Casino Royale 1967 Review


“Ever been called Mr. James Bond? Mr. James Bond?
Miss James Bond?
Well, I’ll probably be called that in that picture
coming out. Yes Casino Royale.
This is what I thought
might start you off in the right track
and I guess it did is its opening in
April here in New York Casino Royale.
Which is the new James Bond epic. One of
two John there are two James Bond pictures
coming out. What’s the other one? Well there is Casino Royale and the other one
many many James Bond pictures. Yes the point
is made. No of course the old James Bond is
coming out I think I don’t know when. In
June. Thanks.
In my day spying was an alternative to war and the spy was
a member of the Select and immaculate
priesthood. Things are bad. Very bad. This
place brings back a few memories.
Sir James Bond is back with his morales, his
vows and his celibate image. We must
destroy that image. Hello Sailor
James Bond. What are your qualifications? Doodle me!
It’s depressing with the words secret agent has
become synonymous with sex maniac.
The target has just entered Scotland. Many
people here who loathe and despise you.
It is a training center for what we commonly
referred to as spies.
Two cups of this and you’re stoned out of your mind.
Mr Bond? You missed Mr. Bond.
You amuse me Mr.Bond.
Now if you’re ready Mr. LeChiffre, I would
like to play baccarat.
You should take a moment and check the
papers in your desk at home you could
possibly be the proud owner of the
rights to James Bond or at least a
percentage of them. It seems like the
rights to the 007 character
his stories in books and movies the
profits he’s accumulated through the
years they’ve all been sliced up in such
a confused way that it’s become hard to
keep track of who really owns what. So
who knows maybe one of us average Bond
fans could be sitting on a potential
goldmine. Let me say up front this is by
no means a definitive recounting of the
history of Casino Royale. I’m just trying
to piece together the events as best
I’ve learned them. I clearly wasn’t there
for any of this so don’t take my word
for any of what follows I could be
completely wrong. This labyrinth of
ownership regarding 007
can mainly be traced back to Casino
Royale and Thunderball
The ownership of Thunderball resulted in
a big ruckus that eventually settled
into a partnership between EON producers
Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli and
Kevin McClory to team up to make the
1965 film but for decades afterwards the
rights to the story were still up in the
air. The whole thing is so convoluted I
still don’t fully understand. Maybe
this book can clear that mess up for me
I still have to get around to reading it.
As for Casino Royale it’s a bit more
straightforward but still resulted in a
very rocky road.
Now Fleming had sold the rights to CBS
for their 1954 adaptation for the show
Climax. After having finished with that
and it not really causing much of a
sensation, in 1955 Casino Royale then
made its way into the hands of actor
director Gregory Ratoff
who had definite intentions to make
Casino Royale into a film.
By January 1956 the New York Times
announced that Ratoff had set up a
production company and plan to film
Casino Royale that summer with 20th
Century Fox planning to release it. That
particular article also mentions that
Ian Fleming had written a film
adaptation to the novel which wasn’t
going to be used. The idea that Fleming
actually wrote a film screenplay for
Casino Royale is very intriguing however
if this article is a hundred percent
accurate that screenplay has never been
found. There was evidently a bump in the
road with Ratoff’s Casino project
since well it never got made. Although he
apparently didn’t give up on the project.
Ratoff died in 1960 still owning the
rights to Casino Royale and this is
where things get even more fascinating.
Ratoff’s widow sold the Casino rights
to Charles K. Feldman who’d been a close
friend to Ratoff. Feldman was this
Playboy producer and super agent in
Hollywood at the time. Supposedly he
threw a lot of great parties. Owning the
rights to Casino Royale started to have
a little more cashe when in March 1961
Life magazine listed President John F.
Kennedy’s ten favorite books and as Bond
fans know From Russia With Love was on
that list. I don’t think anyone would
care much about this today. I don’t see
us Americans being too interested in
what our president is reading at least I
wouldn’t be. But in 1961 everyone loved
Kennedy, all that mystique of Camelot, how
Jackie was so hot, it all made everyone
perk up their ears at the details as to
what Kennedy would be reading before he
turned off the lights laying next to
Jackie or whoever it might have been
that night. Suddenly Bond novels became
bestsellers in the U.S. Three months
later one of Feldman’s former employees
at famous artists Cubby Broccoli formed
Eon Productions with Canadian producer
Harry Saltzman after they had bought the
rights to Fleming’s 007
novels – all of them except Casino
Royale. Well you have to know what
happened next.
“I admire your luck Mr? Bond James Bond.”
Doctor No starring Sean Connery
premiered. It was the start of
movie audiences love affair with
007 and was the beginning of
one of the most successful film
franchises in cinema history. The films
would become international blockbusters
and made James Bond one of the most
popular and profitable fictional
characters ever.
It also created an army of films that
attempted to be part of it. The 60s spy
craze began and created plenty of films
that tried to cash in on Bonds
popularity. As Feldman looked on he must
have had a big smile on his face. He had
an easy big juicy foot in the door to
get into all this. He owned Bonds first
adventure Casino Royale. Initially
Feldman considered making a straight
serious Bond film. At one point he even
hoped it would star Sean Connery and
Shirley MacLaine.
He approached Connery early on about
starring as Bond in his film. By that
point though Connery had one foot out
the door wanting to play Bond anymore
and when he was asked by Feldman he
simply responded “only for 1 million
dollars”. That salary demand was just too
much for Feldman to meet at the time.
There were talks between Eon films and
Feldman to partner up and make Casino
Royale an official Bond film but that
didn’t last long.
Supposedly the breaking point was when
Feldman demanded that he received 75
percent of the box-office profits and
the remaining 25 percent would go to
Broccoli Saltzman and United Artists.
Surprisingly they weren’t too thrilled
with that deal. Feldman eventually
reconsidered making it a serious story
for whatever reasons. Maybe he just didn’t
like his odds of being able to compete
with the big budgeted thrilling Eon
films. Or as Val Guest one of the
directors recounted years later – “he gave
me four scripts to read and I was handed
all this and I said to Charlie Feldman
where’s the book let me read the book
too because I haven’t read it and he
said well he said we can’t use the book
because they’ve used sequences in every
other Bond film. He said the only thing
we got left is the title and the casino.
So we had to start from scratch.” I’m not
so sure exactly what he means by that.
I don’t see why they couldn’t just film
the book they owned, but maybe there was
some legal thing going on or they just
thought it was better to go in a
different direction or something.
Either way Casino Royale would become a
comedy spoofing the Bond films. Columbia
Pictures agreed to a budget of 6 million
dollars a pretty large budget in 1966
but it was nothing as to what the film
eventually ended up costing. After the
film was finally finished having endured
countless production problems and a
budget that just skyrocketed, Feldman saw
Connery at a Hollywood party and
supposedly told him it would have been
cheaper and easier if he had just paid
him that 1 million bucks in the
beginning. Feldman went about assembling
a cast his first casting coup was Peter
Sellers who thanks to spur Foreman tsa’s
in dr. Strangelove and the Pink Panther
movies was extremely popular at the time
Sellars was paid 1 million dollars along
with a white rolls-royce to star I don’t
really understand why Feldman decided to
pay sellers a million bucks and not
Connery maybe this is inaccurate but
that’s what I’ve read sellers original
salary agreement was if it’s true I
don’t get it
I guess Feldman eventually decided the
high price would be worth the investment
of a big-name star or maybe he just had
more money from Columbia to play with at
this point if I was him I would have
gone back to Connery called his
million-dollar bluff and gotten him to
the set right away David Niven who is
once Fleming’s ideal actor to play
double-oh-seven
would finally get to play James Bond
Woody Allen Orson Welles Ursula Andress
Deborah Carr Barbara Bouchet Jacqueline
Bisset John Huston directing one fifth
of the film
now really there are some pretty funny
and talented people involved in this
Casino Royale had some real potential to
be the ultimate James Bond spoof film
stellar cast huge budget released at the
height of the James Bond craze what
could go wrong
mayhem Casino Royale for me is one of
those films were the behind-the-scenes
drama ends up much more interesting and
entertaining than the actual film itself
I’ve heard countless stories about the
production some completely crazy like I
said I don’t know if all of them are
true but I’ll share with what I’ve heard
just because I think they’re so friggin
funny and hearing this stuff I’m amazed
that the film even managed to get
finished all these stories might also
explain how the budget doubled from six
million dollars to twelve making it one
of the most expensive films ever at that
point in cinema history for comparison
you only live twice which was released
the same year cost only nine and a half
million characters randomly disappear
and reappear there’s a bunch of
psychedelic montages and the film tries
to pile on more and more zaniness in the
attempt of being a big laughing party it
is one trippy movie in the same vein as
the popular groovy films during this
period as an example of that Casino
Royale is worth a watch but as a spoof
of James Bond films not so much it’s not
