Diabolik Blaise

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Enjoyed my first day presenting POW!!! My talk was, I’m told, sold out — and then DANGER: DIABOLIK also packed Filmhouse 3 and got a great reaction, which was good to see. A smaller crowd for MODESTY BLAISE made the larger Filmhouse 1 seem spacious, but those who came were able to enjoy an utterly pristine print from the Fox archive.

MODESTY BLAISE may be the ur-text of DIABOLIK. If I may revert to the language of an IMDb keywords entry ~

Giant white revolving bed; villain on luxury yacht; coloured smoke; elaborate plot to decoy heist; incompetent government ministers; underwater heist…

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Both films are better than you think, even if you already love them — on the big screen, DIABOLIK’s episodic storyline flows smoothly with ne’er a lull, and MODESTY’s rather weightless narrative somehow compels attention, despite the most MacGuffiny MacGuffin. The blend of sex and violence in both is alluring — Joseph Losey disapproved strongly of James Bond but somehow made something harsher and kinkier, with jarring bursts of comedy which don’t so much diffuse the nastiness as throw it into sharp relief.

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3 Responses to “Diabolik Blaise”

  1. Interestingly both films revolve around 60’s icons: Monica Vitti from Antonioni (and Italian comedies little-known elsewhere) and John Phillip Law from Barbarella and Skidoo

  2. Gosh, I wish I was in Edinburgh to see the production design of both in 35MM on the big screen.

  3. Tomorrow’s events begin with 2001 in 70mm (70mm season) and end with Barbarella (Pow!!!). So I can spend the entire day in 1968 in the future.

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