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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 78 minutes, Creating The Ultimate Hero: The Making of Modesty Blaise, A Conversation with Peter O'Donnell, A Conversation with Scott Spiegel and Quentin Taratino, A Retrospective of the Modesty Blaise comics, and two audio commentaries for the movie


PLOT: Modesty Blaise plays for time as she is held hostage at a casino in this prequel to the Modesty Blaise stories (that explores the origin of Modesty).

ANALYSIS: I was very impressed with this movie. MY NAME IS MODESTY is something I could watch again and again. Alexandra Staden comes across very well as Modesty. Her performance is one of the things that make this movie so fun to watch. Most of the actors come across well except the kid actor playing Young Modesty.

Some very competent direction and lots of close ups adds some flair to this movie. It is a very well pace 78 minute prequel filmed in 2002 because Miramax still wanted to hold on to the rights of the character and still make a movie based on one of the novels. Not bad for a movie shot in 18 days in Romania.

VIDEO/AUDIO: MY NAME IS MODESTY is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The details can be seen clearly. Colors and blacks are good, but the picture does have a bit of fuzziness to it in the background (most noticeable when you see blue skies).

Audio is English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround with the option of English or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue can be heard clearly except for a few lines. The music and sound mix is way too loud.

SPECIAL FEATURES: MY NAME IS MODESTY has plenty of excellent extras. The movie has two audio commentaries: the first is with Writers Lee Batchler and Janet Scottt Batchler, and the second is with Director Scott Spiegel and Producer Ted Nicolaou. The writer's commentary track isn't very exciting. It is mostly them talking about what is happening in the scene they're watching. The second commentary track is far more interesting as you get loads of info about the production of the movie including some scenes they had to shoot on the last weekend on the Coast of the Black Sea (after weather delayed it for the two previous weekends), they had to re-voice one of the actors because his English was hard to understand, the advantage of longer takes for low budget movies, and the problems with kid actors they had to film around. Ted Nicolaou does sound a little too quiet almost like he is mumbling.

CREATING THE ULTIMATE HEROINE: THE MAKING OF MODESTY BLAISE is a 13 minute featurette that shows some behind-the-scenes footage of the production (including some of the martial arts being rehearsed) and has interviews with various people (but mostly Alexandra Staden).

A CONVERSATION WITH PETER O'DONNELL (52 minutes) is letterboxed. Peter talks about his career as a writer, how he came to create Modesty Blaise, his experiences in World War II that made it into the Modesty Blaise stories, the last Modesty Blaise story, and what novel he would liek to see adapted into the next movie (even tells an alternate choice too).

Next is A CONVERSATION WITH QUENTIN TARATINO & SCOTT SPIEGEL (42 minutes). QT tells how he discovered Modesty Blaise 20 years ago, his love for the character, and why it has taken so long for a MODESTY BLAISE movie to get made. Scott reveals he was brought on as the director a week before MY NAME IS MODESTY was to begin shooting (all the prep work was done), how he loved the script, and all of it was filmed in 18 days. QT adds that Miramax will be quick to reshoot and even spend as much as they spent to the original shoot. Luckily they didn't have to reshoot anything for MY NAME IS MODESTY and Peter O'Donnell liked the movie. Rounding out the extras are a worthless Miramax trailer for their movies and A RETROSPECTIVE OF MODESTY BLAISE COMICS & ARTWORK (which gives plot for all of the MODESTY BLAISE stories).

FINAL ANALYSIS: MY NAME IS MODESTY is a step above most directe-to-video movies. It is a very entertaining movie despite it's 78 minute running time. So go rent it now! If you're a MODESTY BLAISE fan, buy the DVD because you won't be disappointed.

this review is (c)10-8-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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