Sunday, March 15, 2009

Diabolik-al Cinema

Last night I watched DANGER:DIABOLIK on DVD. This Italian-French co-production from 1967, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by Mario Bava, is pretty much the Platonic (but not platonic) ideal of the sixties mod European action flick. Diabolik, played by the recently-deceased John Phillip Law, is essentially the evil Batman; he dresses in black tights and a mask; he drives a black car (a Jaguar -- jeeze, those were much cooler in the sixties than they are today); he's insanely skilled; he has an arsenal of wonderful toys; he walks up walls; and he has a cave hideout that is unbelievably tricked out for a pad that no one but he and his sidekick sees. Of course, there are differences: His sidekick is not an adolescent boy, but rather a gorgeous blonde named Eva; and he's not out to fight crime -- he's out to commit it. Indeed, he blows up government buildings and kills police officers in cold blood. His only redeeming qualities are his love for Eva and his unalloyed coolness.

DANGER:DIABOLIK may not be Shakespeare, but it's a lot of fun.

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