a spoof or parody movie as how we would
define it today
it doesn’t spend an awful lot of time
doing gags on the bond formula that
audiences were at that point very
familiar with the film was directed by
five separate directors each filming
their own segments unfortunately the
script didn’t take into very basic
considerations such as a general story
thread that would weave each segment
seamlessly into one another directors
were said to be filming alone with no
idea what was going on with the rest of
the production so I’m not even going to
get into trying to explain the story
since it’s such a
stream-of-consciousness kind of movie
that it matters very little to try to
follow with anyway
if the filmmakers didn’t bother with
having a cohesive story to tell what
luck do I have deciphering one out of
this but the general idea is that David
Niven is the retired real James Bond
double-oh-seven but mi5 now assigns that
name and number to another agent in
order to keep the legend alive and his
enemies fearful that he’s still on the
job
Niven eventually comes back to the
service to battle SMERSH and in a
strategic move decides to assign every
agent the name James Bond
double-oh-seven in order to confuse the
enemy the film consists of a patchwork
of these agent adventures culminating in
a madcap finale at Casino Royale
ironically the one I find to be the most
silently awkward and head shaking is the
beginning of the film with Niven
travelling to Scotland to visit the
widow of M M’s been killed in a bomb
attack by his own orders I don’t know he
kind of ordered his men to who cares M
was played by John Huston though Em’s
widow and daughters are Smurfs
replacements we tried to discredit bond
celibate image it’s a whole lot of
strangeness Deborah cars casting kind of
came about by accident she dropped by
the set to visit Huston was asked to
play a guest part and that balloon to
two months of work from her work on
Casino Royale she bought a new swimming
pool which he would later dubbed the
Charles K Feldman Memorial swimming pool
that jokes funnier than anything she
does in the movie I just don’t get it
Nevin does the bewildered outsider role
as he stays in this nutty castle Deborah
Carr who actually looks pretty good
tries to get him in the sack but this
James Bond refuses all the opportunities
he has with his family of chicks he ends
up winning some kind of Scottish
strongman competition or something the
whole sequence just drags and never
results in any funny I remember when I
first watched this thinking wow if this
is the first 30 minutes this is going to
be one long movie the opening Scotland
part was directed by John Huston
apparently he agreed to do it only if he
was allowed complete control of the
writing and the filming of his segment
plus he supposedly took the gig to pay
off a gambling debt Huston insisted on
shooting the Scottish grouse hunting
scenes in Ireland where there were no
grouse supposedly the only reason Huston
was so keen to go to Ireland was because
he wanted to go fox hunting ignoring
budget constraints used and stayed there
filming for months instead of weeks
until one day he just stopped shooting
decided to leave and valgus wasn’t
fluent he had to finish what you stand
started I don’t think Houston’s heart
was really in this film
I guess he only took the gig for the
money in the Fox honey
the Grouse had to be edited into the
final film after surviving species
attempts on his life Niven heads back to
headquarters now we get into familiar
bond territory and we get our best
semblance of an overall story now on all
remaining agents and trainees we known
as James Bond double-oh-seven including
the girl well it’d be rather confusing
exactly the enemy won’t know which way
to turn
you are now James Bond congratulations
double-oh-seven and uw7
sir good hunting double it him this
wacky idea is supposed to be the big
hook of the film I guess it was used as
the tagline on the posters and the
trailers and everything Casino Royale is
too much for one James Bond you got to
understand bigger is better and much
much funnier quantity over quality right
an agent is trained to resist the
temptations of beautiful women this gag
doesn’t have any payoff down the road by
the way but we do get to see this guy
kiss a lot of hot women these sixties
sexy birds are there really something
and see they were already spoofing ercel
and roses white bikini even back then
surprisingly this is a much more subtle
reference than the one Halle Berry did
years later
a vast number of writers worked on the
screenplay and it was constantly being
rewritten Woody Allen was holed up in a
lush London hotel waiting for his scenes
to be shot he had to wait there six
months he made the most of his time
there though he wrote a Broadway play
and his own screenplay by the time he
got the shooting his scenes he was well
into overtime back he never believed was
asked to help with rewrites like
everyone else probably but he still felt
burnt about the alterations Feldman had
done to his screenplay er what’s new
pussycat so Alan just focus rewriting
his own scenes to try to improve them
his lines are actually the funniest in
the movie yeah you really like this
means an angry letter to The Times
