“We’ve no alternative; we must have Modesty Blaise.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Later, DVD Savant describes it as “a comedy without laughs, that has no control over its tone” — a movie that “starts like a James Bond film and crumbles into rather boring scenes punctuated by pitiful jokes and impenetrable in-jokes.” Italian actress Vitti — best known for her starring roles in Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), L’Eclisse (1962), and Red Desert (1964) — is appropriately quirky and beautiful yet somehow not quite believable as an agile super-spy:
Much more intriguing (though under-developed) is Bogarde’s fussy super-criminal Gabriel, wearing dapper clothes and a silver wig and caring far too much about details of the food he eats:
… while allowing torture and killings to occur around him.
This movie has color and style to spare, but it’s frustrating to be tossed from set to set — with Vitti rapidly changing outfits and hair colors as well:
— for no real purpose other than whimsy. Given its budget, Modesty Blaise had the potential to be a clever, female-centric send-up of James Bond flicks, but it falls far short of this goal.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: