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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 time.

    (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 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!


    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!....
  • Watching the featurette that accompanies this DVD did help me to appreciate this movie more. Namely, that Diabolik (pronounced Dee-abolik in the Italian) is an anti-hero thief rather than a government sponsored spy and is all about 'sticking it to The Man' as befits the 1960s counterculture. Being Italian, it also contrasts with the American idea of a superhero. The Italians lost the last war, they had Mussolini and no faith in the government. This anti-hero is on the same page, whereas Superman is all in favour of the President. I suppose this is the superhero's answer to Burlesconi.

    Point no 2: unlike Fleming's James Bond, Diabolik is based on a comic strip hero and many of the shots mirror that panel shape in the way they're framed: the shot of the couple talking, reflected in the rear view mirror of a car, for instance. For all that, the style is more dynamic than other comic-based films like Barbarella.

    Otherwise, it's astonishing how many scenes anticipate similar ones in Bond films, from the opening helicopter car chase along the winding mountaintop road which predates that of The Spy Who Loved Me by nine years, along with other scenes that pop up in Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, A View to A Kill and GoldenEye.

    Sadly Diabolik (played by John Philip Law, who was the angel in Barberella) is a humourless blank, a charisma-free zone who scarcely utters a witticism in the entire film. I think the only reason such lusty or promiscuous attitudes prevailed in the 1960s is because the likes of Sean Connery and Michael Caine put a positive spin on it.

    This is a guy in superhero guise who has no alter ego - and therefore no social life. Batman has Bruce Wayne, Superman has Clark Kent. He is just Diabolik and when he retreats to his lair to bang his bird, fine, but he doesn't actually have any mates at all so it's hard to connect with him. It's like if Superman decided to not bother to save lives but just went on Viking-like pillages once in a while, holing up in the Fortress of Solitude every so often to shag his mistress and count the cash.

    The anti-hero and his girl are so unlikeable and ruthless that you do feel excluded from their activities. They remind me of the charmless pair from Topaki, though the film has more to offer than that and is superior to many Bond knock-offs of the day.
  • 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 film 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.
  • Golgo-132 September 2005
    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.
  • I think there may be some misunderstandings going on here, re: the MST3K coverage of "Diabolik". Any fan of the MST series who followed the creators' commentary and blogs on the Sci-Fi channel website and via their newsletters, etc, knows that the Best Brains crew really ENJOYED "Diabolik" and saved it for their last episode as sort of a going away present for themselves. And anyone who paid attention to the way Mike and the 'Bots riffed through the movie would know that most of their comments were pretty good-natured, and mostly about the sheer silliness of the proceedings.

    Certainly, "Diabolik" is head and shoulders over typical MST3K fare. Only "Marooned/"Space Travelers","Squirm", "Hercules", and the Russian Finnish trilogy come close to it in terms of actors, budget, energy, set design and general competence and ingenuity. Oh, and the black-and-white German TV staging of "Hamlet". (Even "starchy, pork-filled German Hamlet" is still "Hamlet", and it does have Maximillian Schell).

    While the movie is (purposefully) lighter than cotton candy, and not meant to be taken at all seriously, it does do a great job of adapting the essence of the Italian comics anti-hero to the big screen. At a couple points, the Bava even has pencil graphics from the series integrated in stop motion into a couple scenes as a tribute to the feel and atmosphere of the "Diabolik" comics. They got the costume right, they got the hot blonde babe right, and they even had the audacity to try to pull off some of the gimmicks and plot devices typical of the series (much easier to do for an artist with a pencil and a drawing board than a stage and special effects crew!) And the whole thing is kept cooking and perking along with an incredibly insistent soundtrack that is built around catchy motifs that sink their hooks into the brain.

    People don't really "act" in a film like this. Instead they invest energy inhabiting the cardboard characters who populate the film and trying to bring them to life. But Law and his hot blonde paramour do a splendid job of being magnetic and compelling (in a very clichéd, two-dimensional way, of course) and are fun to watch and they run around pulling heists, duping the law, making love atop piles of money, casually murdering everyone who gets in their way, etc. Even the supporting characters (the Inspector and the chief mob guy, recognizable as "Blofeld" from the early 007 movies) are fine and perform their thankless roles as Diabolik's dupes admirably.

