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In psychedelic swinging 60s style, the dreaded thief (and killer) Diabolik wreaks havoc on a generic European country for his own financial gain and amusement. He shares an extravagant underground lair (and a giant bed of money) with his curvaceous, superficial girlfriend...who uses her awesome powers of wig-wearing to help Diabolik kill innocent people and steal billions from the government. Nonetheless, Diabolik is the "hero" of the film because he must face off against bumbling cops and revenge-seeking mafiosos. Written by
Michael "Rabbit" Hutchison <email@example.com>
This film was produced by Dino De Laurentiis (later responsible for the infamously mammoth King Kong (1976) and Hurricane (1979)) and its #3-million budget was much more than director Mario Bava was used to and enabled him to work with more money and a much more prestigious cast than he normally did. Howeer, he remained true to his principles, relying on imagination rather than money, and brought in the film substantially under budget, at a mere $400,000. De Laurentiis was so impressed with Bava's saving him so much money that he offered Bava the opportunity to make a sequel with the leftover funds, but Bava had by then tired of working with the producer and decided to pass. See more »
When Valmont puts the emerald necklace in his jacket it goes in his right inside pocket, but when Diabolik removes it just afterward, he pulls it from the left inside pocket. See more »
I first saw 'Danger:Diabolik' on British television when I was 5 years old, peeking from behind the sofa when I was supposed to be in bed fast asleep. The next morning I thought the whole experience had been a vivid and bizarre dream. The film has fascinated me ever since.
Mario Bava's film is a hallucinatory, artistic, but undercooked and under-budgeted concoction which never quite coheres into the film we want it to be. 'Danger: Diabolik' nonetheless conjures up some masterful cult moments that richly reward the intrepid viewer who is willing to brave (and embrace) some ropey filler scenes and awful dubbing.
The magic of this film is sometimes missed by the casual viewer, and many of those who I have lent my copy to have simply stopped watching half way through, as the plot gets bogged down in the muddled, leaden Valmont scenes.
The magic of this film for me lies in this childhood connection that I have. Diabolik is indeed (as many viewers have pointed out) amoral and selfish. He kills people and lives only for his hedonistic indulgence. But this isn't really the point. Diabolik's greed is a metaphor of all our material greed and fantasies of self-indulgence [for more on this, see the definitive article on 'Danger:Diabolik' on the 'dvd savant' website] Diabolik, in all his piecing glances, hystrionic leaping, minimal dialogue, fetishistic costumes, and designer love parlours is very much like an irrational, inexplicable dream that we read our own meanings and desires into. Diabolik is a hypnotic, mysterious figure beyond judgement and law; he's not a real person in any way, and is not supposed to be one. His love for Eva is an erotic, wet dream and has nothing to do with anything except sensual pleasure and wish-fulfillment, and these scenes linger on as if the editor had forgotten to cut the film.
Bava denies us (or is perhaps incapable of constructing) a conventional, well-paced narrative, or a palatable, structured story. Instead he gives us a psychadelic reverie. A string of moments to enjoy and remember. Oh, and some really crap bits too, there's no denying!
DON'T WATCH THIS FILM IF YOU HAVE A SHORT, MTV ATTENTION SPAN OR NO APPRECIATION OF EURO-TRASH / PSYCHOTRONIC CINEMA.
I agree that 'Danger:Diabolik' isn't everything it could be, but it almost succeeds in achieving pop-art genius on several occasions. Definitely worth checking out. Just put your normal movie expectations aside for this one and you might love it!
If you are a big fan of 'Danger:Diabolik', or just feel like debating it, please feel free to email me!....
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