August 11, 2018

ARGOMAN

One film that brought a smile to my face once again was Fantastic Argoman. This Italian production was released in 1967 and drew heavily from the costumed hero/anti-hero traditions in Europe, which included Superargo, The Three Fantastic Supermen, and Diabolik. Argoman is one of those rich playboy types with a butler and modernist lair, who has the reputation of the rogue/thief, but works (sort of) on the side of the law to thwart other criminals. It seems Argoman always demands payment for his services, so he comes across as quite the mercenary, enjoying his own private collection of rare art and antiquities (like the Mona Lisa!). Argoman also uses his superpowers of suggestion and telekinesis to get women (yikes! definitely gross), though he loses his powers for six hours after "being" with them. Despite this kind of cringeworthy attitude from the period, the old thriller conventions in the film are playful and fun and, as you can see from these graphics, the sets and costumes were steeped in the visual language of science fiction and cliffhanger serials. The set designers literally elevated the notion that the character is above; above the law; above other men; epitomizing the fantasy of the carefree bachelor- by suspending all of his furniture on ropes from the ceiling (the results are pretty silly). You can also see psychedelic elements creeping in with organic patterns replacing the Op-influence so prevalent between 1965-1967. Argoman's costume is nothing to write home about, but the femme fatale does get to don a green hat that resembles Cardin's 1966 Space helmet design. Music by movie maestro Piero Umiliani and costumes by Gaia Romanini (Operation Kid Brother, Special Mission Lady Chaplin). Below: German Lobby cards and French poster. Spy Vibers can read a great review of the movie at our sister site, Double O Section. If you enjoy costumed crime/sci-fi characters from the 1960s, check out They Call Me Superseven, a fun homage to the period by stuntman/writer/director Robert Griffith (also on DVD). Enjoy! Spy Vibers, please check out my new book on Amazon


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