DANGER: DIABOLIK (1968) – The Dungeon Review!
The second film in my Saturday Night Bava Triple Feature was Danger: Diabolik! Another Bava film I had not visited for several years that desperately needed a re-watch. The adventures of master thief Diabolik and his smart, sassy assistant Eva Kant is an action-packed, sexy and fun-filled romp of the first order!
Diabolik is based on an anti-hero from Italian comics created by Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962. Diabolik is a mastermind thief who along with partner Eva Kant consistently eludes the Inspector and his men. The Minister of the Interior is getting hot under the collar over the whole business and restores the death penalty. When asked by the media about Diabolik he states the following: “I assure you that this individual whose very name reveals his antagonisms to the established values of our society will soon be brought to justice.” There are plenty of people who would like to see Diabolik’s head on a platter. The inspector attempts to lure and trap Diabolik with an acquisition he can not resist. But trapping this Diabolik character is no simple task. After some costly failures the Inspector agrees to a negotiation with wanted criminal Valmont. Valmont promises to deliver Diabolik in exchange for leniency.
The film nicely preserves its illustrated source material; at least in the sense that the film maintains a comic book feel (I have never read any of the Diabolik comics). Danger: Diabolik is extraordinarily visual in its presentation. The story is pretty thin but it functions well enough as a catalyst to roll out some cool images. The sets in the film are nothing short of spectacular! Diabolik’s underground lair is one bodacious pad! It’s futuristic, fantastique! Diabolik and Eva shower in his and hers glass stalls with an appropriately placed piece of frosted glass to hide their bits and than have sex in their giant rotating bed full of money! Now this is the sort of criminal I want to be! Diabolik is cheeky, handsome, audacious and perhaps a touch anarchistic. His schemes are hilariously elaborate and he is always at least one step ahead of the law. He is also quick on the fly; at one point in the film using a catapult when cornered on a rooftop. There is nothing this guy can’t do! But behind every great man is a seriously foxy, intelligent and multi-talented woman. Stylish Eva Kant is Diabolik’s dedicated partner in crime; she is a woman who knows how to get a job done. John Philip Law (Diabolik) and Marisa Mell (Eva Kant) make an attractive couple and have great chemistry together.
The supporting cast provides plenty of laughs. I especially enjoyed Michel Piccoli’s performance as the oft outsmarted Inspector Ginko as well as Terry Thomas who plays the Minister of the Interior/Minister of Finance both positions of which he is made a fool of by Diabolik. The lengths that Inspector Ginko goes to in his attempts to capture Diabolik are as outrageous as the schemes Diabolik comes up with to foil his plans.
Danger: Diabolik is a striking film and one of Bava’s most visually impressive. A funny, action-packed visceral delight and a crapload of fun! Danger: Diabolik is highly recommended!
A few more pics for your viewing pleasure…
Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5
Directed By: Mario Bava
Starring: John Philip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora, Mario Donen, Renzo Palmer, Caterina Boratto, Lucia Modugno, Annie Gorassini