    It's not like anyone who ever heard of "Diabolik" didn't know what to expect. And it's not like anyone who spent more than 30 seconds watching it with an open mind wouldn't find plenty to enjoy as a harmless piece of escapist fluff. So I can't quite see the harsh reception and bad comments on the movie.

    I rate it 7 out of 10, since I refuse to penalize it for dated pop culture references or the questionable morality of the source material. If I even find the 'straight' version on DVD somewhere for under $7, I might pick it up for my collection, especially if there are some background extras.
  • 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 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'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).
  • Warning: 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 cult film.

    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.
  • bensonmum221 June 2005
    • Mario Bava may be best known for the horror films he directed, but he wasn't limited to just one genre. He dabbled in science-fiction, westerns, comedies, and peplums. That brings us to this, his "spy" film. And what a film it is!

    • If you didn't know that Bava directed Danger Diabolik and you caught parts of it, you would immediately notice his style all over the film. Innovative camera work, impeccable lighting, wonderful mat paintings, and terrific set design are all highlights that have Bava's fingerprints all over them. It's a visually stunning movie from start to finish. It's a real pleasure to watch each scene just to see what Bava will come up with next.

    • As for the story and the character Diabolik, for lack of an intelligent review, I'll simply say that it's one of the "coolest" films I've ever seen. Diabolik is the ultimate criminal. His underground lair is as good as anything you'll see in a Bond film. As is his girl, Eva Kant. She's the perfect compliment to Diabolik, a woman who can keep up with him. Their his and hers white and black Jaguars are the epitome of style. As I said, it's all just so "cool".

    • My only real complaint is with some of the acting. John Phillip Law may consider himself a leading man on the order of Steve McQueen (at least that's the impression I was left with after listening to the commentary), but he's got a long way to go. The best I can say is that as an actor he's adequate at best.

    • The rest of the cast is first rate. Terry Thomas is always fun - never more so than here as the government official who has to deal with the result of Diabolik's crimes. Marisa Mell is a joy to watch as Eva. And Bond veteran Adolfo Celi is good in the role of the competing master criminal. The other supporting cast is just as good.

    • In the end, if you're a fan of 60s spy films, Danger Diabolik should please. But, if you're a fan of Bava, Danger Diabolik should become a real favorite.
  • kashimanotachi16 August 2006
    Considered to be the finest adaption of a comic book to date, Danger:Diabolik is to my my knowledge Bava's biggest budgeted film and looks it. The cast headed by John Philip Law as the suave super thief Diabolik and Marisa Mell as his beautiful girlfriend/accomplice Eva Kent do a superb job. There's also some strong supporting performances by Michel Piccoli as Diabolik's nemesis Inspector Ginko and Adolfo Celi as the degenerate crime lord Ralph Valmont here as well. On the technical side of things, Bava does his usual masterful job of directing. Pace is kept lively and never falters. The musical score was written by Ennio Morricone and is one of the best. I highly recommend this film.
  • "Diabolik" - just the name alone sounds cool, and when you consider that it's used by a master criminal, evading the entire Italian police force with a series of daring stunts - the word gets even cooler! Italians are renowned for making cheap rip-offs of successful American films, and Danger: Diabolik is their answer to James Bond. I'm not a massive fan of Bond-like thrillers, but I'm going to make an exception for this ravishing slice of pop-art! My main reason for viewing was because of the man in the director's chair. Mario Bava is famous for his horror pictures, but he's proved with other films that he's a diverse director, and this film proves that further. The film follows a pair of crooks; Diabolik, master thief, and his girl; the lovely Eva Kant. After successfully evading the police numerous times, Italy finds itself in need of desperate measures, which leads to them calling on the help of the criminal underworld and setting up an elaborate ploy to bring Diabolik out into the open. However, our man is always a few steps ahead of his would-be captors.

