Casino Royale (1967) - Illustrated Reference

Casino Royale was directed by John Huston, Val Guest, Ken Hughes, Joseph McGrath and Robert Parrish. It premiered on 19th April 1967. Starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr and Ursula Andress. Screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz, John Law & Michael Sayers. Music by Burt Bacharach. 131mins.

Sir James Bond is brought back out of retirement after M’s death and has to take on SMERSH one last time. His plan is to rename every secret service agent “James Bond 007” to confuse the enemy. One agent, Evelyn Tremble, posing as Bond is sent to Monaco to take part in a game of Baccarat against Le Chiffre, an agent of SMERSH.

Producer Charles K. Feldman had obtained the rights to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel from the widow of the man who originally had the rights to the book. Feldman at first wanted to make a serious movie with Sean Connery starring but when Connery refused he decided to turn it into a full blown comedy spectacular.

David Niven (1910-1983) / Sir James Bond

Sir James Bond is a retired British secret service agent. Mata Hari was the love of his life, before she died by firing squad she gave birth to Mata Bond, Sir James only child. When M is killed Sir James takes over the secret service, whereupon he names all his agents James Bond.

Peter Sellers (1925-1980) / Evelyn Tremble

Baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble is recruited into the secret service and agrees to accept £100,000 from Vesper Lynd to play Le Chiffre in Monte Carlo.

Ursula Andress (1936-) / Vesper Lynd

Vesper Lynd is a double agent employed by Sir James Bond to seduce Evelyn Tremble into going to Monaco to play baccarat against Le Chiffre.

Orson Welles (1915-1985) / Le Chiffre

Le Chiffre, an agent of SMERSH, enjoys playing baccarat at the Casino Royale, he is also a part time magician who likes to show off his magic tricks at the table.

Woody Allen (1935-) / Jimmy Bond aka Dr. Noah

Jimmy Bond is Sir James nephew. He turns to crime, calling himself Dr. Noah, he plans to conquer the world with an army of sexy female agents.

Deborah Kerr (1921-2007) / Lady Fiona McTarry aka Agent Mimi

Mimi is an agent of Dr. Noahs posing as M’s widow in an attempt to seduce 007. She falls in love with Bond and later becomes a nun.

John Huston (1906-1987) / 'M'

M is the head of the secret service, in the film his real name is McTarry. He is accidentally killed during a mortar attack on Bond’s mansion.

Le Chiffre "Don't worry about that chair with a hole in the middle. It's merely waiting to be reupholstered."

Casino Royale’s connections with the official movie series include - Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder in Dr. No), Vladek Shebal (Kronsteen in From Russia With Love), Milton Reid (Sandor in The Spy Who Loved Me), John Hollis (Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only), Burt Kwouk (Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice), Valerie Leon (The Spy Who Loved Me).

The Sean Connery Bond movie You Only Live Twice also came out in 1967, a few months after Casino Royale premiered.

Sir James drives a black Bentley Special 4.5 litre while Evelyn Tremble drives a black Lotus Formula 3 racing car.

French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Boyer, George Raft, Peter O’Toole and William Holden all make guest appearances

One director, Ken Hughes, recalled “I never saw a script, I was given some pages and was told we weren’t going to use them anyway.”

Vesper Lynd: Mr Evelyn Tremble?
Evelyn Tremble: Yes, that's right.
Vesper Lynd: Isn't Evelyn a girl's name?
Evelyn Tremble: No, it's mine, actually.

Peter Sellers and Orson Welles disliked each other, forcing the use of stand ins for scenes where they are supposed to be looking at each other.

Director Val Guest would get phone calls from the producer at odd hours of the day telling him that William Holden was popping by and George Raft was arriving later and they had to be quickly written into the script.

The theme song “The Look of Love” sung by Dusty Springfield peaked at #4 at the US charts, it received a Best Song nomination at the Oscars.

Burt Bacharach’s music score was Grammy nominated. Bacharach won two Oscars for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Best Music and Best Song (shared with Hal David).

Casino Royale was originally budgeted at $6m and ended up costing a whopping $12m, but the film was successful grossing $42m worldwide. Orson Welles remarked that it must have been the movie poster showing a naked tattooed girl that was drawing audiences in.

Cooper: "Height: six foot two and a half. 184 pounds. Trophies for karate and judo, holder of the Kama Sutra black belt. "

In my opinion the film was colourful with plenty of girls in mini skirts and hot pants, but despite the appearance of David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen the film just isn’t all that funny.

There are moments, like the baccarat game, when you’re hoping the film has stabilised but it soon goes off the rails again and the brawling climax is just a loud chaotic unfunny mess.

A collector's item tor fans of the stars and James Bond completists than, otherwise a psychedelic damp squib.

