona — coupled with the latest wave of cinematic tales — took to the streets to document their stories. They range from the mundane to the inspirational, but all connect to Batman as a source to either do wonderful acts of kindness and generosity, or, quite simply, as a source of strength to get them from one day to the next.
The result, Legends of the Knight, is a delightful and always fascinating bit of storytelling … all the more so in that it is drawn from the tales of ordinary Batmen (and women).