WHAT WOULD LORENZO DO?

BATMAN dresses up like a bat to fight crime. Isn’t that just a little absurd? Not if you ask Christopher Nolan. His Batman is deadly serious. Just listen to his voice.

But if you ask Lorenzo Semple Jr? Then you end up with the Adam West BATMAN TV series of the ‘60s. Now, I ask you, which is more true to life?Batman-1966-TV-Series-Batcave-Granix-Art-Plaque

I’m not saying Semple’s BATMAN is better that Nolan’s. (Well, I am, but that’s just me.) I’m just saying all these ultra-serious comic book films need a dash of whimsy. After all, they’re about people who dress in tights to battle bad guys. I’m talking to you, MAN OF STEEL.

Lorenzo Semple was a gifted screenwriter of a kind they just don’t make anymore. He wrote the first episodes of BATMAN. He wrote the movie of FLASH GORDON. He was a champion of what was called “camp.”

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He wrote more serious stuff too. PAPILLON. THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. And THE PARALAX VIEW. But always with his tongue planted, as we used to say, firmly in his cheek.
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They say audiences are “more sophisticated” now. Really? Audiences back in the day could admit that something was absurd, but still enjoy it. Isn’t that smarter than, say, the audience that is supposed to accept, in all grim seriousness, that a nuclear bomb can go off just over the river from Gotham and everyone in the damn city doesn’t die from the fallout?

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As Lorenzo’s Batman put it, “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

Phoef Sutton

Phoef Sutton

Published novelist - living in South Pasadena, California with his wife Dawn and his daughters Skylar and Celia.
Phoef Sutton
  • hupto

    Let’s not forget his masterpiece THE SUPERCOPS. I met him toward the end of his life and he graciously signed a lobby card from it. I quoted my favorite line; he said he didn’t remember writing it but was pleased I enjoyed it.