Danger: Diabolik Studio: Paramount Year: 1968 Rated: PG-13 Length: 100 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono Special Features: Commentary, featurette, music video, trailers SRP: $14.99 USD Release Date: June 14, 2005 The Film Danger: Diabolik stars John Phillip Law as master thief Diabolik - one part The Phantom from The Pink Panther, and one part James Bond. And what would a smarmy character like Diabolik be without a beautiful woman at his side? Marisa Mell obliges in that role. In the film, Diabolik so angers the government that they go to extreme lengths to attempt to capture the thief, even colluding with noted crime boss Valmont. With not only the full resources of government against him, but Valmont’s forces as well, what’s a thief to do? Well, it being his girl’s birthday, he decides to steal a valuable royal emerald necklace... what else? Calling this film “campy” would put it in the same league as the sixties version of Batman, and that wouldn’t do this cult classic justice. Director Mario Bava uses frequent deep focus to take advantage of elaborate sets. There are intelligent in-camera visual effects used throughout the film. His camera will smartly follow the action in all three dimensions, stopping here and there to frame characters within natural boxes (window frames, mirrors, and other natural framings) to evoke the feel of a comic book frame. This tongue-in-cheek live-action caper is ripped from the pages of the popular European Diabolik comics. Not only does Bava create the look and feel of the source comic better than most any other movie based on a comic, but Law plays the part to perfection. The film clearly evokes the sixties, the period in which it was shot, with its choice of music and color. Stylistically, the film bears its Italian heritage, with much of the film re-dubbed after editing. With Diabolik’s occasional terrorist-like approach, I doubt that a film like this would be made today. All the more reason to pick up this cult classic... we won’t see the likes of it again. Audio / Video Danger: Diabolik is presented in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The image is nicely detailed, but it does exhibit a bit of occasional ringing around high contrast transitions. Colors are beautifully saturated and rendered in nice warm palettes. Contrast is excellent, with strong black levels that don’t lose details. Whites are bright without ever blowing out. There are no noticeable compression artifacts. The source print is, for the most part, very clean, the biggest exception being in areas with optical effects - which is to be expected. The sound is brought to you in a monaural track, over two channels. The frequency response is outstanding. Music, effects and dialog are all well rendered and easily intelligible. A very slight hiss can be heard in some quieter passages, when played at higher volume levels. Overall, I’m very pleased with this transfer. Commentary by actor John Phillip Law and Tim Lucas (biographer of director Mario Bava) The bits of commentary I sampled were very interesting and informative - Lucas gives much insight into Bava’s style, and Law is able to relate his firsthand experiences on the set, and fill in some of the gaps in Lucas’ commentary in areas of effects and set design. Danger: Diabolik - From Fumetti to Film Writer and cartoonist Stephen R. Bisette dominates this 20+ minute featurette, offering an excellent discussion of the translation of Diabolik from the Italian comics (fumetti) to the screen. He has keen insight on Mario Bava’s stylistic choices in the film, making for a very revealing featurette. Also included are some comments from actor John Phillip Law, as well as some period interviews and footage of the principle players in the making of the film. This is an interesting and enlightening featurette. Body Movin’ - Beastie Boys Video (1998) Body Movin’ - with commentary by Adam Yauch The Beastie Boys video is presented separately, with or without commentary. This video was inspired by, and includes clips from the film. Teaser Trailer Theatrical Trailer DVD Credits Final Thoughts An excellent, fun film. This cult film comes with a good commentary and an excellent featurette, as well as some other extras. While not chock full of supplemental features, what’s here is very well done. Most importantly, Paramount has delivered an excellent transfer. Recommended.