Week 50: Diabolik

Mario Bava, 1968

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“Holy heart failure,” Robin called out. The children laughed. It was 1966 and Batman was a shoddy superhero on a small tv-screen. Comics were meant for children and Hollywood refused to take a serious financial bet on the superhero genre. In contrast, Terence Young’s spy thriller “Dr. No” (1962) and its sequels proved the spy genre was booming. As a result, Italian director Mario Bava took it upon himself to adapt the Italian ‘Diabolik’ comic book series into a movie.

Diabolik is not a hero, nor is has he any ‘superpowers.’ He is criminal: morally corrupted and arrogant. Above all, Diabolik seems to be the embodiment of European promiscuity. His relationship with his female counterpart Eva seems to be based on sex and eroticism. The best description of Diabolik would be that he is a demented version of James Bond. What makes “Diabolik” (1968) so much fun to watch is definitely not its plot, but its twisted portrayal of the anti-spy and his lover in a series of strong scenes that have become cult classics in their own right – including a love scene involving a revolving bed and $10 million in cash.

In addition, the costume design by Piero Gherardi and Luciana Marinucci continues to surprise!

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