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Modesty Blaise (1966)

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A spy spoof in the 60s tradition featuring the comic book heroine Modesty Blaise set in the Italian Mediterranean.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Evan Jones (screenplay), Peter O'Donnell (comic strip) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Monica Vitti ... Modesty Blaise
Terence Stamp ... Willie Garvin
Dirk Bogarde ... Gabriel
Harry Andrews ... Sir Gerald Tarrant
Clive Revill ... McWhirter / Sheik Abu Tahir
Alexander Knox ... Minister
Rossella Falk ... Mrs. Fothergill (as Rosella Falk)
Scilla Gabel ... Melina
Michael Chow ... Weng
Joe Melia ... Crevier
Saro Urzì ... Basilio (as Saro Urzi)
Tina Aumont ... Nicole (as Tina Marquand)
Oliver MacGreevy Oliver MacGreevy ... Tattooed Man
Jon Bluming Jon Bluming ... Hans
Lex Schoorel Lex Schoorel ... Walter
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Storyline

Modesty Blaise, a secret agent whose hair color, hair style, and mod clothing change at a snap of her fingers is being used by the British government as a decoy in an effort to thwart a diamond heist. She is being set up by the feds but is wise to the plot and calls in sidekick Willie Garvin and a few other friends to outsmart them. Meanwhile, at his island hideaway, Gabriel, the diamond thief has his own plans for Blaise and Garvin. Written by Dean Harris <hepcat@inch.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing can faze Modesty Blaise, the world's deadliest and most dazzlingly female agent!


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Italian | Arabic | German | Dutch

Release Date:

4 July 1966 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Modesty Blaise - Die tödliche Lady See more »

Filming Locations:

Naples, Campania, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Dirk Bogarde was very complimentary about Monica Vitti when this film was being made, he also claimed, in a radio interview of twenty-five years or so later, that she was the only one of his leading ladies whom he had disliked, saying that she was "beastly". See more »

Goofs

Modesty's body double in the knife fight scene between her, Willy and the two villains is obviously much bulkier and taller than she is. See more »

Quotes

McWhirter: [after watching her strangle a man with her feet] Have you ever wondered about Mr. Fothergill?
Gabriel: I am Mr. Fothergill.
See more »

Connections

Version of My Name Is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

The End (We Should've)
Music by John Dankworth
Lyrics by Evan Jones and Benny Green
Sung by Monica Vitti and Terence Stamp
See more »

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User Reviews

 
MODESTY BLAISE (Joseph Losey, 1966) **1/2
24 August 2006 | by MARIO GAUCISee all my reviews

Truth be told, I hated this movie on first viewing many years ago and, in fact, I only just now purchased the utterly bare-bones Fox DVD for three reasons: the disc is now out-of-print; I found it very cheaply (surprisingly) at a local retailer; and, most importantly perhaps, I was prepared to give it another chance thanks to my ongoing (and very rewarding) Losey-thon.

To say that Joseph Losey was a strange choice to helm this picture would be a massive understatement. In his previous films, very rarely (if at all) had he shown that he had any sense of humor, much less the kind of campy, knowing and irreverent one essential for successful comic strip adaptations. As it happens, the film was not well-received and both leads - Monica Vitti (who apparently phoned Michelangelo Antonioni everyday during the shoot) and Terence Stamp - were unhappy making it; there are those who even go so far as to consider it not just Losey's nadir but quite simply one of the worst films ever made! Well, based on that first TV viewing of it, I probably would have endorsed such sentiments myself...

However, my re-acquaintance with it proved something of a minor revelation: while still as uneven as I recalled, I couldn't now deny that there were some delightful elements which, on the whole, made the film palatable and, at times, even endearing: Evan Jones' script was occasionally quite witty, Losey's own trademark odd compositions (usually so overpowering in his melodramas) suited the "anything goes" mood of the material, Jack Hildyard's glossy cinematography of attractive Mediterranean locations, outrageous outfits and groovy production design was top-notch and Losey's frequent composer Johnny Dankworth provided an infectious score.

And what about that cast? Monica Vitti (who would have guessed that she could ever be as attractive and sexy as this judging by her work for Antonioni?), Terence Stamp (gleefully throwing knives, bedding women and engaging in a charming, impromptu singing duet with Vitti while driving up a mountaintop and reprising it for the action-packed finale), Dirk Bogarde (ironically named Gabriel, he was never campier - or gayer - than as the silver-wigged, self-proclaimed "villain of the piece"), Michael Craig (as Vitti's ex-lover and pursuing British agent), Harry Andrews (as a top British Secret Service official firing away bullets from his umbrella), Alexander Knox (as a bumbling British MP forever mispronouncing names and giving out the wrong information), Clive Revill (for no apparent reason in a dual role: as Bogarde's right-hand man who keeps the accounts even on the field of battle and as Vitti's "father", an Arabian Sheik!), Rossella Falk (as the lethal Miss. Fothergill, Bogarde's manly assistant, who keeps a regiment of mostly aging men in shape through arduous physical exercise), Saro Urzi (as a lowly, opera-singing henchman of Bogarde's), Tina Aumont (as an ill-fated conquest/informer of Stamp's) and real-life magician Silvan (as a duplicitous circus performer).

Ultimately, while the plot is too convoluted to follow at times and the film itself may not be in the same league as Mario Bava's DANGER: DIABOLIK (1968) or even Roger Vadim's BARBARELLA (1968), it's certainly an engaging spy spoof and far better than its reputation suggests.


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