Danger: Diabolik

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The suave, psychedelic-era thief called Diabolik (John Phillip Law) can’t get enough of life’s good - or glittery - things. Not when there are currency shipments to steal from under the noses of snooty government officials and priceless jewels to lift from the boudoirs of the super rich. The elusive scoundrel finds plenty of ways to live up to his name in this tongue-in-cheek, live-action caper inspired by Europe’s popular Diabolic comics. He clambers up walls, zaps a press conference with Exhilaration Gas, smacks a confession out of a crime lord while free-falling with him from an airplane, and pulls off the heist of a twenty-ton gold ingot. (Via Vision Entertainment)


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English When describing Danger: Diabolik, allusions to Fantomas, Barbarella and the Batman series of the same period pop up in abundance, but if there is anything to which this magnificently naïve and visually flawless film comes closest, it is the comics of Kája Saudek. Through their framing, mise-en-scene and specific decorative artefacts, some of the shots seem to directly evoke individual panels of the pop-art master, and that’s not even to mention the casting of the central duo, whose ethereal, statuesque nature seems to come to life directly from his drawings. Unlike the unbridled playfulness and humorous exaggeration of the films mentioned above, Danger: Diabolik works with the self-confessed naïveté, artificiality and absurd (anti-)logic of trashy comic books, which it indulgently depicts and takes delight in the fact that it wants to be more comic-bookish or rather more unrealistic than its source work. ()


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English A peculiar film that definitely wanted to ride on the popularity of Fantômas and James Bond, and I believe it succeeded to some extent. It's action-packed, it's peculiar, it's comedy and drama all in one, and neither aspect particularly stands out. It's somewhat bizarre, and slightly twisted at times. Simply put, Mario Bava outside of horror, and yet it works brilliantly. ()


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