HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Greta
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Skiptrace
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Aniara
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
   
 
Newest Articles
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Danger: Diabolik Italy's ultimate comic book caperBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Mario Bava
Stars: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Terry-Thomas
Genre: Comedy, Action, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: A glorious, cult classic, Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik is based on a fumetti (Italian comic book) created by a pair of schoolteachers (!), the Guissani sisters. Arch super-criminal Diabolik (super-cool John Phillip Law) and his glamorous partner in crime, Eva (super-sexy Marisa Mell) are the scourge of the establishment. They stage a daring daylight robbery, waltzing away with $1,000,000 right under the nose of the dedicated Inspector Ginco (Michel Piccoli). Escaping to Diabolik’s swanky, hi-tech lair, the pair make love on a bed covered in $100 bills, in one of most iconic scenes in cult film history. At a press conference, Diabolik doses the Minister of Interior (Terry-Thomas) with laughing gas humiliating him in front of the assembled newsmen. Inspector Ginco cranks up his war on crime, until only Diabolik and crime boss Valmont (Adolfo Celi) remain in his sights. Valmont, a far more murderous criminal than Diabolik, offers to help Ginco trap our leather clad supervillain, leading to a showdown between the ageing establishment types (both the police and the mob) and the youthful, free-spirited anti-heroes.

Produced by Italian mega-mogul Dino DeLaurentiis (as a companion piece to his charming Barbarella (1967)), Danger: Diabolik saw Mario Bava working with the biggest budget of his career: around $3 million. True to form, Bava used his technical wizardry to craft an exquisite looking comic book caper for a mere $400,000. DeLaurentiis was overjoyed and offered Bava the chance to make a sequel with the remaining money. Irked by the producer’s creative interference and alleged megalomania, Bava refused and subsequent attempts to lure him into directing King Kong (1976) and Flash Gordon (1980) also came to naught. While Bava’s independent streak remains admirable, it is nonetheless a shame a second Diabolik adventure was never made. It would have undoubtedly catapulted him onto bigger, international co-productions, part of the sixties superhero boom, a genre perfect for his pop art sensibilities. Imagine how Kong and Gordon could have turned out had Bava made them.

Everything about this live-action cartoon, clicks: the pop art production design, the outlandish gags, dynamic action, and an ebullient atmosphere of carefree sensuality, perfectly served by the casting of John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell (Replacements for a miscast Jean Sorel and Catherine Deneuve, who refused to strip off for the love scene, even though it contains no actual nudity). Having excelled as an angelic innocent in the earlier Barbarella, here Law essays the exact opposite, a literally diabolical genius. As with his later turn in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), he imbues the daredevil anti-hero with swashbuckling verve. Sadly, following this triumvirate of colourful characters, Law seems to have lost his way. Many of his later performances are regrettably wooden, although cult film aficionados should check out his cameo in Roman Coppola’s delightful CQ (2001), which pays affectionate tribute to both DeLaurentiis productions. The legend goes that Marisa Mell was an unexceptional Italian starlet, until a car crash and subsequent plastic surgery resulted in her Frankenstein-style transformation into the blonde bombshell beloved by cult film fans the world over today. As Eva, Mell remains effortlessly sexy and never descends to the level of token girlfriend. Eva is one of the most striking heroines in cult film, confident, capable and totally devoted to her lover.

Though they are ostensibly criminals, there is something appealing about Diabolik and Eva’s playful rebelliousness, underlined in the witty script co-authored by Bava, Dino Maiuri and British writer Tudor Gates (Gates went on to write the mid-seventies lesbian vampire trilogy for Hammer, and co-wrote a comedy-giallo with Bava titled Cry Nightmare! (1968) that was eventually filmed by Antonio Margheriti). While the government officials and boorish mobsters remain callous and crass, the criminal couple never hurt anyone innocent and are clever, stylish and genuinely in love. Their anti-establishment antics must have played really well to young people in 1968 (One scene has Diabolik destroy Italy’s tax records, to the public’s delight). However, Bava plays fair by depicting an establishment figure, Inspector Ginco, as a decent, caring, honourable man and has Diabolik ultimately undone by his own greed and self-interest. Though that sequel never arrived (Although Terry-Thomas returned for the spoof Arriva Dorellik (1968)), Diabolik’s entrapment during the serial-like climax remains only a temporary setback. As his diabolical laughter suggests, the spirit of rebellion can never be entirely suppressed.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5294 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Mario Bava  (1914 - 1980)

Italian director/writer/cinematographer and one of the few Italian genre film-makers who influenced, rather than imitated. Worked as a cinematographer until the late 1950s, during which time he gained a reputation as a hugely talented director of photography, particularly in the use of optical effects.

Bava made his feature debut in 1960 with Black Sunday/The Mask of Satan, a richly-shot black and white Gothic gem. From then on Bava worked in various genres – spaghetti western, sci-fi, action, peplum, sex – but it was in the horror genre that Bava made his legacy. His sumptuously filmed, tightly plotted giallo thrillers (Blood and Black Lace, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Bay of Blood) and supernatural horrors (Lisa and the Devil, Baron Blood, Kill, Baby...Kill!) influenced an entire generation of Italian film-makers (and beyond) – never had horror looked so good. Bava’s penultimate picture was the harrowing thriller Rabid Dogs, while his last film, Shock, was one his very scariest. Died of a heart attack in 1980.

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith
   

 

Last Updated: