Thursday, April 13, 2023

Movie Matinee: Superargo Versus Diabolicus

This was a beautiful and entertaining movie in my childhood. It played at my local cinema, the now-gone Astral at CFB Borden, a few times and I caught it on at least two occasions. Somehow we young moviegoers knew it wasn't exactly a Hollywood movie even though it was a CinemaScope and colour picture featuring fast cars, computer consoles, cool fights (the flick opens with Superargo, a guy in red tights, wrestling in a ring with a leopard man), a rocketship, and an emotive villain running his nefarious operation out of a small island.

I learned that Superargo contro Diabolikus ― brought to America as Superargo Versus Diabolicus ― was an Italian/Spanish co-production from 1966. The only actor I am familiar with is GĂ©rard Tichy; he was in two Samuel Bronston pictures from 1961: El Cid and King of Kings. Tichy plays the villain, Diabolicus, with great delight, as I remember it. He says to Superargo: "With my brains and your strength we can rule the world!" (I would now ask: "What? Is he from a race of Atomic Supermen? Okay, I'm sure the guy can bench-press three hundred pounds, or more, and run at a fair clip, but Superargo would be a key and vital figure in helping a smart guy conquer and rule the world?")

Perhaps it's time I revisit this fine piece of matinee fare and enjoy Superargo's delightful final few minutes all over again, the way I remember them....

(Spoilers; stop here if you plan to catch the flick.)

As a clock does a classic countdown, Diabolicus tries to take off in a rocketship from his island to escape a pursuing Superargo, and a timed detonator (which will blow up the island).

Next, there is a shot, at night time, of what appears to be a pile of mud on a wet garage floor. I think: "Oh, that's the area right under the rocket booster... and the flame is supposed to be the rockets readying to fire."

Shot of Superargo running over to a control panel. He pulls a power cable, or something or other, and sparks fly. Medium close-up of Diabolicus yelling or screaming in his capsule. Back to the wet garage floor as a mass of flame licks and swirls around the pile of mud which throws about little chunks of mud.

I think: "Diabolicus is getting away; the rockets are firing." At that exact same instant, just about everyone in the movie theatre explodes with laughter.

Feeling little, I think: "What are they laugh... ? Ohh, that's supposed to be the island blowing up!"

I'm not always the brightest rocket on the island.

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