Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise

Director: Joseph Losey, Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde

Cast: Joseph Losey, Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde

     
 

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A popular British comic strip series served as inspiration for this light-hearted espionage adventure, which if nothing else certainly shows the marks of its origins in the mid-1960s. A large departure for director Joseph Losey, better known for brooding interpretations of Harold Pinter works (The Servant, Accident), the film is emphatically bright and

Overview

A popular British comic strip series served as inspiration for this light-hearted espionage adventure, which if nothing else certainly shows the marks of its origins in the mid-1960s. A large departure for director Joseph Losey, better known for brooding interpretations of Harold Pinter works (The Servant, Accident), the film is emphatically bright and colorful, taking on at times a nearly psychedelic feel. The strangeness is emphasized by the unusual casting, including Italian star Monica Vitti in her first English-speaking role as the title character and Dirk Bogarde, playing against type as her arch-nemesis. Essentially everything is played for its camp value, including the rather convoluted, James Bond-like plot, which concerns the hijacking of a shipment of diamonds heading for the Middle East. Like its mod-era sets and costumes, this unusual, inconsistent effort is certainly intriguing and attractive, but might seem rather dated to some.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Fans of 1960s camp and/or the Austin Powers movies will approach Modesty Blaise expecting to love it, but most viewers will come away a bit disappointed. Not totally disappointed, because it must be said that Blaise is one hell of a psychedelic ride, visually speaking. Production designers Richard Macdonald and Jack Shampan and costume designers Beatrice Dawson and Douglas Hayward have truly created a masterpiece of 1960s "mod," and the eye is constantly enraptured by the barrage of colors, textures and patterns that assault it. With 3-foot tall martini glasses (with goldfish in them), OpArt rooms that seem to have no ceiling or floor and clothes that simply shriek the time period, Blaise is a feast for those who cannot get enough of the swinging sixties. Unfortunately, this is all in the service of a screenplay that is a muddle. It's clearly intended to be a spoof, but it doesn't seem to really know enough about the genre it's spoofing. The satire is scattershot and often just plain silly. Director Joseph Losey does a very poor job of translating the material to the screen, taking things entirely too seriously; presumably he hoped this would approach would produce laughs, but he was quite wrong. And his attempts at playing for comedy are simply painful. Monica Vitti is miscast as the title character, lacking the physical energy required, as well as the essential "English-ness" of the character. Terence Stamp is fun as her very-cockney sidekick, but Dirk Bogarde is the one who really makes an impact, playing an outrageously swishy villain who provides all the best moments in the film. He can't make Blaise a good film, but he and the visuals are far and away the high points.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/23/2016
UPC:
0738329206109
Original Release:
1966
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kl Studio Classics
Region Code:
A
Time:
1:59:00
Sales rank:
5,711

Special Features

Interview with first assistant director Gavrik Losey; Interviews with screnwriter Evan Jones and assistant art director Norman Dorme; Audio commentary by film historian David Del Valle and filmmaker Armand Mastroianni; Animated image gallery; Trailer gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Monica Vitti Modesty Blaise
Terence Stamp Willie Garvin
Dirk Bogarde Gabriel
Harry Andrews Sir Gerald Tarrant
Mikey Craig Paul Hagan
Scilla Gabel Melina
Alexander Knox Minister
Clive Revill Sheik Abu Tahir,McWhirter
Rossella Falk Mrs. Fothergill
Joe Melia Crevier
Lex Schoorel Walter
Sylvain Pacco
Jon Bluming Hans
Roberto Bisacco Enrico
Saro Urzi Basilio
Tina Aumont Nicole
George Fisher Actor
Wolfgang Hillinger Handsome
Robin Hunter Pilot
Patrick Ludlow Under Secretary
Oliver Macgreevy Tattooed Man
John Stacy Tyboria Captain
Denys Graham Copilot
Michael Chow Weng
John Karlsen Oleg

Technical Credits
Joseph Losey Director
Reginald Beck Editor
Johnny Dankworth Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Beatrice Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Douglas Hayward Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack Hildyard Cinematographer
Joseph Janni Producer
Evan Jones Screenwriter
Richard MacDonald Production Designer
Jack Shampan Production Designer
Neville Smallwood Makeup

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