Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This is the End: Modesty Blaise (novels)

I'm sure that I've mentioned my love for Modesty Blaise.  The character started as a comic strip in 1963 and by 1966 there was a plan to make a movie.  Peter O'Donnell wrote the screenplay which the movie makers then rewrote and reportedly only one line ended up in the final product,  However, O'Donnell also wrote the novelisation and he used his script as the basis for that.  SO O'Donnell adapted his first comic strip into a movie script which he then adapted into a novel. Phew! Now the 1966 movie was less than successful (and less than faithful*)  and most people wouldn't be aware that the novel started out as a novelisation.

 Image result for monica vitti Modesty Blaise

*I mean they made it a musical, dress Monica Vitti as a near perfect recreation of the comic strip and then go "nope not doing that" and have her run around as a blonde.

Given that the movie didn't gain a sequel and O'Donnell wrote another ten novels and two short story collections, I'd suggest that maybe they should have went with his script.

So I still need to read all the comic strips but I recently read all the novels.  Some like Modesty Blaise and Cobra Trap for the first time.

The books are really good I love all the recurring characters - Stephen Collins and his eventual wife Diana, Doctor Giles Pennyfeather.

The novels give us a more detailed look at the world of Modesty and Willie, more than we can in the strips.

I heartily recommend reading the books and the comic strips (perhaps best to miss the 1966 movie and the 1982 TV pilot both available on youtube)  The 2004 direct to DVD movie My Name is Modesty is okay but really get the DVD for the special features interviews with Peter O'Donnell, Quentin Tarantino and an overview of the comics.

Now O'Donnell supposedly has in his will that Tarantino is the only one who can make a movie. Tarantino has said he will quit making movies after 10 films and he has made 8 already - one of those last two had better be a Modesty Blaise movie.

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