Watched: January 5 2023

Director: Mario Bava

Starring: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora, Terry-Thomas, Mario Donen

Year: 1968

Runtime: 1h 45min

Diabolik: a criminal mastermind! Think 1960s Batman villain/dark James Bond. He has a suave underground lair, fast cars and even faster dames, revealing showers, infinite tricks up his (immaculately tailored) sleeves, and a lust for adventure and danger surpassing even Rick O’Connell. He also has A Dame of His Own; Eva – a trusted sidekick and confidant as well as Secret-Lover-in-the-Night-Time (or really any time, it seems). Like her man, the Dame has expensive taste and her only wish for her birthday is an emerald necklace owned by a powerful politician’s wife. Cue heist!

“I think, for this heist, I shall wear my BLACK leather daddy mask.”
“No! Wait! This calls for my sad beige mask for sad beige röbberies!”

Now, being a Criminal Mastermind, Diabolik has managed to piss off both law inforcement, represented by inspector Ginko, and a mafia-like crime syndicate, led by the ruthless Valmont. They’re both after his hide, and throughout the movie our anti-hero and Eva must thwart their plots and avoid capture, traps and certain death.

Not to mention avoid papercuts in unmentionable places

Danger: Diabolik is the epitome of the 1960s in our minds (of course, as we are very young and nubile, we didn’t experience the decade ourselves); it’s colourful, cool, sexy and sleek. At first, Diabolik himself was presented like a clear hero – his first heist was immaculately planned with no loss of life. However, as the film progressed, he started killing people left, right and centre. Still, he is much more humane with more of a moral compass than say crime boss Valmont, and we loved how we ende up rooting for both Diabolik and Inspector Ginko. Diabolik and Eva seem very much in love and in a surprisingly healthy relationship. You know, apart from the crime of it all.

And the aforementioned papercuts.

We loved the art/graphics of this, the fact that we learn nothing about the backstory of this gentleman criminal (we guess there might be more meat on that bone in the original comic, but we enjoyed the mystery of it all), the Morricone score and the drama queen that is Diabolik himself. It’s a funny, cool, stylish and thoroughly entertaining watch, and we recommend it to basically everyone. Enjoy!

“I told you this would happen, Diabolik! Look at this! Pick me up some ointment on the way home..?”

What we learned: Clearly, there’s a universe out there where cars and guns come cheap, but fabric for women’s clothing is out of everyone’s price range. Also, it is impossible NOT to pronounce Diabolik as “diabolique.”

Next time: Dark of the Sun (1968)

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