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Unbelievable! The majority of comment-authors here on this site haven't got the slightest clue how far the brilliance of this film reaches...Here you have one of the coolest, most ingenious productions ever, and they're calling it "awful" and an ideal climax for the Mystery Science Theater?!? Aren't there any people left who appreciate sweet pop art? Or a healthy dose of delightful kitsch? Danger: Diabolik is a cult masterpiece and part of the greatest achievements of the brilliant director Mario Bava (or God, like I tend to call him). Bava easily is one of the most diverse directors who ever lived and delivered horror classics, solid thrillers, old-fashioned westerns and ... Danger Diabolik! A film that can't possibly be categorized entirely. Pivot figures are a young, vital couple of criminal masterminds. They steal from innocent people as well as from dangerous maffiosi, while killing innocent bystanders. Our funky couple single-handedly takes away billions that belong to the government, and then cheerfully retire in their underground lair in order to make love on top of a pile of money! It comes this far that the police cooperates with the entire gangster-network in order to finally arrest them...but our hero always is multiple steps ahead of them. Danger Diabolik introduces more kinky gadgets than 20 James Bond films ever could and the amount of creativity in just endless. The used scenery and experimental cinemathograpy mark this film with an undeniable cult-status that even impressed Mike Myers! Just compare this film with the Austin Powers trilogy!! Add to this a dazzling soundtrack and a ravishing siren (Marisa Mell) and you've got yourself an intolerably misunderstood cinema milestone. If you're a tiny bit open-minded and/or a bit less prejudiced on non-American films, you just HAVE TO see Danger: Diabolik.
What's the matter with you people? Doesn't anyone enjoy a good, fun, cheesy Italian spy flick anymore? These are the same people who don't like Godzilla films because they can't get over the low-budget special effect and the "silliness", and who can't tolerate anything different than mega-budget hollywood blockbusters, and that just breaks my heart. I kind of enjoyed seeing it on MST3K, but I was dissappointed that they included it in the same league as the truly awful (but no les enjoyable) Hobgoblins and Space Mutiny. This is one of the great 60s films as far as i'm concerned. What really sets the films apart is stylish cinematography and direction by the great, sadly underappreciated Mario Bava, also responsible for great films like Black Sabbath, Planet of the Vampires, Bay of Blood, Lisa and the Devil, and the gritty, cynical Rabid Dogs, which was a real surprise after Diabolik. (Even if you hated Diabolik, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of Rabid Dogs). Also noteworthy is the psychedelica-tinged score by the great Ennio Morricone, my favorite film composer.
Another great visual piece by the great Bava, this film is a faithful
adaptation of the popular European comic about the anti-hero master criminal
Diabolik. Almost overdosing on intense 60s color and style, the film moves
through comic-style adventures with considerable European flair and well
captures the atmosphere of the original material and the
(Yes, I understand that this made the last installment of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I'm a MiSTie myself. But Diabolik is a good film, whether it has riffing potential or not.
Say you never heard a thing about Batman (as so many seem to never have heard a thing about Diabolik)--if you saw the 1988 Batman film, you'd think it was pretty stupid and over the top, wouldn't you? Unrealistic? Stupid, even? Maybe even think that the main character wasn't much of a hero, so dark, so sinister? And if you think that a lot of 'stylish' 90's films with their music-video montages aren't going to look dated in twenty years, you're kidding yourself. I'd advise supposed 'reviewers' to stop being such contemporist snobs.)
I've rented "Danger: Diabolik" three times now, and each time I discover
more to enjoy. I recommend setting aside any prejudice that may accompany
Mario Bava's name (or John Phillip Law's, for that matter), and viewing it
with the same frame of mind as you would for viewing a Connery-era Bond
or either of the "Flints": as stylish period pieces; heavy on action, light
on plot logic, and all done with tongue-in-cheek.
Sure, Law's acting skills are slight, but so are Connery's. And Diabolik manages a most unusual thing for a super-dude: he is happily faithful to his mate (played by the ravishing Marisa Mell) for the entire film.
The sets are (with one exception) terrific - at least as good as Bond's or Flint's. The costuming, cinematography and action scenes are top-notch. Ennio Morricone's score is just about the best I've heard in it's genre. There are enough plot twists and clever bits to keep anyone interested.
Give it a try; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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
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!....
I'm a big fan of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and the Best Brains
staff, but I'll admit they made a huge mistake by including this film
for their program. Sure, "Danger: Diabolik" is campy, excessive, and
very much a product of its time. However, it fully realizes all these
things and shows absolutely no shame. Its pure style over substance,
but when the style is this entertaining, who cares? "Danger: Diabolik"
is one of the coolest and funnest cult flicks ever made. "Barbarella"
seems to be the more well remembered of the two, but when it comes to
60s European comic book adaptations, this has it beat all the way
(alright, the opening credits for "Barbarella" were better, but thats
about it). "Danger: Diabolik" shows a natural respect for the source
material, and definitely resembles a quickly paced comic book more than
What probably makes this film so good is the fact the director is Mario Bava. Bava, best know for his 60s Gothic horror masterpieces such as "Black Sunday" and "The Whip & the Body", shows absolutely no difficulties when crossing over to the action genre. His direction and set pieces are just as astonishingly atmospheric as usual, and his action sequences are very exciting. He manages to keep everything moving at an absolutely breakneck pace. His camera-work is superb also, and for once his overuse of zoom lenses doesn't feel all that distracting.