    Bava's direction is once again superb, and considering he isn't really in his element; that's quite an achievement. The film is continually exciting and great to look at, and even though this is very much a 'B' picture; Bava elevates it above the rest of the pack. Aside from a plethora of dangerous stunts and clever ploys by our lead character, Bava also finds time to plug in a lot of really beautiful scenes - the one that sees our hero's make love on a bed of stolen money being the best of them! The plot is pure comic book, so you've got to expect lots of wackiness and things that don't make a lot of sense - but it's all easy to buy into because of the fact that the film is such a blast to watch. The acting isn't bad either. John Phillip Law doesn't really get much to do aside from wear a lot of tight suits; but his persona and face match the cool character that he's playing. Marisa Mell provides the eye candy, and the pair receive great backup from a cast of experienced Italian actors. Overall, I can't say that Diabolik is one of the best films ever made - but it's a supreme piece of pop art, and certainly didn't deserve a spot on the show 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000'. For what it's worth, I never liked that program anyway; but Diabolik comes highly recommended!
  • Austin Powers simply couldn't have existed without this film, an Italian production (produced by the estimable Dino De Laurentiis, who also brought us Barbarella, Amityville II: The Possession, Orca, the 1976 King Kong, and numerous other cheesy gems). With it's swingin' 60s sets, outfits and attitude, this movie (and Barbarella) is essential viewing for those curious about the origins of Austin Powers. In fact, this movie can be seen as a sort of companion piece to Barbarella, as it shares a very similar tone and look, as well as one of the stars, John Phillip Law. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's Pygar, here without his wings and in tight black leather.

    Unlike Barbarella, which comes off as far more cheesy than its makers intended, this one has its tongue firmly in cheek from the start, and never seems to lose control. Diabolik steals whatever the biggest loot around is, seemingly for the thrill of it, and the way it seems to enhance sex with his fabulous girlfriend Eva. They enjoy having sex on a spinning round bed with 10 million dollars in cash splayed all over it. I suppose I would, too, if anyone were ever to ask. They never do. Anyway, they perpetrate a number of crimes, making Scotland Yard look like fools in the process, and that's pretty much the movie.

    The sets and costumes are--there's no other word--fabulous. And what really makes this movie fun is how freely the director will just stop everything to show how cool a set is, how outrageous an outfit is, whatever. He really shows how fun it would be to be Diabolik, and Diabolik himself seems to really enjoy what he does, which makes the film enjoyable for everyone.

    The DVD for this film includes a Beastie Boys video that cleverly interweaves shots from the film with the boys playing Diabolik and various others, which is all based on a sequence from the film. There's also a documentary, which I didn't watch. Amazingly, the trailer gives away the very end of the movie! It's inexplicable.

    Not much more to say about it. The plot is so simple you can very clearly follow it even with the movie on silent fast-forward, but the point is not so much the story as the look, clothes, and attitude. And it's got all of those in spades.

    --- Check out my website on bad and cheesy movies, Cinema de Merde. Find the URL in my email address above.
  • Some of the comments I've read for this do amaze me. I suppose I have to try not to sound smug or imply that some people really just don't get it...but I guess I'm going to have have to sound smug and imply that some people really just don't get it. Maybe some of the hippies were right after all, put acid in the water supply and everything will be all right in the end.

    Of course, not the greatest film ever made but there is definitely a work of demented genius here, and in that splendid European way. Excellent use of shots, (especially when thinking of the budget), terrific use of colour, very clever use of movement and music and wonderful humour. The tongue was so firmly in cheek I'm surprised in didn't burst out leaving psychedelic blood up the wall.

    I won't go into this too much, but suffice to say, if you're a fan of sixties kitsch cum psychedelic tunes and counter cultural wit and humour then this is the film for you. Admittedly yes, perhaps its a wavelength thing and might not be your fancy, but to think of it as a "bad" film, comparing to Bond etc etc, really drives me to despair. In fact in fairness, the Italians themselves were modelling the work if anything on the original Batman series and films...and they weren't exactly serious were they?

