After master thief Lupin & his right hand man Jigen have robbed a casino
but had to find out all their loot - a carload of money, actually - is just counterfeit
money, Lupin decides to go after the source of it all, as a sort of revenge,
which turns out to be the Alpine Duchy Cagliostro, an idyllic miniature state
set somewhere in central Europe.
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However, Lupin & jigen are hardly in Cagliostro when they are dragged
into a carchase involving a carload of armed bullies & a beautiful girl in
her weddibng gown. Needless to say that Lupin immeduiately falls for her &
saves her from her pursuers, but no sooner has he done that does he lose her
It turns out the girl was Clarisse, daughter to the deceased king &
queen, & rightful heir to the throne, who is supposed to be married off to
the evil Count, interim regent of Cagliostro. & when Lupin sees the girl
dragged off to the castle again, he makes it his mission to save her, his only
joker's card being a seal ring Clarisse dropped when he helped her escape -
which the Count desperately needs to unearth the treasure of Cagliostro -
whatever that is.
But Castle Cagliostro is heavily guarded, not only by palace guardsbut also
by cameras, loaser beams & heat detectors, so Lupin decides to inform his
arch-enemy, inspector Zenigata, about his whereabouts, so the policeman can
become his unwilling accomplice by creating a little diversion.
The plan works fine & thanks to Zenigata Lupin can soon enter the
princess' room/prison in a high tower, where he is caught by the Duke though
& thrown into the dungeon, where the regents of Cagliostro have kept &
starved those they wanted to get rid of for centuries. But it's thanks to
Lupin's inventiveness, the fact that he still holds the ring, and a little help
from Zenigata, who was thrown into the dungeon as well, that Lupin gets out
again, & he & Zenigata even find the counterfeiting factory beneath the
castle & burn all the faked money kept there to create more diversion.
When Lupin, Zenigata & Fujiko - an international spy they have met along
the way - want to escape with Clarisse by helicopter though, everything does
not go quite as planned when the helicopter is shot down by the Count & his
palace guards. With the help of Zenigata & Fujiko, Lupin manages to escape
badly wounded, but the princess has to stay behind.
While Lupin is still recovering from his wounds, preparations for the
wedding of the Count & Clarisse get into the final phase, & it's only
thanks to Fujiko that everybody gets there at the proper time in the proper
disguise & gets what he/she wants: She manages for Lupin to enter the
castle disguised as the arch-bishop who is to wed the couple, while she puts
Zenigata onto Lupin's trail again after he has become disillusioned when he was
forbidden to pursue the counterfeit money case any further because of
diplomatic restrictions. Fujiko herself comes as part of a camera-team, to
cause some havoc on her own.
& everything seems to run smoothly, after Lupin has helped Clarisse to
escape again, Fujiko follows Zenigata to the counterfeiting factory with her tv
camera & broadcasts his findings live on international TV, finally bringing
that case to public attention.
The only thing missing now is the final showdown between Lupin & the
Count, which takes place in the gigantic clockworks of the castle's clocktower,
& it ends with ... the Count winning, not only does he manage to push Lupin
& Clarisse off the tower - though they take the fall rather lightly, ending
up not injured at all - he also manages to finally get Clarisse's seal ring
& with it access to the treasure - which turns out to be not quite what he
has expected, since that results in the immediate collapse of the clocktower
(& thus his death) & most of Cagliostro to be flooded by the water from
the country's reservoir - which reveals to have hidden an antique Roman city.
All's well that ends well, but will Lupin now stay with Clarisse ?
No way, he has just time enough to say hjer good bye before making an escape
from the approaching Zenigata & his police squad ...
This movie was based on the popular comicbook series by Monkey Punch, which
also spawned 2 tv-series & another animated movie back in the 70's (&
many more movies & series since), while it in turn was based on the popular
French Arsène Lupin-novels by Maurice Leblanc. However, no knowledge of
either the comics or the tv series or the movies is necessary to understand The
Castle of Cagliostro, a movie that is of a charming & infectuous
carelessness & inventiveness rarely found in movies essentially since the
heyday of the serial. Here, elements from genres as different as science
fiction, caper-movie, fairy tale, ninja movie & comedy are thrown together
to form an unique & extremely entertaining blend that immediately sucks the
viewer into the proceedings.& spins its tale in a highly original way.