“You can’t shoot me! I have a very low threshold of death. My doctor says I can’t have bullets enter my body at any time”.
- Casino Royale 1967 Full Movie
- Casino Royale 1967 Reviews
The 1967 version of Casino Royale features one of the most star-packed casts in film history. This includes a number of actors it isn’t too hard to picture in a traditional Bond film, notably Welles, Huston, William Holden, Peter O’Toole, David Niven, and Ursula Andress who had played Honey Ryder in Dr. But the most way-out spy film of all was Casino Royale (1967), a bizarre concoction that has virtually nothing to do with the first (and arguably the best) of Ian Fleming ‘s James Bond novels. Read cast, crew, and production reviews of Casino Royale, 1967, directed by John Huston, with David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress.
When I decided I was going to do a James Bond theme week, there was one movie that intrigued me the most, one that I was most interested in seeing. Not because it has a reputation as being the best, but because it’s the black sheep, the red headed step child, the most often dismissed of the series. I don’t know if it’s even officially a part of the James Bond series. But from all reports, it’s the weirdest, silliest, and possibly worst entry in the franchise. It’s Casino Royale. Not the new millennium Daniel Craig Casino Royale that made the series more culturally relevant than it had been in decades. But the 60s Casino Royale that is, well, I’m not sure what it is.
Even the worst Eon-backed Bond movie has the distinction of being better than Charles K. Feldman's 'Casino Royale,' the first of two unofficial 007 pics (the other being 'Never Say Never Again. 'Casino Royale' only made me laugh twice during its TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOUR RUNTIME. 'The Silencers' was an hour shorter, and infinitely funnier. In total, this is one of the worst films I've ever.
David Niven is Sir James Bond, a long retired spy with no interest in abandoning that retirement. But when the heads of MI6, the CIA and the KGB realise they’re losing too many spies to sexcapades and general promiscuity, they beg the chaste Bond to return to the field. You see, in this version, James Bond is a prude. That’s a joke, ‘coz in the other Bond movies, he’s always on the job. Get it? Anywho, he’s eventually convinced to get back into the spy game and has so much success, he’s made head of MI6. His first decree as boss is to name all agents James Bond 007, and train them to resist the feminine wiles of the dolly birds they will inevitably face in the field.
So now we have Peter Sellers as Evelyn Tremble, a baccarat expert who has been recruited and renamed James Bond in an effort to take down Le Chiffe (Orson Welles) in a card game at the titular casino. We have Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd, also given the code name 007. We have martial arts expert Terence Cooper as “Cooper”, also dubbed James Bond, 007. Plus Niven’s still there as the original, and his daughter Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet). All this, and Woody Allen as Sir James’ nephew, Jimmy Bond. There are more Bonds and 007s in this thing than every other movie in the series pout together.
Episodic and basically a series of sketches, Casino Royale only makes the absolute minimum effort to tie its scenes together as a coherent story or arc. The story jumps all over the place, never giving itself, or the viewer, a chance to settle in. Which is kind of infuriating, but I also think the film makers realise it was the only way they had any chance of making this work. Because while Casino Royale has an obviously impressive cast, it’s even more obvious that that same cast was the biggest hurdle for the writers and director to overcome.
There’s the above mentioned Niven, Welles, Andress, Sellers, and Allen. Not to mention William Holden, John Huston, George Raft, Jacqueline Bisset, Ronnie Corbett, Anjelica Huston and Peter O’Toole. But it’s so clear that most of these actors were probably only available for a day or two of shooting each, so a lot of their cameos and roles are so short, there’s never a chance to work them into the continuity of the story in any natural way. That, plus stories about Sellers being so terrible to work with, writers decided it was easier to write him out of the story than shoot the original ending with him in it.
Casino Royale is a mess, but not an all together unentertaining mess. When it gets it right, and strikes the spoof tone in the sweet spot, it’s actually almost hilarious. It shines brightest when abandoning any attempts at story or reality, and goes for an ‘anything for the joke’ approach. And I’m sure these moments are thanks to the uncredited writing of Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. In the 60s, those two were masters of big, in your face jokes that worried about nothing more than being funny. If only Casino Royale indulged in that a little more.
Directed By – Ken Hughes
Written By – Wolf Mankowitz, John Law
Good looking and good cast
Movie Name:Casino Royale
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Casino Royale 1967 Full Movie
Release Date(s): April 13, 1967
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
MI-6 is under attack from SMERSH. With agents being targeted left and right, the original James Bond (David Niven) has been lured out of retirement. Now Bond must come up with a plan to stop SMERSH and discover who is pulling the strings.
Casino Royale 1967 Reviews
Directed by Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Val Guest, and an uncredited Richard Talmadge, Casino Royale was a comedy spy film which used Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel for inspiration but primarily was a stand-alone story independent of the 1953 novel. The movie was met with criticism and was considered flop, but due to the big stars and oddity of the film has gained a cult following. It did receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “The Look of Love”.
The rights for Casino Royale became a problem as the James Bond films starring Sean Connery were gaining popularity. The rights battle ended up resulting in a decision to make the movie a spy parody The movie was met with legendary production problems including Peter Sellers and Orson Wells refusing to work with each other…add to that a plot that barely can be followed, Casino Royale isn’t an easy movie to watch, but it still is some fun.
While the “official” James Bond film line is serious with some goofy spy-tech mixed in, Casino Royale is essentially a comedy. Much of the film is a parody of the style of Sean Connery Bond films that were going at the time (David Niven’s character is mad that the sex crazed current 007 is ruining his chaste name). If this had been the plot, that would have been fine, but the plot instead goes for a crazy “wacky” adventure that keeps adding characters (also playing James Bond). It is convoluted and pointless…and ends up more like a Mel Brooks film than a Bond film.
The movie is loaded with stars and the notorious film feud. Orson Welles and Peter Sellers refused to work together (some consider it starting by a visit by Princess Margaret to the set while others say that Sellers had other ideas about the film) and Sellers left before his role was finished. I actually liked David Niven as Bond and Niven was considered as an early candidate for the official Bond films by Ian Fleming’s choice. Ursula Andress played Vesper Lynd (Andress played Honey Rider in Dr. No). Deborah Kerr, John Huston, William Holden, and more actors cameo throughout the film. Woody Allen played the villainous Jimmy Bond in a rare and early acting role outside of his own films.
…and now we have dancing Native Americans
The movie does have a great “swinging ’60s” visual look. It does fit with the goofy plot and gives it helps to lighten the film. The movie looks a bit like the BBC’s The Avengers and now it looks like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The bizarre ending sequence with the death of all the James Bonds and dancing Native Americans is quite…odd.
Casino Royale is an interesting movie, but not a great movie. It is one of those movies that is fun to watch, but only if you don’t expect much from it. Enjoy the fun aspects of Casino Royale and take it as an odd entry into the James Bond saga. Aspects of the movie (and book) show up in the 2006 Casino Royale remake and a second non-canon Bond film was made in 1983 in Never Say Never Again with Sean Connery returning as Bond.