• title card : THE DIADEM IN COLOR superimposed on a closeup of a tiara sitting on a blue velvet cushion
  • Mrs Peel cautiously explores the castle while holding a lit candle
  • The villain's car speeds after Mrs Peel
  • Mrs Peel hides in a box to evade her pursuers
  • One of the villains falls victim to their own deadly snake
  • A swan glides by gracefully, wearing the Diadem

Das Diadem

Das Diadem is a short black and white 8mm film made in Germany for the home reel-to-reel market starring Diana Rigg as an unnamed female protagonist. It has no voice track and only has incidental music and poor quality sound effects. No doubt the producers could not afford the fee for Rigg to speak and just paid her for a non-speaking role, or they were hoping for international sales and didn't want the expense of re-recording the dialogue. It was presumably made for the stag film market but little is known about the production although it shows similarities to "The Minikillers" so may have had the same production crew and been intended for the same petrol service station market.
It was also released as two separate colour 8mm films, Der Goldene Schlüssel and The Diadem in Color, they get separate pages on this site.

The Diadem in Color is a 3 minute colour version of Das Diadem which starts with Diana approaching the castle. The action is identical to the black and white film from this point, except that we see the snake curled around the dead man's neck earlier, and she doesn't leave with the diadem as the film ends with the close-up of the diadem around the swan's neck.

The Diadem in Color

A villain sets a snake loose and turns out the lights as Emma crosses the bridge of a small castle.
Inside she grabs a candle but fails to notice the snake in the gloom. A man bursts in brandishing a pistol but as he waits for the snake to strike her leg she blows out the candle and rushes him, easily defeating him. Another man appears, carrying a diadem on a felt stand. She pulls the rug from under his feet then makes off with the diadem. The shaved headed man arrives as she runs away from the two men in the house, hiding in a chest in a hallway when she seems trapped. One of the men, armed with a submachinegun, peppers the chest with bullets but when they open it the discover stairs inside, leading down into the darkness. The shaved man meanwhile is bitten by the snake. Diana emerges near a swan swimming in the castle moat and she gazes at it then at the diadem, lost in thought for a second. We cut back to the shaved headed man, the snake curled around his neck, then Diana returns to the castle door and is surrounded by the other two men. She easily disarms and defeats them, hurling them both into the moat and she laughs when she sees the diadem around the neck of a swan.

Diana Rigg in The Diadem (Das Diadem)

The film starts with Diana Rigg, dressed in a tan leather miniskirt with matching jacket, chestnut knee-high riding boots and an orange knit top, landing a light plane at a small airport. A man watches her furtively - we only see one of his eyes is stark closeup - as she carries a small box from the 'plane and gets into a waiting sports car. The man emerges from a hangar as she drives off but we don't see his face. She drives to a suburban street and another man - we see his shaven head this time - watches her run to the house with the box. Once inside, Diana locks the box with a key hanging from her neck and locks it inside a cupboard.

A while later Diana leaves the house dressed in black slacks and leather vest with a ruffled white blouse. She grabs some diving gear and drives to a pool where some dolphins are swimming and joins them in the water. Once again she is watched and the man sees her key falls from her neck as she enters the water. After she leaves, the watcher dives into the pool to retrieve the key. When she returns home she realises she has lost the key and rushes back, arriving at the pool as the man surfaces. He dives back down and escapes behind a barred underwater gate that closes behind him, preventing her pursuit.

She enters the maintenance tunnels to try to catch him but he opens a gas valve to prevent her following him. She struggles through the billowing gas to reach the exit and returns to the house where she fortifies herself with some champagne.

The man who stole the key calls her from a nigchtclub, telling her to meet him there but he slips out the door behind her when she arrives. He goes to her house and breaks into the cupboard; she finally realises he's not at the club and returns, catching him as he is unlocking the box and they trade karate blows. She kicks away his pistol when he lunges for it and finally knocks him out. Inside the box is a ceramic piggy bank which contains a crumpled map so she drives through the night following its directions, chased by the man she knocked out. He radios ahead and another villains sets up a fake detour sign but she ignores it and drives straight through. Her pursuer radios again and his accomplice sets a snake loose and turns out the lights as she crosses the bridge of a small castle.

Inside she grabs a candle but fails to notice the snake in the gloom. A man bursts in brandishing a pistol but as he waits for the snake to strike her leg she blows out the candle and rushes him, easily defeating him. Another man appears, carrying a diadem on a felt stand. She pulls the rug from under his feet then makes off with the diadem. The shaved headed man arrives as she runs away from the two men in the house, hiding in a chest in a hallway when she seems trapped. One of the men, armed with a submachinegun, peppers the chest with bullets but when they open it the discover stairs inside, leading down into the darkness. The shaved man meanwhile is bitten by the snake. Diana emerges near a swan swimming in the castle moat and she gazes at it then at the diadem, lost in thought for a second. Diana returns to the castle door and is surrounded by the two men. She easily disarms and defeats them, hurling them both into the moat and she laughs when she sees the diadem around the neck of a swan.

She drives off with her prize as one of the men staggers from the moat and we cut back to the shaved headed man, the snake curled around his neck.

Cast

Emma Peel Diana Rigg regular007Doctor Who
Villain unknown
Villain unknown
Villain unknown

Crew

Directed by Uwe Beetz
Copyright Accentfilm GmbH Mülheim/Ruhr

The black and white film starts with three frames of titles, stating "Diana Rigg" / "in" / "The Diadem". The black and white version appears to be a rough cut as there are many repetitions of scenes using different camera angles and the dolphin sequence is torturously long and dull (73 seconds long instead of 22 in the colour version). A clear example of it being unedited film is the barmaid, saucily rising up from under the barman behind the bar, slipping her dress back onto her shoulders. It's repeated several times from different angles. In the colour version, she rises once with a cut mid-scene.

Minutiæ

  1. One of the villains drives a green Citroën DS 21 estate.
  2. In the black and white version of the film, Diana suddenly changes outfit and car, driving a Mercedes 300SL instead of a Mercedes 250SL Automatic

Box and advertising

Box with photo of Diana Rigg holding a submachinegun in the woods, dressed in a red knit top and black trousers, with the text Ca. 20 Minuten Spielfilm mit DIANA RIGG bekannt als Emma Peel [Super 8] Full-page advertisement in 'Bravo' magazine with the headline 'Schießt wieder scharf: Diana Rigg'

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