The Movie Review Guy Best Movies for 2013
Dec 31, 2013
The Top 80 movies from the 1980's in 80 Days ( DAY 76):
5. “Batman” (1989)
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.
Michael Keaton—Batman/Bruce Wayne
Jack Nicholson—Joker/Jack Napier
Kim Basinger—Vicki Vale
Robert Wuhl—Alexander Knox
Pat Hingle—Commissioner James Gordon
Billy Dee Williams—Harvey Dent
Michael Gough—Alfred Pennyworth
Jack Palance—Carl Grissom
Jerry Hall—Alicia Hunt
Tracey Walter—Bob the Goon
Lee Walter—The Mayor
William Hookins—Lt. Eckhaedt
Facts about the this movie:
*Opening Weekend: $40,489,746 (2194 Screens)
*Gross: $411,348,924 (Worldwide)
*In Sam Hamm's original script, the first time we see Smylex's effect (called Smylenol in the script) is on the two female models, who are only represented as cardboard cut-outs in Joker's commercial. The original scene has them in a bikini photo session with a photographer who is urging them to smile more as he snaps away. The girls begin to giggle, which at first pleases the photographer, then their giggles become laughter, then uncontrollable helpless hysterics, which has the photographer going from mild annoyance to complete horror as the exhausted girls expire from forced hilarity, with the ghastly Joker-like grins frozen on their faces. As it was originally intended, the death scene is much more protracted than the one with the female newscaster, depicting death by Smylex as a particularly agonizing, if mirthful, way to go.
*The first draft of this movie was written in 1980 by Superman co-writer Tom Mankiewicz and told the story of Batman's and Robin's origins. The villains were The Joker and The Penguin, and Rupert Thorne and Barbara Gordon were also to appear. At the end Robin was to appear in costume (much like Batman Forever). It was going to be released in 1985 with a budget of $20 million, but with producers Michael E. Uslan and Benjamin Melniker booted off the production, the project was shelved until Jon Peters and Peter Guber picked it up. In 1985, after the surprise success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the studio offered the job to Tim Burton. Unsatisfied with the Mankiewicz script, Burton and his then girlfriend Julie Hickson wrote a 30-page treatment of the project. This treatment was approved by both the producers and studio. In 1986 Burton met Sam Hamm, who had just received a two-year contract with Warner Brothers, and gave him the job of writing a screenplay based on Burton's and Hickson's treatment. However, the writing process stretched too long and Hamm couldn't write further drafts of the script because of the writers strike. In his place, Burton got Beetlejuice co-writer Warren Skaaren to continue writing. Nearly three years after working on the project Burton didn't get the film green-lit until the box-office result of Beetlejuice. Batman began filming in October and it only took 12 weeks to shoot.
*When the Tom Mankiewicz script was in development, the directors associated with the project included Joe Dante and Ivan Reitman. Producers wanted an unknown to play Batman and the cast wish-list included William Holden as Commissioner Gordon and David Niven as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's faithful butler.
*Michael Keaton casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
*Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Harrison Ford, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Spacey, Patrick Swayze, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Kevin Kline and Bruce Willis were considered for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
*Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale, but broke her collarbone while filming a horse-riding scene with Michael Keaton. The scene was subsequently written out of the script. Tim Burton suggested replacing Young with Michelle Pfeiffer but Keaton, who was in a relationship with Pfeiffer, believed it would be too awkward. She went on to portray Catwoman in Batman Returns. Jon Peters suggested Kim Basinger and she was cast.
*Rosanna Arquette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ellen Barkin, Robin Duke, Kate Capshaw, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Madonna, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Denny Dillon, Christine Ebersole, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway Barbara Hershey, Holly Hunter, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Diane Lane, Kay Lenz, Jessica Lange, Lori Loughlin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, Kelly McGillis, Bette Midler, Catherine O'Hara, Tatum O'Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Lea Thompson, Kathleen Turner, Sela Ward, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger were all considered for the role of Vicki Vale after Sean Young, the original choice, departed
*Robin Williams was considered for the role of The Joker; he would later be considered for The Riddler as well. Jack Nicholson got the role of The Joker but demanded top-billing and a lucrative deal that gave him royalties on all merchandise.
