1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Danger Diabolik (Recommended)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Jun 15, 2005.

Tags:
  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG]
    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.
     
  2. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson
    As I mentioned in the other DIABOLIK thread, it should be noted that, thankfully, the soundtrack on this new DVD is the original theatrical English dub, making its home video debut. The onscreen title is also DANGER: DIABOLIK. The previous Paramount LD and VHS release featured the original Italian title DIABOLIK, as well as a new dub with all voices except for those of Law, Mell, and Terry-Thomas (whose voices are their own on both dubs) redone by different actors. Originally the name of the titular character was pronounced "Dye-a-bol-ik"; on the LD/VHS dub it's pronounced "Dee-a-bol-ik". The music volume levels were also monkeyed with on this dub. DVD Savant wrote an extensive article about DIABOLIK and the details of how the LD/VHS dub changed the feel of the film, which can be found here:

    DANGER DIABOLIK: The Guiltiest Pleasure Of Them All
     
  3. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the input, Jeffrey. When I don't have time to research or verify such information, I can always count on the membership here to elaborate.

    -Scott
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    Messages:
    6,191
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    It's pretty clear that Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was familiar with the other dub since he uses the "Dee-a-bol-ik" pronunciation rather than "Dye-a-bol-ik" on his commentary. I was wondering why that was and now I know.

    Regards,
     
  5. Nathan Phillips

    Nathan Phillips Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I still think they should've had the MST3K finale as an extra, but why carp?
     
  6. Bill Parisho

    Bill Parisho Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As much as I reprimand the video companies when they do a sloppy job on a DVD release, I feel we should encourage them when they do right by a title.
    Everybody should E-mail Paramount Home Video and thank them for:
    1. Releasing this title at all
    2. Doing a nice transfer
    3. Including bonus features
    4. Putting it out at a very reasonable price
    Thank you Paramount! Well done!
    Bill Parisho
     
  7. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    I started laughing when I saw that this got reviewed because I can only ever think about MST3K when I see this title. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson

    I can't even tell you how glad I am that they didn't do this. MST3K ain't worthy of sharing a plastic disc with DIABOLIK. And gee, wouldn't a Mike Nelson commentary have been great...
     
  9. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, personally I can still watch This Island Earth original version or MST'ied and enjoy both, Danger Diabolik is no different. It's called satire, just because John Belushi satirized Toshirô Mifune in several skits on SNL does not mean that it takes away from the original work....it's called satire.

    Good to hear that The Mount has finally given a cultish catalog title some respectable treatment.....now why the hell they couldn't have thrown a few bones to us Dragonslayer fans with a few extras (not even a trailer) I don't know. [​IMG]
     
  10. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson

    I don't have a problem with satire as a concept, but I do have a problem with satire that I find to be spectacularly unfunny in execution. The MST3K gang are about as funny as animal torture footage.
     
  11. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0

    And I on the other hand do find them to be quite hilarious......surprise surprise-opinions opinions.[​IMG]


    Anyway, so I wonder which soundtrack is going to be considered the "original" and who will be the first to complain about the italian track not being on the disc? Being an italian film from the 60's it's fairly certain that no on-set sound was ever recorded so it doesn't really matter as long as this is the original "english" track that the filmmakers supervised (and I assume that they did indeed have a hand in this, Bava usually did).
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson

    Obviously you find them to be funny...I was merely saying that, yes, I realize it's called satire (yes, I've heard that term used before), but that's not the reason I'm glad MST3K are nowhere to be found on this disc.
     
  13. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2001
    Messages:
    4,939
    Likes Received:
    211
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    John Steffens
    wow, nowmaybe we can expect this in the next MST3K set
     
  14. Stephen Ford

    Stephen Ford Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Crow> Gentlemen - let's open our movie with a ten-minute shot of a spinning radish!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2000
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    110

    I remember reading somewhere that Roman Coppola lobbied really hard for this one to get a special edition treatment as his love for movies like Diabolik is pretty obvious in CQ. So I guess Dragonslayer didn't have any major filmmakers (or filmmakers' kids) willing to step up for its honor [​IMG]
     
  16. Shane Gralaw

    Shane Gralaw Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2001
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is just about a perfect release for a film of its type. Not perfect, image-wise but nothing of this vintage could be expected to be flawless. I am more impressed with the extras, I love any commentary that includes both a participant and an expert. No particiapant has the detailed knowledge of someone obsessively into a subject, fact wise. And no scholarly obsessive has all the on-set facts. This approach gets great insights without being too scholarly and also avoids the "Oh I remember that day- and in the background of that shot is our craft services guy- he was cool" kinda commentary. Great to have both together on one track. And as most of us laymen found out about the film from the Beastie Boys video- that is a natural inclusion- but the commentary on that too is a terrific bonus. This is the way an influential cult title should be done.
     
  17. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0

    But you dislike their satire and wouldn't wish it to be anywhere near this disc, correct?
     
  18. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    I don't see how this would help that cause out at all. Paramount clearly has distribution rights to this title and is now producing it on DVD, so Rhino would not be able to get clearance unless Paramount licensed it to them at a price they could afford. There are countless unreleased MST3K episodes in public domain that Rhino can deal with (and likely will) first.
     
  19. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What is so holy about the MST3K 'version'? It is awful. I love how some people here bleat on about films being presented "in the way the director intended" and then demand MST3K bastardizations of movies from Mario Bava, a Master of Cinema. This Island Earth is an amazing film, a true landmark in science fiction, that speaks volumes of the political and social climate in American of the 1950s.

    "This Island Earth has everything against it. It's a fantasy, it's science-fiction, it's slanted at adolescents, it's a routine product from a studio with no intellectual pretentions, it has no auteurs, it's artistic 'texture' is largely mediocre - and for all that, it has a genuine charge of poetry and of significant social feeling. It's not a cliché; with its sense of inner tensions, of moral tragedy, it's myth."

    - Raymond Durgnat, Films and Feelings (M.I.T. Press, 1967)

    But most people don't 'read' films - especially science fiction and horror - in the way that Durgnat did. They were, and still are, seen as 'meaningless' diversions of the medium. But many science fiction, horror and fantasy films have deeper levels of meaning, just as myths do, as Durgnat alludes in Films and Feelings.

    It would just as easy and stupid to do a MST3K torching of Jaws or Star Wars. I don't mind parodies of films, but using the actual film itself, in edited form as the medium of satire isn't very innovative or creative. It also prejudices first-time viewers of the film into thinking that the film is of little worth and is of mediocre quality. Just look at the IMDb listing for Diabolik: that rating is not a true indicator of the film's quality, I feel (although, since the DVD was released, the rating has increased from 4.6 to 4.9). Surely, the MST3K version has affected the public's perception of the film. Diabolik is a pop-art gem by a great filmmaker and is much more entertaining than Lisa and the Devil, which has a higher IMDb rating.

    I can't wait to read Tim Lucas', Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark in September. It has been a long wait, but I sure it has been more than worth it. Scorsese has written an introduction and Riccardo Freda has written a foreward.
     
  20. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1998
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    .
     

Share This Page