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Saturday, August 9, 2008

日本記者予約 Diabolik or Japanese Diabolik Press Book

In a time before the internet the commercial side of marketing a movie was limited. Newspapers and print media played a very important role in getting the message out to the general public. Known properties like James Bond or (sexy) actresses like Brigitte Bardot or Audrey Hepburn were not very difficult to market and find their audience. It became a complete different story when the production company had to sell a movie based on a character in a comic book known as a fumetti in its land of origin Italy. Japan was home of the manga comics with their more than 500 different characters from Akira to Dragonball Z. So there was no need to introduce an another new character like Diabolik in the land of the rising sun. Nevertheless Dino DeLaurentiis sold his movie in 1969 to a Japanese distributor and so the publicity carrousel came into motion. This was necessary because selling Diabolik in Europe was already a difficult task because outside Italy Diabolik was a little known character. So you can imagine that marketing him in Japan with its own huge stable of heroes and superheroes would not be easy if not impossible.

One of the means to get the message out was a classic movie poster and press book. The poster was build around the green money bed scene with parts from the psychedelic and drawn poster with a little clip from the shower scene from a lobby card. Instead of the white Jaguar, type "E" we get the black version on the poster while on western posters the Jaguar is white. The Japanese version of the press book is rather dull. It has a lot of text explaining who Diabolik is and what the film is about. The press book is almost all in black and white. The pictures are standard Diabolik stock pictures as we know them from the European pressbook. Because the Japanese read from right to left the book and photos are put in that order with Diabolik as a first character on the right side and Inspector Ginko as a last character on the left side of the photo series. The actor Michel Piccoli was probably less known in Japan than the Britisch actor Terry Thomas. It is not known in the end if the poster and press book did their job well. I have never heard that the character or movie was quite successful in Japan. Probably Danger: Diabolik! was seen by the Japanese audience as one of the many European spy movies in the wake of the James Bond craze. One thing is for sure after 40 years, finding a mint Japanes press book is rather scarce.

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