he made it absolutely clear to Feldman
that he didn’t want his name under any
kind of screenplay
or writing credit for the phone are you
in the picture Casino Royal – yes yes I
didn’t write it right now I’m just
figuring it he’s loafing in this one are
you the night new James Bond I am
abundant in general yes buddy now we get
the big guns of the film Ursula Andress
and Peter Sellers these two would be the
main draw to watch this movie Peter
Sellers in a Bond spoof film and
co-starring alongside the most famous
Bond girl ever I’m so there this is the
beginning of a portion of the film that
actually kind of resembles Fleming’s
Casino Royale novel kind of Andrews
plays vest Berlin annex agent who is to
recruit expert baccarat player Evelyn
tremble to become the new James Bond and
win a game against the evil receive the
most notorious stories that revolve
around Casino Royale is with Peter
Sellers during filming sellers was being
extremely difficult supposedly he was
under the impression that Casino Royale
would not be a comedy but in fact he
would be playing a serious version of
James Bond or at least that’s what he
wanted to do in it I always found this
story fascinating I mean if I was an
actor and I signed up for a movie
would think I would want it made clear
if it was going to be a drama or a
comedy so I suspect sellers had to know
they hired him to be funny but I guess
he just didn’t care how nuts is that
these conflicting viewpoints between
sellers and the filmmakers certainly fit
in with all the other nutty stories
behind this movie from the stories I’ve
heard by this point in his career
sellers one to be taken more seriously
and one to prove he could do more than
just get laughs and that he could
potentially be a suave romantic leading
man so he just decided well you guys
might be making a comedy but I’m not how
we doing Pete and feel free to improvise
we’re doing a spoof here remember I’m
playing it straight as myself blackhat
aground sellers does seem to be playing
it straight most of the time his love
scene with Andrew starts as essential
exercise in romance but gradually it
gets into more zaniness sellers begins a
series of random impressions and
dress-up this was supposedly prompted by
Joseph McGrath who somehow convinced
sellers to include a little bit of
comedy in here I don’t really think it’s
that funny though and what kind of
performance did sellers think he was
giving I used to think his intention was
to play tremble as this goofball and
then when the metamorphosis hits and he
becomes James Bond he would play it
straight but that doesn’t really jive
with some stuff down the road but you
know we mustn’t forget that the beggar
who is sitting in the marketplace
he is completely deaf in so much as far
as listening to the song that is coming
from the Mockingbird is concerned I’m
sorry Mr Bond I don’t get the connection
so there just doesn’t look to be any
reasoning to his performance at all I
guess he played it his way and when the
filmmakers got lucky with him on a good
day
he would throw in some funny bits
this could make a pretty good premise
for comedy actually the most famous
comedic actor ever gets hired for an
extravagant expensive comedy but decides
he’s going to play it as a drama and use
it to turn his screen persona around
much to the confusion of the filmmakers
now that would have been funnier to
watch than this Casino Royale Andrus
does what she does really well she looks
hot and she brings her famous Bond
connection to the film yep
that sums her up
supposedly a memo by Feldman declared no
background dogs in my picture get only
real beauties hundreds of young sexy
models and actresses auditioned for the
film
fortunately Casino Royale placed the
headquarters of SMERSH under the Playboy
Club in London you have never apparently
appreciated the shout out and loan the
film truckloads of his playmates to
appear in various roles the film does
slow down long enough to poke fun at the
famous cue scenes this scene is probably
the closest to how I originally would
have envisioned a Bond spoof film in
1967 would have been I shouldn’t use
them hence at the moment of nib touches
the paper it releases a stream of
poisonous gas into the writers I haven’t
gone I think of next well give me of
that I suppose I’m coming quite useful
if you ever wanted to send anyone a
poison him yet yes all our new men say
that it’s kind of funny how this gag
made its way into the official Bond
series years later wonderful for poison
pen letters bad tension double air 7
what would a big expensive outlandish
groovy film be without a scene with an
elephant well it was planned Ursula
Andress was meant to be riding an
elephant in some kind of crazy circus
scene however sellers put a stop to it
sellers was extremely superstitious and
thanks to a dream he had of his mother
telling him not to do the scene because
it was too dangerous he was scrapped and
the set was just taken down
Andres was disappointed at losing the
elephant see she enjoyed her Elephant
Boy outfit so much she was allowed to
wear the extravagant costume while
walking around her control room even if
it doesn’t make much sense
jolly outfit that is you often wear that
