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Alexandra Staden as Modesty Blaise in a flashback sequence from My Name Is Modesty

My Name Is Modesty is a British-American co-produced action drama motion picture released in Europe in October 2003 and North America in September 2004. It did not receive theatrical release, and instead was released directly to DVD in both regions.

The film is based upon the early years of the character Modesty Blaise, a former crime boss turned secret agent created by Peter O'Donnell for a classic comic strip that ran from 1963 to 2001, and a related series of novels.



The film stars British actress Alexandra Staden as Modesty and chronicles a crucial event in the character's life some time prior to the start of the comic strip.

The film was actually produced in 2002 by Miramax but held for release for more than a year. It is reported that the company made the film in order to retain film rights to the character. The full title of the DVD release is Quentin Tarantino Presents My Name Is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure, but it is not known what (if any) involvement the popular film director had in the production. Tarantino does appear on the DVD, interviewing Peter O'Donnell in a supplementary feature, and it is known that he has wanted to produce his own Modesty Blaise movie for years. (Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction includes references to the character).

This film is notable in that it is the very first use of a Modesty Blaise storyline that was not written by the character's creator, Peter O'Donnell. O'Donnell had written every storyline of the comic strip, every novel, and his basic story material (albeit little else) was used for the two previous Modesty Blaise-based films produced in 1966 (see Modesty Blaise (1966 film)) and 1982 (see Modesty Blaise (1982 film)). Although O'Donnell was a consultant on the production, the plot and storyline did not originate from him. (Indeed the events of this film have no counterpart in either the novels or comic strip.)

Since this film takes place prior to Blaise's exploits with The Network, the criminal organization she ran before becoming an agent for British Intelligence, the character of Willie Garvin, Blaise's right-hand man, does not appear. This is the only official Modesty Blaise adventure (comic strip, novel or film) in which Garvin does not appear.


For the serious Modesty fan there is one major discrepancy between this film and the way Modesty's background is described in the novels and comic strips. According to the flashbacks shown in this movie, Lob, the old man who tutored Modesty, was not only a scholarly professor who knew seven languages and had a great general knowledge, but was also a martial arts master who taught Modesty advanced unarmed combat. (This despite the fact that Modesty, as a child, is also shown saving Lob from some thieving boys.)

In the novels and comic strips Lob was the intellectual tutor, but he was totally helpless and needed Modesty to defend him. Modesty learned unarmed combat at a later time in her life, picking it up various places including from masters in the Far East.

A possible explanation is that Modesty was not telling the complete truth; at the end of the film, one of the other casino employees asks her whether the stories she told Miklos about her past were really the truth, and her reply is only: "My name is Modesty".

See also

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