Countdown to Skyfall: Casino Royale (1967)

Countdown to Skyfall: Casino Royale (1967)

CASINO ROYALE (1967)

BOND: Well, David Niven is the original Bond - an older, retired version.  But Peter Sellers also adopts the Bond name, and so does nearly every other character in this movie at one point or another.  Woody Allen plays Bond's nephew: Jimmie Bond.

DIRECTOR: Six of 'em, including John Houston, Joseph McGrath, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Val Guest, and Richard Talmadge.

BOND GIRL(S): Too many to name, but Ursula Andress (of Dr. No fame; here as Vesper Lynd) probably gets the most screen time.

COOL GADGETS: A two-way video wristwatch is the coolest.  Very Dick Tracy.

THEME SONG: "The Look of Love," sung by Dusty Springfield.  Sultry, sexy, and pure Bacharach.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: In an early spy spoof, aging Sir James Bond comes out of retirement to take on SMERSH.

ICONIC MOMENTS: Orson Welles (as La Chiffre) faces off against Peter Sellers (as the imposter Bond) in a game of cards - two acting heavyweights who weren't even filmed in the same room.

FUN FACTS: This is not an official Bond movie.  The rights to Ian Fleming's novel of the same name split off from the Eon/Broccoli productions, and rather than compete with Connery, the producers of Casino Royale '67 decided to go the spoof route.

VERDICT: This is a giant mess.  I'd ask what the hell everyone was thinking, but since this was the '60s, I'm pretty sure they were all drunk and/or high at the time.  The movie is incoherent, confusing (why is everyone James Bond?!), unfunny, overlong, and other negative adjectives.  I pretty much hated every second of it.  The cast is impressive, but their talents are utterly wasted here.  The filmmakers seem to be working without any consistency, or true grasp of the parody concept.  It plays like the worst movie Mel Brooks never made.  The only redeeming values are some psychedelic production design, and Burt Bacharach's memorably catchy score, which is hard not to keep humming after seeing the movie.  The music almost makes you think you're having more fun than you actually are.  Avoid at all costs.

GRADE: D

Leave a comment