Danger: Diabolik

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 20


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,534
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Movie Info

Diabolik (John Phillip Law) is the criminal mastermind who has just pulled off a huge heist. He spends most of his free time with his girlfriend, Eva (Marisa Mell), in fond embrace. The police minister (Terry-Thomas) is approached by Valmont (Adolfo Celi), a master criminal who proposes to use his underworld connections to catch Diabolik for the police. In between their gratuitous lovemaking, he and the exotic Eva are chased by police and the mob in this plodding crime drama.

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Marisa Mell
as Eva Kant
Michel Piccoli
as Inspector Ginko
Adolfo Celi
as Ralph Valmont
as Minister of Finance
Mario Donen
as Sgt. Danek
Claudio Gora
as Police Chief
Edward Febo Kelleng
as Sir Harold Clark
Caterina Boratto
as Lady Clark
Giulio Donnini
as Dr. Vernier
Renzo Palmer
as Minister's Assistant
Andrea Bosic
as Bank Manager
Lucia Modugno
as Prostitute
Giorgio Sciolette
as Morgue Doctor
Carlo Croccolo
as Lorry Driver
Lidia Biondi
as Policewoman
Isarco Ravaioli
as Valmont's Henchman
Federico Boito
as Valmont's Henchman
Tiberio Mitri
as Valmont's Henchman
Wolfgang Hillinger
as Valmont's Henchman
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Critic Reviews for Danger: Diabolik