in the office if I was in the street
people might feel it’s funny how things
just happened in this film sellers at
the time was married to future Bond girl
Britt Ekland the marriage was unstable
by this point and sellers would
consistently be chasing after Eklund
trying to save him even when he was
scheduled for filming fruitless attempts
to get him to the set would be made by
helpless production assistants so
throughout the production he was almost
always late or just didn’t arrive at all
at one point he disappeared for three
weeks while 2,000 extra stood around and
waited the film’s then shifts into a
story of Nivens bond reuniting with his
daughter from a long ago tryst with mata
Hara he treks to meet Mata played by
Johanna Petitte and she looks good it
sequences like this that really show off
some of the money the film had to play
with to the set design here starts to
rival the huge sets in the official
series it’s a pretty extravagant dance
number for such a silly movie then were
dropped into one of the most surreal
dreamlike sequences of Mata heading off
to Berlin and infiltrating a school
that’s a cover for SMERSH – well I don’t
know what she’s supposed to be doing
here get some microfilm or something I
think for all the strangeness watching
this sequence in this film I always
thought it looked pretty cool the sets
are obviously inspired by the old great
German expressionist films
you got tilted angles and strong shadows
some of it looks like an Escher painting
how did the filmmakers ever dream that
this would fit in to a Bond spoof I
don’t understand how they came up with
putting this into a movie that was
spoofing James Bond
I don’t get it I don’t see the
connection to James Bond’s world with
this they must have been smoking some
pretty heavy stuff the five of you are
invited more accurately challenged to
compete in my latest creation the
ultimate game which I call the great
all-nighter typically with these big
zany movies where there’s a huge cast
and all these different characters
running around that you have to follow
it helps to have one clear-cut story
sort of like one giant story umbrella
where you have all the characters
playing underneath it all the characters
have the same goal each of these lists
is identical
it contains the clues for 100 items each
item has its own point value the winner
of the event will be the team or the
person who collects the most points of
quar the items any way you choose
except by purchase and store them in the
areas designated on your list back at 5
o’clock that’s it we’re going on it car
tire
so scavenger hunt they have the same
objective now I suggest that we quietly
get into our cars and then when we get
down there we dig up the money for body
that there is somebody there there’s
only one way to figure it I got it
everyman let him know where have I
always told you that the smiler hit the
DOE or they’re all in the same situation
it’s a full-scale invasion there’s one
clear target everyone’s image when you
leave we’re going to punch out here at
this time clock 3,000 miles roughly away
from here is another time clock just
like that at the Portofino a.m. the
difference between two two times is your
time across the country what the hell is
going on here everybody’s driving like
maniacs and they’re generally all in the
same predicament the fact is we’ve been
invaded by mutant species of the active
killer bee you set it up and we’re off
and running then the film can just go
off in two different directions with all
these characters and we never left
confused as to what to try to accomplish
or overcome
but I never thought I’d see the final
faceoff in my life
and I never dreamed it would be the bees
they’ve always been our friends here I
don’t know what’s going on half the time
or how it relates to the rest of the
story the only thing that’s made clear
is that there are a lot of James Bond’s
running around this movie is just too
much for one James Bond oh yeah that’s
not much of a story by the way I love
how in the trailer
it says suggested by the Ian Fleming
novel man poor Fleming must have been
spinning in his grave
Feldman should have just sold the rights
to cubby broccoli he’s not doing
anything with the story he owns anyway
this idea of multiple James Bond’s
running around isn’t necessarily a bad
idea there are all sorts of things you
could do different takes on
double-oh-seven
various spoofs of the film’s the
characters and cliches but it really
doesn’t do any of that there are a few
broad targets but at times it appears to
forget about James Bond and the spy
craze and it just gets into completely
surreal territory this was completely
goofed up at the writing stage looking
at this I would have suggested okay so
you have five different directors why
you need five I don’t know but we’ll go
with it so why not make it an anthology
film each of these five segments recount
one of these James Bond’s silly
adventures and will have no relation to
any of the others you can use Niven as
the bridging device he’s the real James
Bond now retired and M is trying to
convince him to come back into the
service by telling him all the troubles
they’re having with all these impostor
James Bond’s running around and goofing
everything up at least some of the
stories might have been hit-or-miss
maybe one or two would have actually
been funny instead of just trying to
cram everything into one long baffling
movie that was at the end of the film
when all these things that for
got together down and they all been
edited by Bill Lenny my editor who had
done his best charlie Feldman said will
a sort of somehow doesn’t make sense or
my that’s an understatement
and he said he needs a sort of a
storyline you’re in third no this is a
hell of a time to think of that when
you’ve just made the film and I suggest
it needs a thread going right through
all these sequences and sociable write
it just like that so are you sitting
that wrong projection room and see all
these segments through it I said I’ll
only write it if you allow me to use
David and Ursula Andres has my link
figure because I knew they would giggle
is enough to help me keep my sanity
through this so I wrote them right
through as sort of linked lines trying
to connect all these stories afterwards
was pointless an hour and a half in
sellers enters Casino Royale to play
against leshiy f– played by Orson
Welles and keeping with the rest of the
film it’s pretty strange and forgettable
having Welles in this might have seemed
like a real coup but he had started to
become a parody of himself by this point
his appearance doesn’t add as much as it
could have apparently his contribution
for the film was to want Liz chief to do
magic tricks the idea doesn’t seem that
inspiring and again it doesn’t result in
much funny behind the scenes he made
much more of an impact on the production
sellers refused to film scenes with
Welles they supposedly hated each other
I loved reading about these big star
feuds as Joe McGrath had said this was
my first film and Panavision the letter
box shaped screen you could hold a
hundred yards of the set in the lens we
had 700 extras for the gaming sequences
but we had no way of bringing our two
stars together in the same shot so they
shot their stuff separately and it was
edited together even when I was little
seeing this flick not knowing anything
about the behind-the-scenes drama I
always wondered why they never filmed
these two in the same shot
they managed to get one or two but it’s
pretty obvious when you see it it’s like
that Sinatra cameo when Cannonball Run 2
Joseph McGrath was a personal friend of
sellers who sellers had initially
insisted be hired for the film they
ended up getting into a fistfight one
day on the set I would love to know what
that was about
sellers demanded Feldman fire McGrath
and soon after sellers had a fallout
with Feldman to finally things got too
crazy from McGrath he completed his
contractual agreement and left the
unfinished film sellers eventually came
back to film other scenes and he kept
calling McGrath pleading with him to
return to the phone at one point sellers
supposedly promised McGrath that if he
returned Feldman would give him a Rolls
Royce gave me one Feldman did end up
offering McGrath of roles if he returned
but apparently it just wasn’t worth the
headache to him
sellers frequent disappearances finally
ground the production to a halt and
finally Feldman terminated his contract
and fired over see isn’t this stuff more
interesting than me talking about the
actual movie Joseph McGrath had enough
sense to jump off this out-of-control
train but now he needed to be replaced
cue director Robert Parish when he
arrived he saw this huge empty white
circular set and had no idea what it was
for there was nothing in the script to
indicate what it was for I didn’t know
what to do with it and for a few days I
just hoped it would go away but then
Peter came up with his dream sequence
and those damned Piper’s so this set
ended up being used for the parade of
Scottish Highlanders it’s here where
Peter O’Toole popped in for a quick
cameo and was given a case of champagne
by Feldman for his contribution
Robert Parish lasted two weeks on the
film before he split with sellers now
gone his James Bond clumsily leaves the
film apparently they were able to shoot
some of bonds torture at the hands of
the chief before sellers had split and
they just slapped it together as best
they could it’s pretty horrible and it
gets even stupider when Ursula Andress
just shoots sellers that was their
solution
I guess the filmmakers were just backed
into a corner and had to be content with
this end to his story this is why I wish
they just had a documentary crew on this
set when all this stuff was going down
right major when are you coming back to
this set
wouldn’t you like to know Lena’s went
way way behind schedule yeah I would I
would have loved to seen the discussions
about how they were trying to save this
film now in somewhat of a pickle with
losing his lead star Feldman began
rewrites on the script drastically
altering the storyline and construction
began building new sets at Pinewood and
Elstree Studios in variety at March 2nd
1966 Feldman was quoted as saying our
concept for this film includes not only
multiple stars but also multiple
directors
I have to say one thing about Feldman he
really tried his best in keeping a
positive attitude in the public about
