A comic strip that was a huge hit everywhere but the United States starring a strong female character, Modesty Blaise was twice adapted into live-action, with middling success, once in the 1960s (very much a product of its time), once in the 2000s (that both works and doesn’t work). The great superhero movie rewatch examines both Modesty Blaise and My Name is Modesty.
On top of that, the pacing is abysmal. The movie is only two hours long, but I felt like it went on for several ice ages. Having said that, Terence Stamp is a delight as Garvin, and Monica Vitti has an impressive physicality in the role—she slinks across the screen magnificently. And eventually, she even gets to be competent. Another of the biggest issues with this interpretation of Blaise is that—until the breakout from Gabriel’s redoubt in the climax—Blaise doesn’t really do very much. Garvin saves her from the explosive on the boat, Garvin and Tarrant save her from being captured by Gabriel’s thugs, Mrs. Fothergill gets the drop on her far too easily, and just in general she is remarkably ineffectual—until the end, anyhow, but by then it’s too late. In the strip, her sexuality was a tool in her work—in this movie, the sexuality is all there is for three-quarters of the running time.