The American Cinematheque presented a double feature of Tim Burton's darkly perfect Batman films last night at the Aero Theatre, with executive producer Michael E. Uslan in attendance to promote his new book "The Boy Who Loved Batman". Travel back to Gotham City's cinematic roots with an expert!
I'll admit that it's tough to get me to drive to Santa Monica for just about anything. But exceptions must be made from time to time, and this was definitely one of those occasions - a big screen double feature of Batman and Batman Returns! The films were preceded by a discussion with Michael E. Uslan, who has served as an executive producer on every Batman film to date, starting with Tim Burton's first in 1989 all the way through Christopher Nolan's upcoming last, The Dark Knight Rises.
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Listening to him speak, it was hard not to smile. He has so much passion for the Caped Crusader's legion of projects over the years, which is a given for someone who has devoted so much of his life to the cinematic representation of the character. Batman and Batman Returns are clearly his favorites, and - wouldn't y'know - mine, too. My obsession with these movies (Returns, especially) was a pretty big part of my childhood. And guess what? They remain just as good as they did back then, if not better.
Fun Fact: Uslan drew Joker makeup on a photo of Jack Nicholson's iconic "Here's Johnny!" shot from The Shining, and used it to campaign for him being cast as Batman's first big screen nemesis.
Gotham City's terrifying industrial look - including the imposing (although miniature) Axis Chemicals - was thanks in large part to the genius of production designer Anton Furst.
How many of us wanted to commission this neon sign after watching Michelle Pfeiffer's epic Selina Kyle meltdown? NO...GOTHAM LADY PERFUME...EVER!
Gotham City's long-abandoned zoo, AKA the most incredible villain hideout EVER.
Worth the trek to the Westside, indeed! These are easily two of Tim Burton's finest works, and it was amazing to see them back-to-back on the silver screen of the Aero. I even learned some stuff, too! Who says LA doesn't have culture?