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Modesty Blaise (1966)

Monica Vitti , Terence Stamp , Joseph Losey  |  Unrated |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, Dirk Bogarde, Harry Andrews, Michael Craig
  • Directors: Joseph Losey
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 16, 2002
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067J18
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Modesty Blaise" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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!


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rock'n'droll February 19, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Even a Touch of Modesty July 27, 2002
Format:DVD
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.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip the film, GET THE BOOKS! October 11, 2004
Format:DVD
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun If You Simply Take It for What It Is November 15, 2004
Format:DVD
As breezy and formless as a good vacation or a life of shameless self-indulgence, "Modesty Blaise" is likely to drive anyone expecting a standard Hollywood plot nuts. In a way, that's what makes it most appealing. With director Joseph Losey's eclectic mix of old-fashioned studio and handheld verite styles, set to a swinging 60s Eurotrash soundtrack, there's enough happening in each scene to dazzle the senses--if not the brain--provided you see the letterboxed version, of course. Sultry Monica Vitti is Modesty Blaise, an international thief recruited by the British government to interfere with a diamond payoff involving an old arch-enemy (Dirk Bogarde), presumed dead all these years. Along for the ride is the often-creepy Terrance Stamp, cast here perfectly as a Cockney ally handy with a knife. There's not much in "Modesty Blaise" that makes sense conventionally, but viewing it as something of a time capsule--not for its camp or art direction, but for the many crisply photographed scenes of locations like London and Amsterdam-makes for a fascinating experience. And though much is made of Vitti's heavily accented command of English, listening to her is a more pleasant experience than to so many other actors challenged by speaking the language, such as Sylvester Stallone, Rosie Perez, Arnold Swarzenegger, Anna Nicole Smith, or Snoop Dog. You might even notice scenes that may have inspired similar ones in "Arabesque," "Casino Royale" and the "Charlie's Angels" redux. Like the much overhyped "Barbarella" a few years later, "Modesty Blaise" is a product of its time, no "Blow Up" but a curiosity to be experienced.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars pity
really a spoof ,but not really either very clever or very funny
Published 2 days ago by rojohn
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but hard to follow the plot
Fun, but hard to follow the plot. The plot was a bit uncohesive and lacked a logical pattern to follow unlike most movies.
Published 2 months ago by Edward Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Funky cool mod!
So funky and cool! I saw it in the theater as a teenager and never forgot it. I wanted to be Modesty Blaise. In my dreams is still OK.
Published 2 months ago by Jill Powers
1.0 out of 5 stars Ughhh...worse than I had heard!
Had to buy it, even though I had heard it was terrible. If you are a Modesty Blaise fan, you will hate this movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elisabeth B.
3.0 out of 5 stars camp fun!
much fun!
Published 3 months ago by Dean Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Great silly old movie
Sixties crazy. Not a serious movie, but I like silly movies. Dirk Boregard (sp?) as bad guy. Michael Torrence as side kick. I like it.
Doc
Published 4 months ago by D. Pedersen
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a mere "camp classic".
This is a Losey movie - an atypical one;
This is a sixties movie;
There are international stars, such as Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde;
There are wonderful,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Barbara Rudge
2.0 out of 5 stars I Had High Hopes for Modesty
During the "Girl from U.N.C.L.E." craze, I had high hopes that in theaters something wonderful might transpire across movie screens and a female superspy may make it as a spy... Read more
Published 16 months ago by V. Risoli
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bond but...
...closer to The Avengers with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Has the feel of the comic, and tries to approach the level of '60's European attitudes which were considered so... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dragonsmoke
4.0 out of 5 stars Modesty Blaise
Considering that this movie was made a long time ago when the technology currently available was not there I felt the show ticked all the boxes. Read more
Published on February 26, 2012 by Ian Paul
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