I disagree quite strongly with those users who have given this film such a low billing. It is more than a bit unusual, of course, sort of like The Avengers done in Michaelangelo Antonioni's style. The music, costumes, and overall style are lighthearted and fun in a campy way, sometimes even dreamy. If you liked this film, you would like Antonioni's "Blowup".
Stunningly gorgeous beauty in a fun romp (by vyto34)
Many people consider Monica Vitti to have been the most appealing movie actress of the 60s-70s. Some of us would consider her to be the most radiantly beautiful, magnetically winsome film actress of all time. Modesty Blaise was her only English-language movie and it's a wonderful romp through the swinging-London era of the 60s. I don't believe there has been a film with more exuberant pop-art set decor and the movie would be worth seeing for the sets alone. L'Eclisse is considered to be her overall best film, but 1 it is in b/w, and 2 it is not currently available on DVD. <more>
Modesty Blaise is in gorgeous color and is very well transferred to DVD. Dirk Bogarde is also very good as the suave, James-Bond type villain.
Rossella Falk plays the incredible Claira Fothergill in one of the greatest villain roles in film history. She plays the perfect psychopath and turns what would just another 60's spy film into the best of its genre. Monica Vitti's instant wardrobe changes were very bothersome to me. In fact Monica was an extremely poor choice to play Monica. She could pull off the sexy aspects of Modesty, but was unconvincing in the tough physical aspects. This film has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in the late 60's. I keep hearing about a remake and plan to be first in line.
Lots of bright colours... (by nickrogers1969)
I love crazy 6o's films and I adore Monica Vitti so this film has had a special place in my heart over the years. I've only seen it a handful of times and now when i got the DVD I understand why... It has Vitti, it has Stamp, it has Losey and Bogard and bright colours and op-art sets, sunshine, songs, fab clothes, yet it does go on for a while... With no understandable plot it all turns out to be rather...pointless. The film is so busy being charming! I think it's sad that it wasn't better for Monica's sake. This was her break-out film into English language cinema and it <more>
wasn't very good as a spy/Bond film because it's not an adult movie!I now understand why it was not a hit when it was released. Losey didn't take Modesty Blaise seriously enough.There was even too many wigs and clothes changes even for me. Yet I still love the film and la Monica!!!!!Tina Marquand is in it and she's good even if her part is small.
she smoulders and glows with a knowingness that maybe puts her above Bardot (by christopher-underwood)
When I first saw this on its original release in the mid sixties, I remember being disappointed. I had been bewitched by Monica Vitti's performances with Antonioni and had much enjoyed Losey's earlier film with Dirk Bogarde, the 1963 film, The Servant. It seemed shallow and frivolous, completely lacking in any seriousness. And maybe my assessment still stands, it's just that now I love it. I love its crazy lurches, this way and that, the sinister, yet amusing Bogarde and his extraordinary drinking vessels. I love the successfully over the top performance from Terence Stamp and the <more>
glorious pop art set designs and costumerie, which I probably took for granted back in the day. But most of all, I love Monica Vitti. She can be beautifully moody and introverted for Antonioni but here she smoulders and glows with a knowingness that maybe puts her above Bardot. The scenes with Bogarde are alive, those with Stamp amusing but with Vitti on screen, it is hard to look at anything or anyone else. Worry not whether this is a spoof or not, just sit back and enjoy a very special cinematic experience that encapsulated a moment in time perfectly. Wonderful.
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 <more>
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.
Monica Vitti, Antonioni's Greco-Roman, preternatural goddess of modern alienation, a tabula rasa of modern despair, here making a few bucks on the side with her timeless beauty, in a nervous flick by stulted Brit director Joseph Losey. The movie is cheesy '60's, with insufferable music, loud wallpaper, orange clothes and slurry dialogue, a blur of nonsense crowded in every frame, a testament to the shameless, desperate greed of film. I don't care. They can't debase this goddess. I am under her spell in every shot, through every one of her innumerable costume changes, <more>
through every twist and turn of meaningless plot and fatuous posturing. See L'Eclisse, Red Desert and L'Avventura.
Senseless and silly but it has Monica Vitti (by Red-Barracuda)
I should probably start by saying that I have now seen this movie a couple of times and yet I still have no idea what the hell is going on in it! Its story-line seems like it is pretty simple but the excessively casual approach in how it is told makes it borderline incomprehensible. It reminded me a lot of the later Casino Royale 1967 which was also a spy spoof which threw many things at the screen, except for a story. Modesty Blaise was directed by Joseph Losey who by all accounts hated the James Bond films and no doubt wanted his film to damage the spy film genre to such an extent that <more>
the Bond franchise would cease to exist. To be honest, it would be easy to believe that Losey wasn't really taking this film very seriously as it is something of a mess in many ways. But, like Casino Royale, it's a mess that I have to admit a certain fondness for. It's a wilfully trivial movie which is overwhelmingly about style over content.So what is the best thing about it? The answer is simply Monica Vitti, Monica Vitti, Monica Vitti. This Italian actress had up to this point been principally known for her appearances in Michelangelo Antonioni's new wave art films, such as L'avventura 1960 . To put it mildly, Modesty Blaise is something of a departure from those oh-so-serious art-house dramas. Some people think her to be miscast here but I for one think she is perfect. She suits the comic goings on and is quite frankly one of the most beautiful women of her era. This playful film unashamedly makes the most of her super chic image and decks her out in a multitude of costume changes and differing hairstyles. Vitti is effortlessly cool and sexy here, with her heavy Italian accented English merely a further plus point.Aside from Vitti there is Dirk Bogarde having a laugh as the incredibly unscary villain, replete with blonde wig and camper than camp persona. Rossella Falk plays his female enforcer who at one point tortures and kills a mime artist for reasons that simply elude me but the fact that a mime artist is killed is not exactly a bad idea in principal . Terence Stamp plays Vitti's side-kick and he doesn't make too much of an impression in an under-written role. The film essentially is made up of parts. Some of which are good enough to ensure this remains a 60's curiosity. It has a lush theme song, colourful pop art sets, a sunny setting and breezy atmosphere, an utterly random musical routine in the middle, great outfits and a band of Arabs turning up to save the day for no real discernible reason.Modesty Blaise is really something of an obscure film these days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it failed at the box office back in the day. But its sheer oddness and incomprehensibility is something that ensures it has a bit of cult value and I have to admit that it improved on a second watch – once you know what not to expect, you can more easily enjoy what actually does unfold on-screen. It's definitely one for anyone with any interest in 60's pop art cinema or for those who appreciate the sensual ice queen that is Monica Vitti.