Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Danger: Diabolik

Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografia
Director: Mario Bava
Length: 100 minutes
Format: 35mm
Date Viewed: 3 January

Only the Italians could have made "Danger: Diabolik." Between the high fashion, fantastic sets, excellent score, brightly colored production design, flamboyant cinematography and incredibly beautiful leads, the film reeks of late 60s Italian excess, and this film is all the better for it. This incredibly fun crime film doesn't make any sense at all and doesn't even begin to care. Based on a long-running comic book series, the film revels in its comic origins as perfectly as the 1967 film version of "Batman" (to date my favorite comic book film, to which "Danger: Diabolik" is second), as is vividly evidenced in the sets, carelessness towards space and time, painfully arched eyebrows and even its characters' exaggerated body types. Bava, whose "Planet of the Vampires" is one of my favorite horror films, is the perfect director for this material, making essentially a B-movie on an A-budget. However, the film could have used a little trimming - especially extraneous is the hippie freak-out scene towards the beginning - and the ending is left open too widely, waiting for a sequel that never came to be. These are minor quibbles, though, and the film more than compensates for them, providing us a masterpiece of Italian B-movie cinema.


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