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Film / Danger!! Death Ray

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Also known as Il Raggio Infernale and Nest of Spies (Nido de Espias), 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:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: The titular Death Ray. It's powerful and can blow up walls and ceilings like nobody's business, but it requires a huge attached power supply and is difficult to aim. (As the Big Bad learns when he tries to use it against Bart.)
  • 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.
  • Bond One-Liner: "That's too bad." Not exactly thrilling wordplay, there. Played straighter when the love interest asks what happened to the mook Bart threw off a cliff into the ocean: "He went for a swim."
  • 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, especially since he "keeps striking out".
  • Creepy Crossdresser: While invading the villains' hideout, Bart Fargo punches out what appears to be a minor female henchman, but then quickly pulls off "her" wig and reveals that "he was no lady" as Bart says. It has nothing to do with the plot, though, and seems to only be there to excuse the main character from seemingly punching a woman.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: Bart throwing his spy watch out the hotel window at the end.
  • Death Ray: Naturally. For peaceful purposes. (It makes sense — barely — when the doctor says it's meant to be used as a deterrent rather than as an offensive weapon, but that doesn't make it "peaceful". Though you could use it as an industrial-grade cutting tool.)
  • 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, and they can't be aimed.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The briefing about the peaceful Death Ray, and the lead-up to it.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Scarface, who Fargo spends the first half of the movie looking for. As soon as he finds him, before he can question him, Scarface accidentally hurls himself out a window and gets himself killed. Fargo only picks up the trail again because he recognizes Frank when an ambulance comes to take away Scarface's body.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Frank, the Andre the Giant/Michael Caine-looking guy.
  • Eagleland: At least, an Italian take on an American superspy. While the actor is actually American, the character is saddled with 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
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Scarface is never given a real name. He's only "the man with the scar" (and even the scar is covered for most of the film by a terrible fake beard).
  • Forgets to Eat: Lucille says that she forgets all about eating while she's busy painting, and she hasn't had a square meal in days.
  • 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:
    • Fargo has a perfect shot at the escaping Al at one point in the film. For some reason, he doesn't take it. Though it does come back to help him out later.
    • Played straight at the end with the bad guys though; bless 'em for trying.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: No two sources can agree whether the kidnapped scientist's name is spelled "John Carmichael" or "Jean Karl Michael".
  • 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.
    • The Mystery Science Theater cut actually removed or cut down many of the longer scenes with nothing happening. You can imagine what the original cut looked like.
  • Leitmotif: Bart Fargo's is the catchy "buppa-duppa da-da..." alternating with the so-called "Watermelon Man" theme (which actually sounds almost exactly like The Jazz Crusader's Tough Talk).
  • 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.
  • Police Are Useless: The barricades by the police are more like revolving doors, and their "shoot to kill" policy means that even when they catch one of the villains, they can't question them.
  • 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*. (It's intended as a deterrent to prevent war, but it's unclear how it can act that way)
  • 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 Barcelona.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: This movie has some of the bounciest damn chase scenes you're ever likely to find.
  • Spy Fiction: Though the spy organization in question appears to be private rather than government-run.
  • Suspect Is Hatless:
    • When the lead scientist is kidnapped and lifted out on a helicopter, the helicopter is described as "painted white and red with a blue tail."
    • Sharply averted a few scenes earlier, where the police dispatcher reads out the full license number of the car the villains are escaping in, even though nobody actually told them that number.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: One of the recurring riffs in the film sounds exactly like The Jazz Crusaders' Tough Talk to the point of plagiarism.
  • Toros y Flamenco / Spaghetti and Gondolas: 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. Per a conversation was edited out of the MST3K cut, he's trying to get to the car so he and Bart can escape, but that's no reason to not wait until there's a clear path.
  • 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?: Mainly if you've only seen the MST3K version, which leaves out the deaths of several important characters.
    • Whatever happened to Frank? Fargo's fighting him in a room, then it just cuts away for some reason. The fight goes on for another full minute in the full film, where Bart chokes Frank (to death?) with a sniper rifle. The subsequent scene of Bart using the sniper rifle to thin out the guards is also cut.
    • Gary, the mustachio'd henchman helping Frank kidnap Dr. Carmichael, who just vanishes in the MST3K cut. He gets stuck in the security doors while escaping with Professor Carmichael, and so Frank kills him.
    • One might even wonder this about the Death Ray itself — the one used at the demonstration is destroyed by Gary in the full cut of the film, which is why he gets caught in the security doors.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When Bart and Al are invading the villains' lair at the end of the movie, they're confronted by a random female henchman, who Bart immediately punches in the nose. Subverted, though as he then quickly pulls off "her" wig revealing that, in Bart's words, "he was no lady!"