Friday, July 17, 2009
Danger: Diabolik (1968, Mario Bava)
So I was asking around online for more films, similar to Casino Royale and 10th Victim (review coming soon) that exude the look and feel of the 60s. Films with the over the top set designs, psychedelic colors, beautiful women and suave leading men. The first response I got was Danger: Diabolik, a film I had heard of but didn't really know anything about. I looked it up and instantly had to see it.
Danger: Diabolik is about a thief named Diabolik (John Phillip Law) and his girlfriend Eva (Marisa Mell). After stealing $10 million dollars from the government, there is a clampdown on crime in the area, which puts a crime boss named Valmont (Adolfo Celi) into a panic. Valmont strikes a deal with police investigator Ginko (Michel Piccoli) to capture Diabolik for them. In the meantime, Diabolik steals a prized emerald necklace, further enraging the police. Time will only tell if Diabolik's crime spree will continue or if he will be brought to justice.
Though not a spy film, Danger: Diabolik is a great find for the type of movie I was looking for. It has such a great 60s feel. It's such an oddball movie but I loved it. John Phillip Law as Diabolik was perfect - smart, debonair, athletic and dangerous. When you think about how you are rooting for a criminal through the whole movie it might seem weird, but with Diabolik you just can't help it. The bumbling cops and villains in this film are just no match for someone like Diabolik. Bava's direction was perfect for the film and it's stunning how different this is from some of his other films. One thing about Bava is that no matter what the budget (usually low), he always has a great sense of style to add to his films. Ennio Morricone's music score is classic, a nice combo of the big band music of the 60s spy films with a touch of surf that fits the chase scenes perfectly. The more I think about this film, the more I like it and want to watch it again. I really can't think of anything bad about this film. I definitely recommend it.