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Modesty Blaise (1966)

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A spy spoof in the 1960s tradition, featuring the comic book heroine Modesty Blaise (Monica Vitti) set in the Italian Mediterranean.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Evan Jones (screenplay), Peter O'Donnell (original story) | 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 (Monica Vitti), 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 (Terence Stamp) and a few other friends to outsmart them. Meanwhile, at his island hideaway, Gabriel (Sir Dirk Bogarde), 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:

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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

One of five movies that Sir Dirk Bogarde made with Director Joseph Losey. See more »

Goofs

Modesty's large leg tattoo is missing in the pre-credits sequence. See more »

Quotes

Sir Gerald Tarrant: I don't know how much you know about Arab etiquette, but the thing that must be avoided above all is familiarity. These chaps are as proud as Lucifer, and a woman among Muslims must be particularly careful.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although previously passed uncut for cinema and video the 2010 UK DVD was raised to a 12 certificate and cut by 2 secs to remove a horsefall. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Ice Is Nice
Written by John Dankworth and Evan Jones
Sung by Bob Breen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A James Bond spoof that doesn't really work
2 December 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This is a parody is based on a British comic strip, and the film came off as another one of the James Bond spoofs that littered the screen in the 1960's (The Matt Helm series, the Dr. Goldfoot series, etc).

The movie is about superspy Modesty Blaise (Vitti), who can change her appearance just by snapping her fingers. She is hired by the British government to protect a shipment of diamonds, which international thief Gabriel (Bogarde) is after. Blaise only accepts the job if Willie Garvin (Stamp) is allowed to work with her. Film goes on its way from there.

Script is infuriating because it misses opportunity after opportunity for satire. It assumes that just because Blaise is a woman superspy, that alone is hilarious. Vitti does her best, and sounds like a smoky voiced Garbo, but the script leaves her high and dry. She gets most of her laughs from intonation, sight gags, and the glint in her eyes. Stamp is on the sidelines, although his appearance changes at will also. Bogarde as Gabriel is the funniest person in the film, whether he's refusing an egg because it's overcooked or reminding a potential killer that it's rude to point.

This one does have Bogarde, and Blaises' changes are spectacular, and so are the sets. There are setpieces that are homages to famous directors, which I found amusing. However, it just goes on too long for what little it is trying to do, there are too many dry spells without laughs, and Bogarde and company are off-screen for too long. Still worth a watch--maybe.


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