There are so many choice moments in this riot of mid-'60s glamour and mod fashions: Gabriel unable to decide which lobster for dinner: "decisions, decisions" or enjoying agonising over listening to the conversation of the two pilots whose plane is he about to explode ... The plot is a farrago about a cargo of diamonds Gabriel is going to steal from a ship for which he needs the talents of Willie (Terence Stamp) and the trap they set for him - assisted by dependable regulars Harry Andrews and Michael Craig. After some detours via Amsterdam and some stylish violence the real fun begins as Gabriel traps Modesty in his op art cell and her multi-coloured changes of costume. [Vitti and Stamp are as iconically 60s here as Stamp and Julie Christie the following year in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD].
The casting of Monica Vitti as Modesty is a masterstroke - the art house goddess of the Antonioni films was an unknown quantity to the mass audience and she had that aura about her. Her comedy skills find a lot of humour in the role though her English sounds as if she learnt it phonetically! Its still a cult favourite after all these years. John Dankworth's score is also spot on and a terrific '60s thriller pastiche. Dirk has great fun as Garbriel - even staked out in the desert at the end crying for "champagne, champagne"! It fits nicely into the Losey canon, as he and Bogarde went on to Pinter's script for ACCIDENT next.
It was made in 1965 for early 1966 release; 20 year old me was among the crowd watching the stars arriving at the premiere in '66 - Vitti didn't show, but Dirk was there with Mrs Fothergill (Rosella Falk) in his arm!.
Terry and Monica in the recording studio [Photo: Eve Arnold].