*Don Johnson and Dale Midkiff were considered for Harvey Dent. Billy Dee Williams took the role with the expectation that he would be brought back to play Two-Face and reportedly had a contract clause added reserving the role for him. During casting for Batman Forever Warner Bros. decided they would prefer Tommy Lee Jones and bought out Williams' contract
*This movie was released the year of Batman's 50th birthday.
*Michael Jackson was asked to write and perform the songs for the movie, but he had to turn it down due to his concert commitments.
*Jack Nicholson received a percentage of the gross on the film, and due to its massive box-office took home around $60 million. As of 2003 it is still the single-movie record for actor's salary.
*In the original script, the paper Knox and Vicki worked for was the Gotham Gazette, not the Gotham Globe.
*In the original script, Bruce Wayne was described as a man with "muscles on top of muscles and scarred from nightly combat".
*When Alfred receives Vicki Vale's message a portrait of Thomas Wayne can be seen in the background.
*In the original script with Robin included, the Flying Graysons (John, Mary, and Dick) are introduced at the parade scene. The Joker shoots the trapeze artists sending John and Mary to their deaths and leaving Dick to survive. Dick later becomes Robin in full costume at the end. The special edition version of the DVD release of Batman features an animated storyboard sequence of The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence, where Dick Grayson was voiced by Jason Hillhouse, and Batman and the Joker were voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill respectively.
*For its first video release, the film was graded slightly lighter as cinema audiences had complained that it was filmed so darkly that they could hardly see what was going on.
*Corto Maltese is also an island country in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, one of Tim Burton's inspirations for Batman. It is named for a man from Hugo Pratt's Italian series of comic books, of which Frank Miller is a fan.
*The painting that the Joker spares during his vandalism spree is Francis Bacon's 1954 "Figure with Meat." The real painting is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
*During filming, a young Tim Burton was having trouble shooting a scene with Jack Palance. An irritated Palance asked Burton, "I've made more than a hundred films, how many have you made?" Burton said, years later, that it was a "whiteout" experience he would never forget.
*The handwriting on the note that accompanies the gas mask in the museum is that of director Tim Burton.
*The Joker's line "Take thy beak from out my heart" (said at Vale's apartment) is from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". The full line is 'Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!' (the "beak" being of the raven)
*The theatrical trailer for Batman includes not only sequences presented without music, but there are also some alternate takes used in the trailer that were not used in the movie. Specifically: (1) The Joker shoots his television after saying "I have given a name to my pain." Nicholson loads his gun while speaking this line - in the film, he reveals the gun after speaking the line, and the explosion is also a different take. A wide shot was used in the finished film, but in the trailer, a close-up is used for Nicholson's line. (2) Michael Keaton's line "My life is really...complex" is shown here as a close-up which is a different take than the one used in the film. Additionally, in the movie, the take used is from a different camera position. (3) Robert Wuhl is seen asking the question, "Lieutenant, is there a six foot bat in Gotham City?" In the movie, a different take was used, with different things occurring in the background. Regarding this trailer, on the special edition DVD, Warner Bros. has removed the final screen card which originally indicated the film's release date in North America: June 23 (1989).
*Kiefer Sutherland was offered the role of Dick Grayson and turned it down before the character was subsequently written out of the script.
*First Batman adaptation to depict the Joker's origin story.
*While actress Kim Basinger has blond hair, Vicki Vale was red headed in the comics. According to Batman creator Bob Kane, Vale was supposed to be blond in the comics, and her hair came out red due to a coloring error in her first appearance.
*The name of the Joker's Alter-Ego, Jack Napier was created by the filmmakers. In the comics, The Joker was never given a real name, and whatever real name he has is yet to be definitively revealed.
*At the beginning of the film, Knox enters the press room and is handed a cartoon sketch of a "batman", which is a bat in pin stripe suit. It is signed by Bob Kane, who is the original creator of the Batman comic book.
*Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit. He said that his claustrophobia helped get him in the proper mood to play Batman. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said