Film / Danger!! Death Ray

Also known as Il Raggio Infernale, this Italo-Spanish spy film was one of the many to ride the wave of James Bond-style knock-off spy thrillers in the '60s and '70s. The plot, such as it is, follows the adventures of American super spy Bart Fargo as he chases down the kidnapped professor Carmichael, creator of the eponymous death ray (which, the professor must stress, was only created to be used for "peaceful purposes..."), and save him from a poorly-defined evil organization which doesn't share the professor's...unique world view. Following the trail (and bouncy soundtrack) from Italy to Spain, Fargo must contend with the usual assortment of spies, Femme Fatale and one really, really violent Abraham Lincoln (trust us on this one) in order to make the world safe for all peace-waging death ray-wanting countries everywhere.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

This film provides examples of:

  • Bald of Evil: Inverted; the guys who kidnapped the professor are the only ones in the room with full heads of hair.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Fargo has a clear shot at Al after a botched murder attempt but deliberately lets him escape; he then later helps Al after the latter barely survives a You Have Failed Me fate. These actions lead to Al's Mook–Face Turn.
  • Big Bad: Carver, the Christopher Plummer / Edward Platt-esque guy overseeing the demonstration of the Death Ray at the beginning. Not one of the kidnappers, but there nonetheless.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted so thoroughly that watching Bart Fargo reload every minute or so becomes quite annoying. The film seems not to understand that after seeing him reload once or twice, the audience will assume that he continues to do so even without seeing it happen.
  • The Casanova: The movie tries to paint Fargo as this. Doesn't really work.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: Bart throwing his spy watch out the hotel window at the end. (See Narm below.)
  • Death Ray: Naturally. For peaceful purposes.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The briefing about the peaceful Death Ray, and the lead up to it.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Lucille manages to foil Bart's pursuers by being completely naked while painting.
    Mook: We're looking for a man.
    Lucille: My word, so am I. Let me know if you find an extra one.
  • Disposable Woman: Mrs. Carver. She doesn't even get a first name. Hell, it's arguable if we can even be certain she's actually married to Carver at all.
  • Death Trap: The villain's lair at the end has machine gun cameras mounted on seemingly every surface throughout a very narrow hallway, yet Fargo somehow manages to take down every one without so much as a scratch. It probably has something to do with them all being identically hidden with massive blind spots.
  • The Dragon: Frank, the Andre the Giant/Michael Caine-looking guy.
  • Eagleland: At least, an Italian take on an American superspy, even giving him as "American" a name with "Bart" as a first name and "Fargo" as the second.
  • Fake American: Our hero, whom the Italians gave the most American 1960's name they could think of ("Bart") and the most Midwestern last name they could think of ("Fargo"). Result: Atrocious Alias. invoked
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Apparently the guards/mooks at the main supervillain lair are aware of Al's identity as one of their own but not that he has been ousted for failing and has switched sides, as shown when they allow him into the compound. The 'crazy' part comes into play when Al chauffeurs Fargo (a.k.a. a complete stranger) into the villa with him, past several groups of armed thugs, and not a single one of them raises an eyebrow.
  • Heroic Bystander: Lucille. Most people might have an issue with random guys dropping through their skylights and being chased by guys with guns. Not her.
  • Idiot Ball:
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Al. To the point where even the hero takes pity on the poor bastard.
  • Leave the Camera Running: First when the scientists are meeting in the beginning. After they are cleared through the checkpoint, the film spends over ten seconds just looking at the feed of a security camera with nothing of interest happening at all. Later, the camera tracks all the members of the conference just walking through a hallway and taking an elevator downstairs. No music, no dialogue, nothing important happening.
    Mike: They really have captured the grandeur of white guys walking in herds.
  • Leit Motif: Bart Fargo's is the catchy "Badupadupadada".
  • Mooks: By the caseload; on both sides, to boot.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Al.
  • More Dakka: Disguised as antique wall fixtures, for that extra bit of class.
  • Notable Original Music: Much of the music in the movie sounds a lot like Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man and the catchy "Badupadupadada" for Bart Fargo's Leit Motif.
  • Police Are Useless: The barricades by the police are more like revolving doors.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Poor Al really seems to hate being on the low rung of his organization's hierarchy and seems really keen on taking up Fargo's offer to get him out of it. Poor, poor Al.
  • Ray Gun: The Death Ray, which was built for *cough* peaceful purposes *cough*.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Poor poor Al.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Aside from briefly hiding Fargo in her apartment, Lucille has absolutely no impact on the plot until she is kidnapped during the climax.
  • The '60s: Depressingly so, in Italy. The film just screams Casanova '70. Which is odd, since it was filmed in Spain.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: See Ear Worm, above. This movie has some of the bounciest damn chase scenes you're ever likely to find.
  • Spy Fiction: Uh huh.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: When the lead scientist is kidnapped and lifted out on a helicopter, the description of the helicopter is described as "painted white and red with a blue tail."
  • Toros y Flamenco / Olive Garden: It's hard to figure out where exactly some of the locations are supposed to be, except for the scenes obviously set in Barcelona.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Al. He charges out from behind cover during a running gun battle for no apparently sensible reason.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Well, more like "Business Casual," but it fits the mold closer than Stale Beer (Bart seems to prefer Cointreau, incidentally), what with all the explosions and gunfire and the titular death ray.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: (MST3K version only) Whatever happened to Frank? Fargo's fighting him in a room, then it just cuts away for some reason.