The Critics Wrote –

"If it were stopped at the end of an hour and 40 minutes instead of at the end of 2 hours and 10 minutes, it might be a terminally satisfying entertainment instead of the wearying one it is." (New York Times)

"A very funny picture, and no two ways about it... One would have to be a misanthrope with a toothache... not to find something to laugh at... I enjoyed being run over by it for two hours and ten minutes." (Brendan Gill, New Yorker)

"The dialogue is witless and unhampered by taste, and the interminable finale is a collection of cliches in a brawl involving the cavalry, parachuted Indians, split-second appearances by George Raft and Jean-Paul Belmondo every variety of mayhem, and Woody Alien burping radiation as a walking atom bomb." (Judith Crist)

"I suppose a film this chaotic was inevitable. There has been a blight of these unorganized comedies, usually featuring Sellers, Allen, and-or Jonathan Winters, in which the idea is to prove how zany and clever everyone is when he throws away the script and goes nuts in front of the camera." (Roger Ebert)

"Woefully unfunny, unwatchable spoof of James Bond films, wasting the talents of five directors and an all-star cast including David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen." (Chris Tookey)

"Never before has so much talent and money been thrown away in the achievement of so little." (Elliot)

Casino Royale (1967) Trailer

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Comments 14 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Oh, I forgot that "The look of Love " was from this movie. I love this song and have actually sung it. Thanks for the breakdown of the plot so I don't have to watch it. I think Orson Welles had excellent taste. :)


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks for commenting Flora. You can view 2 minutes of the film if you want. I've added the trailer to the hub.

The trailer is a good representation of the film, now imagine the trailer lasting 130mins, and that's the film. :)


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I checked out the trailer. It seemed longer than two minutes. I enjoyed the cameos best. Speaking of trailers, what's up with today's trailers where everything is revealed in a ten minute trailer and there are no surprises left?


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Hey Steve...so did you watch this movie again last weekend? Looking at your photos...I do not remember the spaceship at all. Although I agree 100% with critic Chris Tookey review..."Woefully unfunny, unwatchable spoof of James Bond films"...That being said there is something fascinating about this movie...maybe it is so bad it has some charm to it....if people ever want to know how popular James Bond in the 1960s was....realize this mess of a movie made a ton of money(42 million worldwide as you wrote)

One of the things I read besides Sellers and Welles hating each other...is the fact that Sellers thought he was going to be playing James Bond for real....when he realized that is was a horrible comedy...he quit the picture...which is why Sellers is not in the out of control ending.....thanks for doing this hub...no matter how bad the movie is....it is a part of the Bond history....voted up and awesome and interesting.

P.S. Well now that Flora has seen the trailer...I do not think she will ever watch the movie.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Further to my comment about Sellers and Welles. I think Sellers was a wonderful actor in the right role but was a bit in love with himself, if you get what I mean. I don't ant anyone to think I don't enjoy Peter Sellers as an actor in anything. I just think he did as many bad films as he did wonderful films.

For example, I don't think more than one Pink Panther film needed to be made. and he was miscast in lolita. On the other hand, I love Sellers in Dr. strangelove. Meanwhile, Welles always seemed to give a good performance no matter what the quality of the overall movie was.

oh, and Cogerson-I agree. The trailer is enough. Perhaps if I could find just the cameos of Holden, Kerr, etc. I would watch them too.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

I loved the Pink Panther films Flora, especially the first two. I bought them all in a DVD box set. Dr. Strangelove I watch at least once a year. I used to quote Strangelove all the time on my movie forum, annoying everyone. :)


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Cogerson, appreciated much it is. :)

I saw the film again at the weekend, it has it's moments, it could have been a good comedy if it had one director and a decent script, so many stars wasted.

I know, Peter Sellers gave them a hard time, he would disappear from filming for long stretches and they just gave up with him. His wife at the time Britt Ekland later became a Bond girl.

The spaceship scene was just silly, not aliens but agents of Dr. Noah kidnapping Mata Bond, Sir James daughter who was out sightseeing. What's strange about that scene is that Nelson's Column seems to be missing, should be on the spot where the spaceship landed.

I did laugh out loud when one character was bragging to a girl that he had a black belt in kama sutra. :)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

You know just looking at the photo you included in your hub....they make the movie look very promising. Is there a commentary on the DVD...as it might be interesting to see what was happening behind the scenes of that movie.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

No commentary here but the US blu-ray has a commentary by film historians and a documentary too mmm. If the price drops to $5 I might go for it. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

It's hard to believe so many talented actors could be in such a poorly done film. The cast did their best but the movie just wasn't funny, and it goes on way too long.

It's a missed opportunity, because Bond films are perfect for spoofing (The TV show "Get Smart" was a great example of a hilarious Bond spoof) but the jokes fell flat here. I think Woody's execution/escape scene was the only part I laughed at.

The Sellers/Wells conflict is a pretty well known feud. I've heard it began because Peter Sellers was envious of the royal treatment Wells was getting. He was frustrated that people were sucking-up to Wells, especially during a Royal visit by Princess Margaret, who was a huge fan of Wells and spent her whole visit with him, ignoring Sellers. I guess Sellers' ego couldn't take it and he began arguing spitefully with Wells. Wells, of course, wasn't the most patient and tolerent person either, and refused to work with Sellers. Hence the doubles.

Not a very good film. But it makes a nice encore for your James Bond series. nice going.

Rob


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks for the comment Rob. I've got one more Bond film to do tomorrow and I've finished with the series.


FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 4 years ago from The Garden State

Just watched this film last night (and Hubbed about it today) and yeah, it's a 24 karat turkey. It's hard to believe that so many talented, funny performers could all be so unfunny in the same film!!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

I know, what a mess. And it still made a ton of dosh trading on the good name of James Bond. Austin Powers did it better 30 years later.

Thanks for posting.


bingo spelpunt profile image

bingo spelpunt 15 months ago from Netherlands

i like this movie

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