Modesty Blaise


Release Date: 1966
Director: Joseph Losey
Running Time: 119 minutes
Cast: Harry Andrews, Dirk Bogarde, Michael Craig, Terence Stamp, Monica Vitti
Comic Artist: Jim Holdaway
First Appearance: London Evening Standard
May 1963


Modesty Blaise is the retired head of a criminal organisation known as the Network. Together with her former lieutenant, cockney born Willie Gavin, she comes to the aid of Tarrent, the head of British Intelligence who sends them on various adventures around the world.

Originally scripted by Peter O'Donnell and drawn by Jim Holdaway, following Holdaway's death in 1970 the strip was taken over by Spanish artist Enrique Romero.


A popular British comic strip series served as inspiration for this light-hearted espionage adventure, which if nothing else certainly shows the marks of its origins in the mid-1960s. A large departure for director Joseph Losey, better known for brooding interpretations of Harold Pinter works (The Servant, Accident), the film is emphatically bright and colorful, taking on at times a nearly psychedelic feel. The strangeness is emphasized by the unusual casting, including Italian star Monica Vitti in her first English-speaking role as the title character and Dirk Bogarde, playing against type as her arch-nemesis. Essentially everything is played for its camp value, including the rather convoluted, James Bond-like plot, which concerns the hijacking of a shipment of diamonds heading for the Middle East. Like its mod-era sets and costumes, this unusual, inconsistent effort is certainly intriguing and attractive, but might seem rather dated to some.

© Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

Prequels, Sequels and Follow-ons:

My Name is Modesty: The Beginning (2003) Director: Scott Spiegel. Cast: Alexandra Staden, Fred Pearson, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Raymond Cruz.

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