    Just remember, those whose heads are still not leftfield yet: One pill makes you larger One pill makes you small And the ones that Hollywood gives you, don't do anything at all.

    (Well sometimes anyway)
  • Ok, in all good conscience, I have given this flik an 8. Why?

    Because of good acting, script, camera-work, editing, or any of the other usual criteria? No, not really.

    While the production design is pretty incredible by any standards and the soundtrack is good, in a spaghetti western sort of way, the real winner here is the over-the-top-ness of it all. The cool factor. The unabashed cheesiness. It's a very funny film, and I think the makers of it were aware of that. It's not very good in the action and intrigue department. Leave that to Bond.

    No, this is more like Bond on acid. Or perhaps it's more of a parady.

    The really cool thing, though, is the relationship between Diabolik and his girl. They're a great pair who are faithful to each other til the end.

    And if you want to see some epicly revealing costume design...
  • I had this Mario Bava film sitting amongst my collection gathering dust for far too long, so when I broke it out I was treated with a sublime piece of fun comic-book escapism done in a cheeky and colourful 60s pop-art style. It was my first taste of Bava's work outside of horror.

    The whimsical material (taken off a comic-strip) is sensationalized in a 'James Bond/Batman' tone, but goes tongue-in-cheek with its bubblegum script and crafty developments. One unpredictable set-piece after another (be it the action or the comedy), I was transfixed by the psychedelic décor, provocatively handsome photography and simply fell in love with Ennio Morricone's playfully tripped-out, free-flowing score. Everything comes together, as the comic pages are brought to life on the screen without any sort of hiccups. Bava's stylish finesse is incredible, as it is a feast for the eyes with such glitzy imagination flourishing. While the sped up pace moves like shot out of a bullet.

    The recognizable cast do magnificently by living out their characters. John Phillip Law as the master thief Diabolic is stolid, but acceptable and Marisa Mell as his beau frequently radiates. His main nemesis Inspector Ginko is superbly played by Michel Piccoli and a top-rate Adolfo Celi makes lightweight as rival crim king-pin Valmont.

    A highly entertaining and upbeat Italian/French cult crime caper that plays to type and has become a true inspiration for some latter efforts.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    On release, Mario Bava's 'Danger: Diabolik' was likened by critics to the 'Batman' television series. In reality, the two have little in common, other than both being based on comic-strips and sharing a penchant for exuberant outrageousness.

    'Diabolik' is the brilliant criminal mastermind behind the most audacious thefts in history, accomplished with the aid of amazing Bondesque gadgetry, as well as speedboats and sports cars!

    The film's plot is divided into three sections; in the first, Diabolik steals $10 million from the government, the second has him going after a priceless pearl necklace to give to his lover Eva ( the stunning Marisa Mell ), while the third focuses on the theft of a gold ingot, and boasts some 'Thunderball'-style underwater sequences. Each step of the way, the super-crook is shadowed by the clever ( though not clever enough ) Inspector Ginko ( great name! ).

    It is interesting to view this movie now in the light of the successful Marvel Comics movie adaptations, such as the 'X-Men' and 'Spider-Man' trilogies. How different times were then. For one thing, there's no back story for the main character. We never find out who 'Diabolik' is or how he got into crime, and it doesn't matter. As soon as the film gets underway, we are pitched headlong into the action.

    Bava apparently used the original comic strips as reference when composing shots, making the film into a living cartoon.

    While hardly the world's greatest thespian, John Philip Law is perfect for the role of 'Diabolik' - cool, handsome, and energetic. He's so likable that at times you forget he's the villain! As 'Eva', the late Marisa Mell effectively secured herself a place in the affections of cult movie buffs the world over. Adolfo Celi, who plays gangster Ralph Valmont, more or less reprises his role as 'Largo' from the Bond classic 'Thunderball'. Dear Terry-Thomas pops up now and then as a befuddled 'Minister Of Finance'.

    The eye-catching sets are impressive even by today's standards, particularly Diabolik's underground lair. Who would not want to live in a place like that? Here we get what must be the screen's kinkiest love scene, as Diabolik and Eva make out on a circular bed covered with the money they have stolen. If nothing else, it gives a new meaning to the phrase 'a big bang for your buck'!

    Unsurprisingly, this stylish, tongue-in-cheek romp has influenced many rock videos and movies over the years, amongst the latter the 'Mission Impossible' films and Phillip Noyce's disastrous 1997 version of 'The Saint'. If Noyce had wanted to remake 'Danger: Diabolik', why did he not do so, instead of attempting to transform Leslie Charteris' suave club land hero into something he was never intended to be? Though not a spy film per se, I think its right to lump 'Danger: Diabolik' in with the numerous Bond knock-offs of the '60's, such as the 'Flint' and 'Matt Helm' movies. Much of the humour is Bond-like. For example, when a villain pleads with Valmont not to shoot him, Valmont lowers his gun - and then sends the terrified man plunging through a trapdoor to his death.

    A final mention must be made of Ennio Morricone's score which I think is marvellous, the distinctive sound of 'A Fistful Of Dollars' filtered through '60's psychedelia.

    'Danger: Diabolik' was the final film to be 'riffed' by 'M.S.T.3.K.'. I did not see that particular edition, but expect Tom Servo and co. got some comic mileage out of the film's way-out designs and ( then ) futuristic look. Whoever chose it for inclusion in that show deserves to be covered from head to foot in molten gold!
  • OK, Cititzen Kane this is not. But then again, Charles Foster Kane didn't get to live in a sprawling underground pop-art lair with a pouting villainess and her enormous collection of mod clothing. Or steal vast amounts of gold. Or have sex on a huge revolving bed under a massive pile of money.

    Granted the plot is, well, OK, I guess the kindest thing you can say is that it's coherent. Sort of. But who cares. This has to be one of the most tongue-in-cheek kitsch cool movies ever made. If ever anything was about style over substance, this is it. There are shots in this movie that are just eye-popping beyond belief, not to mention there's That Music.

    And then there's Diabolik himself, one of Italy's favourite (and most larcenous) comic book sons, not to mention his equally amoral girlfriend Eva Kant. Motivation? Whatever! These two steal stuff because (a) it's fun, (b) they want it and (c) it's worth loads of money. They are so gloriously remorseless, shooting guards and sending cops flying over cliffs in their cars with gay abandon. These two operate under the maxim of "Consciences: bad. Skin-tight outfits: good!"

    The acting is, well, it's as good as the plot, that's for sure! As Diabolik, John Phillip Law fills out his particular skin-tight black plastic body suit very well, and uses his one facial expression to its fullest potential. Marisa Mell goes him one better on the costume front, over-filling most of her outfits. Her range is a little greater too. She has about three facial expressions.

    But again, who cares? There's that underground pop-art cavern, that scene with the revolving bed, Diabolik getting encased in molten gold, a psychedelic credit sequence with the international chart-topping hit Deep Deep Down by the world famous Christy sung over it (OK, maybe that's an overstatement...), cheesy dubbing, an LSD club scene and multiple E-Type Jaguars.

    This movie rocks. And anyone who disagrees should be encased in molten gold too.
  • Note the votes for Diabolik, concentrated at both ends of the scale. Count me in the 10 contingent. Like the music of the Who, Diabolik evokes my teenage years and the swinging Euro scene of which I so much wanted to be a part. Roger Ebert called it when he said Diabolik is the film Barbarella should have been. Sure, the blue screen work is cheesy and the gun shots tinny, but this movie still drips style like few other flicks. And it moves. There's no filler. Every measly dollar (lira) they gave Mario Bava to work with is on the screen. Get Diabolik. Watch it. Watch it again. Then get it and change your vote, low-enders. Diabolik is the film of a generation, possibly the best representation of the 60s zeitgeist on celluloid.
  • I've read comments regarding protracted love scenes and John Phillip Law's "jaybird" nakedness .. yet the VHS I purchased doesn't show any of that .. we're talking tame by today's standards .. and if the money bed scenes and the quick in the shower closeups count as the nudity and sexual content .. then I guess that's it .. I went into this with a whole different expectation .... I was kinda hoping for more "The Love Machine" type adult content and what was in this film was the furthest thing from it .. this was fun and campy and too funny at points to not love it ..