all this it was really trying to sell
this film it’s kind of hard to believe
but some scenes actually didn’t make the
final cut of this film I don’t know why
considering the film never seems to care
about any kind of logic or pacing or its
length they might as well just crammed
every piece of footage that was shot
into this after a spaceship lands and
kidnaps Mada
Niven wraps things up by confronting his
nephew Jimmy bond Woody Allen is
definitely my favorite James Bond in
this flick he does his patented neurotic
character he actually has some pretty
good lines and he comes off funnier than
anyone else oh and Dahlia la vie she
looked great naked under those metal
clamps
why don’t you end up me yes yes I will
he’ll unlock you immediately and we’ll
run him back oh thank you if you’re too
tired we walk among hey we haven’t heard
anything about Jacqueline pizzettes
experience on Casino Royale
she was a young and up-and-coming
actress landed a role in a big Hollywood
film she must have been happy to be
there in 2001 she took a moment to
reflect on her career and talked about
her worst ever leading man Peter Sellars
Peter Sellars was horrible to work with
my first big role was Casino Royale and
I was supposed to enter the bathroom in
a night gown with a big bottle of
champagne suggestively cradled in my
arms trying to seduce James Bond as a
sick joke sellers turned and fired a gun
directly into my face there was a blank
in the gun and the burning gunpowder and
shreds of the blank hit me directly in
the face first I thought I had actually
been shot and when I realized it had
been a blank I thought I had been
blinded my face looked like a shower
spout of pinpricks leaking blood
everyone on the set could see that I
dozens of tiny wounds of course I
dropped the bottle of champagne in my
foot as well after that she
is understandably panicked whenever she
had to do any filming with sellers join
the Casino Royale on movement you know I
love Peter Sellers he was extremely
talented and did some really funny and
great roles but he seemed like he was an
absolute nightmare to work with
I guess he was somehow unbalanced in
some way his behavior might have been
worth putting up with for certain films
and roles but here it doesn’t look like
the trade-off was anywhere near worth
the aggravation
I mean he’s being paid an astronomical
fee but he doesn’t want to be funny he
barely shows up to the set and when he
does he just creates tension and drama
he doesn’t get along with his co-stars
or director or the producer why even
bother hiring him it’s like bringing a
rocking chair to the beach what’s the
point
Orson Welles wasn’t in the best of
health
mostly due to his weight he could
perform only one short take under the
hot studio lights after which he had to
shower and change
Casino Royale managed to garner some
honors burt bacharach song the look of
love written for the movie was nominated
for an Oscar Feldman had tried to cut it
from the film because it wasn’t funny
I never heard anything about Niven and
Andres during all this I guess they just
kept their heads down and tried to get
through this craziness as best they
could I wonder what the problems were
with the catering service how else can
you end this movie but with a huge
barroom casino brawl with cowboys and
Indians bubbles and fireworks look there
are some seals a monkey George Raft
William Holden gold girls before the
casino blows up and everyone dies the
end what a knee-slapper huh oh yeah did
I mention Feldman suffered a heart
attack during production he blamed it on
sellers this is not a good movie
although there are some positives I
always found in this crazy film you can
see all that money from the huge budget
spent on some of these sets these German
school the massive casino all those
far-out rooms that Niven is running down
and the hideout of SMERSH a lot of it
looks pretty impressive but it doesn’t
amount to anything it’s great that they
have all these over-the-top expensive
sets to have the actor stand in but if
they’re not doing anything interesting
or funny they’re all pointless it’s
weird when I watch this film now after
all those Austin Power movies those
films seem to be inspired by Casino
Royale as much as the real James Bond
flicks maybe even more so
the music is all pretty catchy
Burt baccarat Herve Albert and the
Tijuana brass they’re all good tunes is
the one thing from this film that I
consistently go back to it’s a great
time capsule of the period with all that
stuff those acid induced series of
colorful frolics with psychedelic images
and kicky music can you dig it
and the women Wow
there are plenty of gorgeous sixties
chicks showing up throughout the film
they have the groovy dresses the
hairstyles the makeup I certainly don’t
mind looking at them they look great
other than that the film is a mess and
is never as funny as it thinks it is
despite it how hard it’s trying on fans
might find it amusing seeing a few Bond
actors from Bond films pop up but for me
I find it more fascinating to see bond
alumni show up in the cheaper Bond
knockoffs during this period with the
budget this film had I’m surprised they
couldn’t Shanghai more cameos from Bond
villains and girls into it the stories
