Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
Mario Bava’s “Danger: Diabolik” is one of those movies that lovers of ’60s-era design can’t help but love. Bava is known for horror movies, but “Diabolik,” with its vivid, comic-book palette and loopy, Bond-inspired sets taps a more playful vein of the maestro’s personality. In many ways it’s the sexy-silly spoof that “Barbarella” tried to be but wasn’t. Bava being one of the great color cinematographers in history, few were better suited than he to bringing the day-glo world of comics to life. It’s a shame he never did another movie of this type.
Artist Renato Casaro’s two pieces, used to advertise the movie in Italy, are among the great movie-poster designs of the ’60s. It’s hard to beat the graphical punch packed by this primarily green, orange, and pink beauty.
Casaro’s larger poster — it’s over six feet in height — moves the spotlit vignette of John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell to Diabolik’s hand and renders it in a more cartoonish style. This poster’s emphasis is on the Diabolik character — a favorite from Italian comics — rather than the sexy lead actors. Speaking of the hand, it seems physically impossible that it’s connected to Diabolik’s arm. But, then, of what matter is physiology to a superhero?
This French design, by Jacques Vassier, wants to make it crystal clear that the movie has some kind of connection to psychedelia. Being French, Michel Piccoli makes an appearance. That’s okay with me. Who doesn’t love Michel Piccoli?
I don’t know who is responsible for the painting on this American poster, but there’s no doubt the Bond franchise served as the primary reference point. The costumed Diabolik doesn’t even make an appearance; rather, the character is presented as a ruggedly handsome man of action. As in the art used to advertise the Bond films, the emphasis is on adventure, manly stuff, and sex. I love the tagline: “Out for all he can take, caress or get away with . . .”
- Fab shoe designer Ruthie Davis is a big fan of “Danger: Diabolik,” and she calls Casaro’s smaller poster her “Bible.”