    I loved this movie ... the sets the score the actors everything .. John Phillip Law is perfect in this role, like it was tailor made for him .. and the acting abilities of Ms. Marisa Mell are left to be desired .. but still.. it was great and I loved it ...

    I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants an escape from dull, boring and the monotony of the world's issues and wants to be entertained, pleased and have you rooting for our anti-social anti-hero at the end ..

    Too bad there wasn't a sequel .. there was so much more they could have done with the ending .. and I'd have to agree with someone else who said it before .. John Phillip Law has the best mwaaa aaaa aaaa of anyone I've ever heard .. it was hysterically perfect ..

    Ms. Mell's tiny tiny tiny flat 3 pounds above organ failure stomach muscles are enough to make any woman stop eating .. she's sooooooo tiny and physically dynamic, you wonder how Law didn't crush her by lying on top of her .. but it was hot to watch their excessive face eating kisses in the car on their way down to his secret lair ...

    And, who could not agree more, that the steamiest scene in the movie involved Mell's emerging from the pool to join a hoooooooooooooootttt hottie looking Law in tight red pants and bare feet with his shirtless perfectly formed torso get down on his knees and invite her to sit in his lap and then he carefully places the emeralds on her skin counting each one out as he arranged them around her neck ... only to have them do more face eating and then dive back into that incredible lava rock looking pool ..

    The bad guys are so bad that you feel sorry for them .. except Valmont's blonde bimbo phone answering girl .. I wanted to see her thrown from the plane ..

    This movie definitely warrants 9/10 in my book .. it would have made 10/10 if they showed the "jaybird" bodies of Mell & Law ..
  • I love this movie! Better than Bond, or Batman movies! This film is what the new Batman films should have been. Another Bava masterpiece after a long line of wonderful work. Great action, wonderful music, and excellent production values. A must see...
  • I had been underwhelmed by this on first viewing, which I found rather campy, and was equally unimpressed by Ennio Morricone's 'corny' score! However, this time around it all just clicked somehow: it's undoubtedly one of the most sheerly enjoyable "Euro-Cult" offerings (unlike most other examples in the field, it zips along at breakneck speed) and the eclectic but disarming soundtrack has now become one of my favorites from this legendary composer!

    The film is widely recognized as the best to be adapted from a comic-strip up to that time; Bava dabbled in most genres and, apart from Epics and Westerns, his own work in each of them was peerless! As expected, he gave the film a super-stylish look - a masterpiece of production design and special effects (including extensive matte work) - and, even if he had a big Hollywood studio behind him (Paramount) and a proposed $3 million budget at his disposal, he brought the production in at the ridiculously low cost of $400,000!! Still, interference from the bigwigs made his experience on it an unhappy one - and this put paid to the idea for further exploits of the titular character (for which producer Dino DeLaurentiis was all ready to oblige)!

    The project was actually first gotten off the ground by other hands, with Jean Sorel as the masked criminal; besides, when Bava took over, Catherine Deneuve had initially been slated for the female lead! However, John Phillip Law and the delectable Marisa Mell were both perfectly cast - despite the fact that characterization in their respect was reduced to the bare essentials, so much so that they probably don't have ten sentences between them throughout the entire film! The rest of the cast is equally interesting: Michel Piccoli (as Diabolik's arch-nemesis Inspector Ginko), Adolfo Celi (as a racketeer) and Terry-Thomas (as the Finance Minister!).

    The film was highly influential, as witness The Beastie Boys' video for "Body Movin'" and Roman Coppola's homage to the European style of film-making circa 1970, CQ (2001) - which, incidentally, I watched immediately after I got done with the DANGER: DIABOLIK DVD! Finally, despite its tongue-in-cheek approach, it was still considered potentially harmful in the post-9/11 mindset because Diabolik is shown to wage his reign of terror without much consequence - and Paramount had initially scrapped its plans for a DVD release of the film, before saner minds prevailed!
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