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Danger: Diabolik

  • Jan 19, 2018
    "Ahh, we'll put it right in here. Good. This laser gun can melt anything...except you, honey." Is this the greatest comic book movie or just the best? From the first time I saw it being lampooned on the series finale of Mystery Science Theater 3000, this movie has held a complex and cherished place in my heart. Danger: Diabolik is at the confluence of many disparate aspects of cinema that I grow to appreciate more and more each year. The team of writers, artists, producers, and musicians behind the film have all left a nearly indelible mark on film history, and it's my go-to obscure cult favorite. But one can't properly contextualize Danger: Diabolik without bringing up the far more popular Barbarella, a staple of (if not the quintessential) camp film. After all, the two films share star John Phillip Law and co-writers Brian Degas and Tudor Gates - mostly due to the three of them being in both Dino De Laurentiis productions. Of course, Laurentiis produced several of my favorite films of the 80s Conan: The Barbarian, Blue Velvet, and Evil Dead II, as well as films by other master directors like Bergman and Fellini. It is Laurentiis' involvement that both helped and hindered this schlock masterpiece. You see, Danger: Diabolik was intended as a quick, cheap ($ 120,000) flick for dredging up money to fund the more extravagant (most conservative estimate: $ 4,000,000) production of Barbarella. Laurentiis' choice to direct this project was none other than the inventor of Giallo film, Mario Bava. Anyone who has seen Bava's earlier divergence from his slasher roots, Planet of the Vampires, would be well aware of the man's skill and ingenuity at creating an entirely other world with such a cheap budget. With literal smoke and mirrors (and a few matte paintings) Bava made a psychedelic neon planet to captivate even the most cynical 70's Doctor Who fan while staging what is essentially the premise and plot of Ridley Scott's Alien. Say what you will of any other aspect of Danger: Diabolik, but Bava's production design is immaculately colorful and expansive. From the overweening fascist motor police headquarters that open the film to Diabolik's groovy, Jaguar-filled, underground lair, the scale and detail of the sets, ironically, put that of the far more expensive Barbarella to shame. Let me be perfectly clear up front, I think Barbarella is a flat-on-its-face piece of trash. Sure, it's good for a chuckle, but in the context of the money spent on it, I'm flabbergasted at the the sheer waste of the whole thing. I mean, it's too boring and bored by itself to be even ironically good. It's a garish and tacky stage production that blends a completely banal space fantasy with non-sequitur visual design, and it was directed by an overpaid drunk who was all too willing to belch out "Cut! That's a wrap." If not for the completely over the top (and, admittedly, sometimes gorgeous) costumes and sets, this film's canister, filled with all of its sexual "liberation" and "science" fiction, would have been relegated to some Italian film exec's desk as an ashtray. Considering the unmitigated amount of influence and import placed on Barbarella over the subsequent 50 years, I envy for Danger: Diabolik the financial priority placed on such a vastly inferior product. So, what makes one schlocky comic book adaptation that much better than the other? For one, Danger: Diabolik is scored by Ennio Morricone. Since we're talking context, the year is 1968, and no big deal but this was the year he wrote for two of the greatest spaghetti westerns of all time: The Great Silence and Once Upon a Time in the West. While both of them are masterpieces in their own right and contain some of Morricone's most beautiful compositions, I can't help but tout the soundtrack to Danger: Diabolik as second only to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The cornerstone of the film lies in a very sexually charged, Bond-esque theme song "Deep, Deep Down", a tune containing the majority of leitmotifs that permeate the soundtrack. Plenty of vocal "wah-wahs" and surf guitar aid a truly psychedelic orchestra of bongos, electric sitar, and claves - "psychedelic", that is, if you don't prefer the Herb Alpert-esque lounge farts of the Barbarella OST. Then there are the sets. Then there are the set pieces. Then there's Eva, played by Marisa Mell, who is in my mind the 60's silver screen sex Goddess. Then there's character actor Terry-Thomas who would go on to play iconic roles in A Clockwork Orange and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Then there's the flagpole of French acting himself, Michel Piccoli, taking a pay cut for a little exposure early in his career. Then there's Adolfo Celi, perhaps more recognizable as Largo in one of my favorite Bond films Thunderball. And is that the first blurry "pass the joint around" panning sequence in movie history? With all of these great connections, how could Danger: Diabolik end up as the focus of the penultimate televised episode of a show predicated on poking fun at bad films? Following the trend of pretty much every movie made in Italy until the 90s, ADR, or dubbing, was the most efficient way to make up for the loud noises produced by standard film making equipment at the time. As disjointed as it may seem, I really love dubbing in movies for the element of unreality added to the escapist proceedings, but I gotta say it looks and sounds a little cheesy. I really can see why people think this movie is crap, and maybe it is a little. Back in the day, there would be a domestic edit, an international edit, and (if it made the market) an American edit. With the American edit called simply Diabolik, you get such woeful lines as "Is that Stud coming?", but the 2005 Paramount Pictures DVD preserves the majority of the film, visually and vocally. The only thing holding it back from a concerted restoration is the fact that the master tapes - yes, the same master tapes of one of the best Morricone compositions - are possibly no longer extant. Well, perhaps upon the 50th inaugural year of the movie's existence we will get a higher quality restoration. Diabolik blew up the financial institutions and wiped out debt before Fight Club. Diabolik was a cynical anti-hero based on a graphic novel before Batman, Deadpool, and Logan. Diabolik is the 1960's. It's beyond cult and camp and comic, and it really does prove that Italians do it better. Next time you think about wasting time on spandex man in CG, go ahead and find a decent copy of Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik instead. You can thank me about 50 years from now.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2012
    As a kid and a teenager I can't even try to guess how many comics with Diabolik and Barbarella I read, but I can tell you, for sure, that I enjoyed every single one of them! And when I found out that this Mario Bava film was based on my favourite Italian comic character Diabolik I was in the cinema immediately with all of my pimpled friends. It left a huge impact on me at the time... And after so many years trying to find it on DVD, I finally did it! I have to say that the story of a skilled thief (played by John Phillip Law) living out of a ritzy hideout who steals incredible riches from the imaginary country government was still catching my attention while watching how Diabolik takes $10 million in cash, a highly prized set of emeralds, and an enormous gold ingot. Eva Kant was played by Marisa Mell, while police inspector Ginko was Michel Piccoli and their acting for today's standards wasn't exceptional. But, everyone at the time agreed that A Dino De Laurentiis production made another sexy cult movie (Barbarella, which also featured Law is still one of my favourite ones)! Everything was so different at the time in this movie: story, set, characters, music (the song Deep, Deep, Down was sung by "Christie" which was later voted number three in the best sound tracks ever though it had not been released in any form)... For the comic fans the beauty was that the movie was fairly faithful to the original, having Diabolik drive his black jaguar sports car and Eva drive her white one. The violence in the comics had to be toned down for the film and when it was finally shown in England in late 1969, it had 17 minutes cut from it. One of Diabolik's trademarks was his knife throwing but this was only done twice in the film, when he was after the necklace. The film budget came in at under $500,000, mainly thanks to the very skillful use of camera tricks by Mario Bava like under cranking (so making things look like they are moving faster), many matte paintings and cut-out pictures (to show buildings, the inside of the hide out and other things which did not exist) as well as front projection (which made it look like the stars were in speeding vehicles, etc.). If you want to see a movie which is a part of the film history, like a good action, try around 100 minutes of pure fantasy and fun! You won't regret!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2012
    This comic book adaptation is not for everyone, it's campy, goofy, corny, and over the top. Than again, it's campy, goofy, corny, and over the top enough to be enjoyable. Danger:Diabolik is about super-thief Diabolik who runs around stealing jewels, gold, murdering innocent people, and being a nuisance to the government of a generic European country. First off, the plot has allot of padding and shows us things we really don't want to see. I doubt me seeing Diabolik not put the money he in stole in a safe, driving through his base which takes forever, and having sex with Eve, Diabolik (very hot) girlfriend is really important. When it does have a story to tell it's decent, though somwhat rediculous like the hilariously bad dubbing. One rediculous moment involve Diabolik shooting a villian 11 times with diamonds in his machine gun, is that even possible? Or a moment where Diabolik catapults a dummy with his clothes into the sea to avoid being captured, where he got the dummy is a mysterey. The only downside to the story is that the ending leaves something to be desired, though it's filled with enough explosions and humor to make the viewing experience worth it. The green screen effects are pretty dated here to the point where part of a man leg disappears in mid-air but it adds some charm to it and some good laughs. The same goes with the campy music which doesn't exactly go with the movie all the time, but it's fun to listen to and is simply there to entertain. As for the for the cast, everybody besides our main man gets plenty of speaking lines. It's odd that our main character gets little to no speaking lines, heck even his girlfriend has more lines than him and she barely speaks. Now to be honest she's not here because she can act, she's only here to be eye candy which is fine by me since they didn't sterotype blondes and she easy one eyes. Danger Diabolik might be to rediclous and cheesy for some viewers to enjoy, but I had fun with it. While not for everyone, if you're looking for a campy comic adaptation aside of Marvels and DC go ahead and try Danger Diabolik.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 27, 2009
    Not quite the campfest I expected. Mediocre, but worth a watch.
    Tim S Super Reviewer

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