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Modesty Blaise
Modesty Blaise
Actors: Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde, Harry Andrews, Michael Craig
Director: Joseph Losey
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2002     1hr 59min

A pop-art explosion that makes Austin Powers look demure, Modesty Blaise is a bizarre relic from the heyday of Swinging London. Based on a comic book, the movie is strong on psychedelic art direction, long on camp (especia...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde, Harry Andrews, Michael Craig
Director: Joseph Losey
Creators: Joseph Janni, Michael Birkett, Norman Priggen, Evan Jones, Jim Holdaway, Peter O'Donnell, Stanley Dubens
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Indie & Art House, Classic Comedies, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 07/16/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/1966
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1966
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French, German
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Larry N. from BEALETON, VA
Reviewed on 6/14/2015...
A convoluted plot that is hard to follow at times. Sometimes it seems to be serious, sometimes it seems to be a spoof, and at other times it seems to be a musical. Perhaps it tried to be too many things and failed at all of them. The movie is OK, but I understand the books that it was based on are much better. Monica Vitti reminds me of Barbara Streisand.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Skip the film, GET THE BOOKS!
Naomi Johnson | Columbus, Ohio USA | 10/12/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I actually saw this film when it came out in the theaters, way WAY back when. I must have been perhaps 11 years old. Terrible movie, totally confusing, and a script that was most likely contrived over numerous doses of LSD. However, I was quite taken by two things: (1) Terence Stamp and (2) the scene where Modesty peels the false skin off Willie Garvin's back to reveal all those tools and gadgets. When I discovered there was actually a book to read that might explain all I had seen, I jumped on it. The book, unlike the film, was wonderful, and Peter O'Donnell's stories only improved from the first novel right up until the final Modesty Blaise book was published 6 or 7 years ago. I cannot recommend this movie but I can and do urge you to go to your library (the most likely place you will find a Modesty Blaise book) and get the books, particularly the ones called "I, Lucifer" and "A Taste for Death." Great fun reading, the Modesty of the books quite outdoes James Bond for sheer interest."
Johann Cat | 02/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Though this is not a knee-slapper as satire, and certainly no thrill-giver as an action flick, this film has aged better than Bond films like Thunderball, generically speaking the ground of this satire. Modesty Blaise is loosely based on a comic-book super-heroine and played by Monica Vitti. The humor is very droll, yet needle-sharp in its mockery of the amorality of empire and espionage, and in its parody of the conventions of the action-hero movie, its mad-camp villain, its tools, its blue waters. It hits its dry humorous notes and jazzy visual chords without pedantry, seeming very British and looking very Italian, a nice trick. Stoned in a rather stately way, and head-scratchingly complex in places, this movie is shrewd enough to avoid the utter silliness of many 60s movies. The film is visually beautiful and engaging, with grand colors and compositions with lots of space and depth: the toughest thing about Modesty Blaise is that it moves at a pace more like an Italian sex-and-class study than an action movie or typical spoof; indeed, the film freely recalls Antonioni's L'Aventura, (which also starred Vitti), especially in its Mediterranean location shots. And after all else is said, Monica Vitti remains an absolute stunner here, a true movie star, with a face of a thousand shades of tenderness and cunning. She also has great hair that changes about every five minutes. (Her hair itself is a better actress than Madonna.) Vitti and her sidekick, Terence Stamp, a mod Adonis, have a cool chemistry, and even sing in one pleasantly bizarre scene. Dirk Bogarde, the villain, is in a role unlike any other he ever played, but he may steal the movie. This is an anomaly: a rocknroll movie--droll, nonconformist, and hip--with almost no rocknroll in the soundtrack."
Not Even a Touch of Modesty
Charles S. Tashiro | Agoura Hills, CA USA | 07/27/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Were it not for the success of Austin Powers, Modesty Blaise would almost certainly never have been released on DVD. People buying it expecting something like Mike Meyers's film will either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised, depending on taste. Both films are parodies of spy movies, but that's about where the similarities end. Powers is star-centered low comedy; Modesty is a humorless director's vision of cartoon action. The film is genuinely funny, but in a way that may not be everyone's cup of tea. As just one of the more over the top examples, a joke late in the film depends on Dirk Bogarde's reaction to a strangled body hanging limply behind him. The moment *is* funny, but I suspect that more than a few viewers will find it anything but. The pace too is leisurely, not at all in the fist-in-the-face mode of even the early Bonds, much less more recent films in the series. In other words, expect neither childish jokes à la Powers nor fast-paced action à la Bond.Instead, there is a lot of what pretentious critics call the "gestural," which might best be described as mannerisms so showy that even academics notice. There isn't an ounce of subtlety in any of it, which seems to be the point. From Losey's overly elaborate camerawork (take a moment to figure out how the shot in the credit sequence was taken without the camera crew becoming pretzels, for example), to Richard Macdonald's eye-popping Op Art inspired production design, to Dirk Bogarde's camped up Gabriel, everyone seems to be trying to out-outrage one another.If you are familiar with Losey's more serious work, this loud declaiming might seem out of character, but the results are as obscure and opaque as his collaborations with Harold Pinter. Still, if you normally enjoy his films, you will probably get a kick out of seeing Losey's claustrophobia turned inside out and made into a joke."