While this is Bava's show all the way, it isn't to discredit the rest of the crew. The casting in particular is perfect. For once, John Philip Law's wooden acting style suits the material well. He is the ultimate cartoon anti-hero. The film is effective in the way that while Diabolik's actions are reprehensible when you think about it, you end up rooting for him because hes so cool and the rest of the characters so incompetent in their departments. Its the same case with the beautiful Marisa Mell. Shes not a great actress, but makes for a very sexy and charismatic anti-heroine. The supporting performances are all hilariously overwrought, in particular Terry-Thomas' small role. I can't forget to mention the score by Ennio Morrecone, probably the best he did for a non-Leone flick. "Danger: Diabolik" is gloriously campy fun thats aged better than you may think. (10/10)
A quick glance at the user comments for 'Diabolik' will show that it is a movie which divides people to say the least. Some misguided fools and the asinine Mystery Science Theatre 3000 gang (who actually screened an edited version of the movie when they parodied it in their last episode) think it is one of the worst movies ever made. I pity them. The rest of us (including Mike Myers and The Beastie Boys - see their "Body Movin'" video for an affectionate homage) love it as one of the best examples of 1960s Pop Art kitsch. 'Modesty Blaise' was I think the first of the 60s European comic book adaptations in this style, followed closely by 'Barbarella' and then 'Diabolik'. Later in the early 70s there was 'Baba Yaga', the last gasp for this short lived genre. Too bad, because I just can't get enough of this stuff! 'Diabolik's director Mario Bava is a horror legend largely because of brilliant movies like 'Black Sunday' and 'Kill, Baby... Kill!' but he was in fact very versatile, not just making Gothic horror classics, but also science fiction, westerns, Hercules movies and hard boiled crime thrillers. And then there's 'Diabolik', something else again. John Phillip Law, who played the blind angel Pygar in 'Barbarella', as well as appearing in cult favourites like 'Death Rides A Horse' and 'Open Season', is perfectly cast as Diabolik. Many criticize Law's performance, which is admittedly pretty wooden, but I didn't have a problem with it. He suits the material, which let's face it, isn't exactly Shakespeare. Marisa Mell ('Mad Dog') plays Diabolik's beautiful partner in crime Eva Kant, Bunuel regular Michel Piccoli ('Belle De Jour', 'La Grande Bouffe') is Diabolik's nemesis Inspector Ginko, Adolfo Celi ('Thunderball', 'That Man From Rio') plays Valmont, a rival criminal mastermind, and Terry-Thomas ('I'm All Right Jack', The Abominable Dr Phibes') is the Minister Of Finance. Bava was working with quite a small budget (less than half a million US dollars - for comparison 'You Only Live Twice' cost nine MILLION more!) but achieved wonders, a testament to his skill and creativity. It's a very stylish movie with some wonderfully inventive visuals, especially Diabolik's cave which is very impressive considering the lack of money you'd generally expect for this kind of movie. Added to that a fantastic score from Morricone, which many fans believe is one of his very best, if not THE best. If you want to see one of the inspirations for the Austin Powers series, especially if you enjoy 60s pop culture, comic books, Pop Art, psychedelia, trash and the Bond and Flint movies then don't miss 'Diabolik'. The rest of you can wait until 'Bad Boys 3' or whatever drivel you think is a good, fun popcorn movie. In my opinion, anyone who slams this movie is beyond redemption!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mario Bava's pop-art extravaganza was his only big budget film: Dino De
Laurentiis gave him three million dollars to shoot it, Bava only needed
400,000 to turn "Danger: Diabolik" into an unforgettably entertaining
John Phillip Law plays Diabolik, a thief who takes from the rich to give to the girl he loves (Marisa Mell), Michel Piccoli is the policeman trying to stop him, and "Thunderball"-villain Adolfo Celi once again shows up as the bad guy. Adapted from the highly popular Italian comic strips of the 1960s, "Danger: Diabolik" became one of the first and most influential comic-based films in history.
Composer Ennio Morricone created one of his most haunting scores, which supports Bava's stunning visual ideas marvelously. There are many scenes that reveal Bava's masterful skills as a director, i.e. when Diabolik clambers up walls, messes up a press conference with Exhilaration gas or pulls of the heist of a twenty-ton gold ingot. Fortunately, "Danger: Diabolik" never loses its self-irony and cheeky, sexy humor. This (and the stylish sets) help to overlook some holes in the story and (very few) boring moments.
Austrian-born actress Marisa Mell gave her star-turn in this picture. With her radiant looks and tongue-in-cheek attitude, she would have been the perfect Bond girl. Unfortunately, she never appeared in a Bond film but became some sort of B-movie queen of the 1970s with such vehicles as "Beast with a Gun" or "Diary of an Erotic Murderess". While she made one other great film, Fulci's Hitchcockian giallo "One on Top of the Other" (1969), her work for Bava will stand as her creative peak. Alas, Miss Mell died of cancer before she got a chance to prove her undeniable acting skills elsewhere.
This tale about a super criminal mastermind is perhaps the most exciting
stylized inventive "true to its source" comic book adaptation ever filmed.
Without a doubt, one of the finest performances, if not the finest, by John
Philip Law in the lead role. But this film is mainly a feast for the
eyes...a common quality trait true of most Mario Bava films.
This is one film that never feels slow to the viewer...it's always fast-paced and is never dull.
The only problem I have with the film is it makes a hero out of a character who sometimes goes too far but again it was simply being true to its source..excellent film! Much too good it should be vandalized by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which it most unfortunately was).
This movie has instantly become one of my very favorite Mario Bava features. Think James Bond, as a suave master thief, filmed in a psychedelic, occasionally campy, comic book style. (Diabolik was a comic first.) Add to that some fun humor and very fitting themes by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and you have one cool, little cult flick! The cheap DVD comes with some great extras, like a pleasant and informative commentary by star John Phillip Law and Bava expert Time Lucas. The short featurette was very good too, going over just how well Bava captured the comic book stylings in the film. Recommended purchase! By the way, Diabolik's mask and laugh---perfect.
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