Modesty Blaise

1966

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Crime

6
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 36%
IMDb Rating 5.1 10 2144

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Terence Stamp as Willie Garvin
Clive Revill as McWhirter / Sheik Abu Tahir
Dirk Bogarde as Gabriel
Harry Andrews as Sir Gerald Tarrant
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
858.3 MB
1280*700
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.8 GB
1904*1040
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by James Hitchcock 3 / 10

A thriller which does not thrill and a comedy which fails to amuse

Following the success of the Bond franchise, spy films were highly popular in the sixties, and Peter O'Donnell's popular comic strip "Modesty Blaise", which featured the adventures of a glamorous female secret agent, must have seemed like a natural subject for cinematic treatment. This film was the result. The basic plot is a simple one; Modesty is recruited by British Intelligence to foil a plan by gang of jewel thieves to intercept a shipment of diamonds to a Middle Eastern sheikh.

The heroine is played by the Italian actress Monica Vitti in her first English-speaking role- something I have always regarded as an uninspired piece of casting because Vitti's spoken English was not particularly fluent, although she certainly had the looks for the part. O'Donnell's Modesty was always a brunette, but Vitti mostly plays her as a blonde, although her looks, costume hairstyle and hair colour seem to change at random. Male viewers might be disappointed to note that Vitti only spends a short time dressed in the skin-tight leather catsuit which is the hallmark of the Modesty Blaise of the strip cartoon.

Some spy films of the era, such as "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", took a serious look at intelligence work, but the majority aimed to emulate the relatively light-hearted tone of the Bonds. Indeed, many aimed to go even further in this direction and treated their subject-matter in a comedic way. "Modesty Blaise" falls firmly into this category. Although the plot involves what in real life would be serious crimes, notably robbery and murder, the scriptwriter Evan Jones and the director Joseph Losey refuse to treat the story with any seriousness, instead aiming for something light, camp and at times verging on the surreal. Jones's script was, officially, based upon a story by O'Donnell, but he departed from it so radically that O'Donnell virtually disowned the movie.

I felt that making the film in this way was a mistake. The Bond films, at their best, have always relied upon striking the right balance between tension and humour. This balance has occasionally been upset; some of the Roger Moore Bonds were too jokey and light-hearted, and the Timothy Dalton ones from the eighties tended to be too heavy-handed, but in the Sean Connery era of the sixties the film-makers generally got it right. The makers of "Modesty Blaise" get it very wrong indeed. There is no tension, and we never care about what happens to any of the characters. Moreover, "comedic" does not always equate to "humorous"; the script is supposed to be light-hearted but never produces any actual laughs.

The result is a film which is supposed to be a comedy-thriller, but which might more accurately be regarded as a thriller which does not thrill and a comedy which fails to amuse. There are some well-known stars involved, such as Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde, but their talents just seem wasted. It is no surprise that "Modesty Blaise", unlike some of the Bond copycat franchises, such as the "Man from UNCLE" series, did not give rise to a single sequel. 3/10

Reviewed by calvinnme 5 / 10

A James Bond spoof that doesn't really work

This is a parody is based on a British comic strip, and the film came off as another one of the James Bond spoofs that littered the screen in the 1960's (The Matt Helm series, the Dr. Goldfoot series, etc).

The movie is about superspy Modesty Blaise (Vitti), who can change her appearance just by snapping her fingers. She is hired by the British government to protect a shipment of diamonds, which international thief Gabriel (Bogarde) is after. Blaise only accepts the job if Willie Garvin (Stamp) is allowed to work with her. Film goes on its way from there.

Script is infuriating because it misses opportunity after opportunity for satire. It assumes that just because Blaise is a woman superspy, that alone is hilarious. Vitti does her best, and sounds like a smoky voiced Garbo, but the script leaves her high and dry. She gets most of her laughs from intonation, sight gags, and the glint in her eyes. Stamp is on the sidelines, although his appearance changes at will also. Bogarde as Gabriel is the funniest person in the film, whether he's refusing an egg because it's overcooked or reminding a potential killer that it's rude to point.

This one does have Bogarde, and Blaises' changes are spectacular, and so are the sets. There are setpieces that are homages to famous directors, which I found amusing. However, it just goes on too long for what little it is trying to do, there are too many dry spells without laughs, and Bogarde and company are off-screen for too long. Still worth a watch--maybe.

Reviewed by Benedito Dias Rodrigues 6 / 10

Another fumetti adaptation!!

Aceptable fumetti adaptation to big screen with the great casting to support this comic robbery plot,Monica Vitti is quite convincing as Modesty Blaise sexy and beauty,Terence Stamp is just pretty face and didn't add too much....but Dirk Bogarde play yourself through the movie and didn't need to strive...a nice surprise comes with unexpected Clive Revill on a double character both amusing deserves a best reviews,the kitsch style and pop score is quite appropriate for movie's purpose...Monica could be more hot,she had what to delivery....

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First watch: 1996 / How many: 2 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 6.5

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