My favorite spy – Modesty Blaise

A quick reprieve from my French obsessions to chat about my obsession with spies & secret agents…

I was recently the very lucky Grand Prize Winner of the first contest held over at Tanner’s wonderful Double O Section blog. I received a brand new Wild Wild West – The Complete Second Season DVD set in the mail on Monday and I couldn’t be more happy about it. Thanks Tanner!

The Wild Wild West has long been one of my favorite TV shows (but I must add that I loathe the Will Smith movie) and I actually prefer Season II of The Wild Wild West to Season I because the show gets more entertaining and just plain crazy at times. The earlier episodes were shot in black and white and they’re a little more subdued. The second season has a few more laughs and it’s shot in color, which adds a lot to the almost psychedelic inspired action that often takes place.

I’m really happy that the success of the recent James Bond film has led to a renewed interest in all things spy related. Lots of great old TV shows like The Wild Wild West and Jason King are now being released on DVD and many old films such as Kommisar X and Espionage In Tangiers are also finding their way onto DVD. This coming weekend there is even a 007 Film Festival happening in San Francisco that I would love to attend.

If you happen to be interested in spies and secret agents yourself, I highly recommend visiting Double O Section. Tanner knows his stuff and shares lots of great info about the latest spy films, books and anything else he comes across that is spy related. He’s also planning to hold other contests in the future.

9 thoughts on “Kiss Kiss… Bang Bang!

  1. I got turned on to both Bond and Wild Wild West as a kid growing up in the 70s thanks to my brother-in-law. WWW was in syndication at that time and I became a huge fan. I’ve never even been able to bring myself to watch the movie… Robert Conrad *is* James West.

    As for Bond, I’m glad to see the series re-energized after all this time. While I thought it was too long and convoluted CASINO ROYALE was a step in the right direction and now they’re talking about the next flick continuing the CR storyline with 007 continuing to seek revenge.

  2. WWW ruled as a kid. I remember seeing it on Saturday afternoons.

    Now Modesty might be a kick ass spy but those books are slow and boring.

    Loved Casio Royale it came so close to the book and glad they did screw it up.

  3. Dan – I got hooked on the show thanks to my dad who really loved it. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I even had the good fortune of meeting Ross Martin (a.k.a. Artemus Gordon) once when I was just a kid.

    I happened to catch the Will Smith movie on TV last week and could not believe how awful it was. I stayed away from it when it was originally released, but I thought maybe I had been a little too judgmental so I figured I’d give it a chance on TV. I should have followed my gut feelings and stayed away. It was horrible and I could only sit through about 45 min. of it.

    Bruce – I haven’t read any of the Modesty Blaise books, and now maybe I won’t. I am looking forward to reading the new comic strip collections soon though. Hopefully they’re better than the books.

    I’m afraid that I still haven’t seen the latest James Bond movie, but I should really give it a look soon. I didn’t like any of the Bond movies with Pierce Brosnan so I’ve been weary of the new one even though it’s gotten a really positive response from critics and fans.

  4. This was a great blog. I love a lot of the spy series and movies of the 60’s era. “Wild Wild West” was an awesome tv show. It was one of my favorite shows to watch in reruns when I was a kid. Robert Conrad is James West. The movie version was horrid. Many of these great spy shows have been made into bad movie remakes. I also loved spy shows like “The Avengers” and “The Saint.” As far as movies are concerned, I’ve gotta love James Bond. Sean Connery is still my favorite of those. I prefer the 60’s Bond movies. I do think there’s been some great ones over the years though. “Casino Royale” definitely rebooted the franchise in a great way, after the debacle of “Die Another Day.” I’m also a fan of spy movies such as Dean Martin’s Matt Helm franchise (Murderer’s Row with Ann-Margret was my favorite), James Coburn in the two Derek Flint movies, Raquel Welch’s Fathom, Deadlier Than The Male, and so on. I thought Michael Caine did a lot of great Brit spy movies. Again this was a great blog. Thanks for posting it.

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed my post Keith. Like yourself, I’m really nutty about old spy films and shows.

    You have a great Myspace page with lots of eye-candy for spy film fans!

  6. Thanks. I’ve been redoing my page today. I changed the background to one from “Goldfinger.” All the videos are Bond related. I’ve still got all the pictures from various spy movies of the 60’s and sexy stars of the 60’s. Spy movies of that era are so awesome. You’ve got great tastes.

  7. Thanks for the namecheck and the link, Cinebeats! And I’m glad you’re happy with your prize. I think both the first two seasons of WWW have something to offer, but I also tend to lean toward the second one because it’s so much more out there, just as I do with the color Avengers, as much as I like the (slightly) more down-to-earth black & white eps.

    As for Modesty Blaise, Bruce, I’ve got to disagree a little. The first book IS a little bit plodding, but it was based on a screeplay and was (I think) a first novel. Some of the later ones move a lot faster, although there are some bad ones too. I do think the first book is essential reading for anyone who enjoys the film, though, because it’s the only way you’ll ever figure out exactly what’s going on! Really, after reading the book, the movie sort of makes sense, a little. I enjoy the movie for other reasons – the colors, the sets, the costumes and most especially Dirk Bogarde and his wig! (Best spy villain ever!) But a faithful version of Peter O’Donnell’s comic strips it’s not. Monica Vitti is completely miscast. I would have LOVED to see Diana Rigg play Modesty!

    Cinebeats, the comic strip collections are a lot more accessible than the books. And DC did a graphic novel adaptation of the first novel (the story of the movie) in the early 90s that’s hard to find but definitely worth tracking down. I prefer the 70s volumes of the strips, illustrated by Romero, but the Holdaway strips from the Sixties certainly have their charm.


  8. Thanks for the comment Tanner! Now you’ve got me curious about the Modesty Blaise books.

    I love Monica Vitti so I enjoyed her in the film a lot. I’m sure Diana Rigg would have done a great job too. Obviously the movie was a bit tounge in cheek but I enjoyed it a lot. And I love Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde in it!

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