Modesty Blaise (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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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 (especially Dirk Bogarde's aristocratic, white-haired villain), and thin on plot--and what plot there is cannot possibly be deciphered. Italian actress Monica Vitti, the ennui-weary star of many Antonioni classics, makes an odd choice for stylish spy Modesty Blaise (a female 007 without portfolio), especially given her uncertain command of English. The gifted director Joseph Losey, not noted for his humor, apes various New Wave techniques in his approach, even allowing Vitti and costar Terence Stamp to warble an off-key song. But the most coherent contribution is the jazzy swing of John Dankworth's score, which you won't be able to get out of your head, even if you want to. --Robert Horton
From the Back Cover
Her entire appearance changes with a finger snap. She thrashes villains without missing a spiked-heel step. Welcome to the mad, mod world of sexy, stylish intrigue as British comic strip character Modesty Blaise comes to life in this outrageous spoof.
Hired by the government to prevent a diamond heist, Modesty (Monica Vitti) recruits her wily sidekick Willie Garvin (Terence Stamp) to help her battle crafty, colorful foes on the secluded island of a suave mastermind thief (Dirk Bogarde). Grooving with mile-high hairdos and swinging, psychedelic wall patterns, Modesty Blaise is campy entertainment at its best!
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Top Customer Reviews
Plot? None really - just a series of delicious and sometimes deadly encounters as Spy vs Spy vs Spy vs Spy ..... in dear old Amsterdam, and then later aboard ships [yachts] and that odd island with the spectacular Arabian finish - [Modesty it seems was adopted!] The petard [mino cannon a Gift to Modesty - pointing at Buckingham Palace - off-lens - is a hoot!]
DIRK BOGARDE has a field-day as Gabriel - the oh so chic and campy bad guy with an umbrella for all occasions - possibly to augment each outfit!
A breathtaking Terence Stamp [still has those 'baby blues'] is Modesty's trusty sick-kick - also with the mandatory hair color change[s].
Quite delightful to behold - but be warned - this one needs eye-shades occasionally - it is in VIVID color.
Great to have on DVD!
The studio system collapsed under the cost of extravagant extravaganzas set in legendary locales. The next reaction to the attraction of television was low budget kites in styles hitherto confined to art houses, to see what would fly. And so the blown Sixties gave us the flowers of Fellini, Bergman, MEDIUM COOL, THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, DOCTOR NO and the most costly disaster ever to befall Hollywood, EASY RIDER; studio copycats lost $illion$ trying to repeat the runaway box-office bonanza made with loose change. In the context of the opsy-artsy time, MODESTY BLAISE is a campy parody of them all thrown together in a frothy French bouillabaise rescued by Arab cavalry in the last reel.
Played by Monica Vitti, the Gallic comic stripper, Modesty Blaise is a liberated James Bond cum Sherlock Holmes engaged by the government to track down an effete, effeminate archcriminal genius played by Dirk Bogarde, with his boffo, psychopathic minions; Terence Stamp comes along as her too freely enterprising lover.
The exotic seenery will be savoured, scene by nostalgic scene, by connoiseurs of that polychrome period who still enjoy the vintage CASINO ROYALE, Uma Thurman's THE AVENGERS, and Derek Flint.
The jazzy score is very reminiscent of the one for "The Tenth Victim", though the lyricked theme song used in the opening credits should do WITHOUT the words, since they're just a WEE bit too arch! The instrumental side, however, is done beautifully, and adds to the "chic" feel of the movie.
The fact that Monica Vitti has an accent so thick, you could choke on it, only adds to this flavor, as does Terence Stamp's prophetic "Alex the Droog" portrayal of her sidekick, Willie Garvin. The casual use of Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Citroens and multi-colored cigarettes make this a fashion-mongerer's wet dream.
It's been stated that this film had no plot....oh, it's got a plot, alright, but there's so much OTHER business going on while it's unraveling, you can miss it! Modesty and Willie's briefs are to make sure fifty million pounds of foreign aid, in the form of diamonds, are delivered to an arab sheikh without the inimitable Gabriel, (Bogarde,) getting his superciliously foppish hands on them. Revill plays his fawning sidekick, accountant and condifante, McWhorter.Read more ›
Based on the popular long-running comic strip character, the story concerns high-class jewel and art thief Modesty Blaise (played bewitchingly by Monica Vitti) who is called upon to investigate the actions of reclusive millionaire and criminal Gabriel (Dirk Bogarde) who lives on a foreboding island.
Modesty enlists the help of her associate and some-time lover Willie Garvin (Terence Stamp) and soon Modesty is up to her neck in psychedelic espionage and sexy costumes! However, there is always Gabriel's assistant to contend with: the man-eating, sadistic Mrs Fothergill (Rosella Falk)...
The plot is as wafer-thin as Modesty's silken dresses; between the time that Modesty is recruited to the final showdown on Gabriel's island, there is about 90 minutes of plot that I cannot even fathom. Dirk Bogarde relishes his role as the decadent Gabriel, wearing a John Inman-esque fright wig and drinking out of impossibly-sized glasses. Another hilaious scene is where Mrs Fothergill is holding "diving lessons". During the climactic battle, Modesty and Willie have a time-out to sing a rather annoying love song, and somehow Arabs on stallions are mysteriously transported to the island to assist Modesty in her showdown with Gabriel!!...Totally unbelievable and only possible in the 60's.
Nontheless, MODESTY BLAISE is a charming piece of fluffy eye-candy and should be savored as the harmless schlock that it was meant to be.
Highly recommended. (Single-sided, single-layer disc).
Most recent customer reviews
Modesty Blaise is the best spy spoot ever!! You folks who don't like it need to get a life. Relax, on your plush sofa. Roll a doobie and enjoy Ms Blaise. Read morePublished on April 14 2004
There's a great moment here where Rosella Falk strangles a mime to death with her knees--and that's about it. Read morePublished on March 1 2004 by Matthew Patton
I am a huge Modesty Blaise fan. I own and have read all the books and most of the comics. This movie is a disaster. First of all Modesty is BLONDE!! Read morePublished on May 14 2003
I am a real fan of parody and was hoping this film would fit the mold. Nope. It was boring and a waste of time. The Flint movies were superb - Fathom was acceptable. Read morePublished on April 10 2003 by Amazon Customer
This film is HORRID!!! why?? because it NEVER seems to pick up! It is neither Stylish, or Campy, just plain Boring with a touch of "b-movie" thrown in to Be a B movie ,which... Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2002 by Lotus Scrum
I consider myself very lucky to have become acquainted with Modesty Blaise. Thank you, Peter O'Donnell, for Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin (my thanks are late but heartfelt,... Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2002 by Crafter
The only good news here is that Quentin Tarantino is expected to produce a remake of this film. The original was made before the industry standardizad the spoof of spy movies. Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2002
I bought this DVD knowing it was bad, but I was interested in the psychedelic aspects of it. I thought maybe it would have a campy "Batman" feel to it, being made in the same great... Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2002
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