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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Modesty Blaise (1966)

It takes a thief to catch a thief so the British government hires a master thief (Monica Vitti) to aid them in the prevention of a diamond theft by a criminal mastermind (Dirk Bogarde). Loosely based on the popular comic strip by Peter O'Donnell, the director Joseph Losey (THE SERVANT) would seem an unlikely choice for a spy spoof. The film does have a cult following but it just seems rather desperate in its attempts at being "cool". If it's a mess, I suspect it's an intentional mess but I prefer the unintentional mess of the 1967 CASINO ROYALE with which it has a lot in common. It's a nice looking movie what with Richard Macdonald's production design mimicking the pop art of the day (think Warhol and Lichtenstein) and Jack Hildyard's splashy lensing. But while Monica Vitti can be a comedic delight in her native language, it appears difficulty with the English language trips her up here. Bogarde as the fey villain fares better. Still, as a relic of what was being served up in the mid 1960s in the guise of humor, it has an archival purpose. With Harry Andrews, Clive Revill, Rossella Falk, Tina Marquand and Alexander Knox. 

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