behind Casino Royale is what makes it
such a fascinating film from a
the filming of Francis Ford Coppola
Apocalypse Now might have been nuts but
I think Casino Royale really rivals it
as one of the most tumultuous movie
productions ever at least Apocalypse
resulted in a good film
all this chaos might have seemed worth
it if it created a great or even good
movie but it didn’t all the troubles
that were going on behind the scenes
really show in the film at least when
watching it you start wondering what’s
going on with this movie I think the
only thing that was kind of smart was
them just giving up trying to tell a
coherent story just surrendering to the
riot that this film was being made in
and accepting that it will just be a
strange psychedelic movie let’s do it
that way
that would seem easier to pull off than
trying to make it a straightforward
narrative film out of this confusion but
it makes the biggest cardinal sin for
comedy with me it’s just not funny
Feldman might have been a great likeable
talent agent and a good publicist in his
day but as a film producer at least for
Casino Royale he was a disaster it
seemed like he simply followed the
kitchen sink philosophy even when
problems arose his solutions were more
and bigger more directors more writers
more actors bigger sets bigger budget
all of that resulted in was just more
and bigger troubles plus it didn’t help
the film be any better
that’s the thing that always irritated
me probably the best Fleming Bond novel
I can’t help but think what could have
been what could have happened if Ian’s
films held the rights to Casino Royale
and adapted it during the Bond series
early years it might have been one of
the greatest Bond films ever instead it
was made into this
I’m sure broccoli and Saltzman could
have done better in the end Casino
Royale did make money it ended up being
the 13th highest grossing movie in 1967
five slots behind you Only Live Twice
I suspect the business it did was more
attributed to the James Bond name rather
than the actual film itself though
Casino Royale was the final film feldman
produced he died in 1968 the 60 spy
craze started to die down the bond
knockoffs and imitators gradually
started to disappear
the real Bond films would continue to be
popular but the copycat spy films that
grew out of the Bond craze soon became a
short-term fad and most were forgotten
now looking at Casino Royale today it’s
become a curiosity an example of a film
production out of control with just a
Bond title that really isn’t that good
although it does have a lot of hot
chicks in it and I’m serious someone
should really get a docudrama made about
the making of this flick I think it
could be great in 1999 after decades of
Casino Royale being that elusive title
for bond producers it finally made its
way into their hands this would set the
stage for 2006 is official adaptation of
Casino Royale whoa wait a minute just
because the movie was finished and
premiered the madness didn’t stop
on May 6 1967 the sacks at Boyd theatre
in Boston Massachusetts had a Casino
Royale movie promotion where anyone
dressed in a James Bond spy type of
trenchcoat would be admitted free to see
the film at a 4:00 a.m. screening about
10,000 college-age newb showed up and
all hell broke loose the theater
obviously can fit them all in so the
thousands that were refused admission
decide to tear apart the street break a
lot of windows and since they had
nothing better to do in those early
morning hours to get in some looting
while the police tried to control our
dejected Bond fans outside inside the
theater wasn’t much calmer the crowd was
so worked up they weren’t in much of a
mood to watch a movie I guess the
projection has kept the movie running
despite the chaotic behavior of the
audience it was fighting in the aisles a
couple seats caught fire and a broken
fire hose that was flailing out of
control soaking in the audience
afterwards when the smoke cleared the
general manager of SAC theatres was
quoted as saying under no condition will
there be another preview of this type by
any sac theatre I never dreamed that
this situation would have resulted
that’s kind of a fitting end to the
story of Casino Royale
don’t you think join the Casino Royale
fan movement

41 comments

  1. Never saw this James Bond flick. I'm confused now, having seen this review. Should I see it or not? Some scenes really do look shiny. But I guess without a real story and the movie being a mess as you explained, it isn't much worth it. Perhaps I should just watch it to see those gorgeous 60's chicks :).

  2. ive watched all your reviews and in my opinion this is your best cause like you said the behind the scenes stuff is more interesting than the movie itself.Well done loved it keep up the great work.

  3. So many interesting ideas that had they focused on just one or two and tried to make them funny…. this could have been a funny film. I'm not a fan of Woody Allen, but his stuff was was okay in this movie. (Compared to the rest I guess?) I thought the idea that James Bond was some sort of puritan and he needed to be corrupted was a funny 'idea' but the execution was horrible. Making all agents "James Bond 007" is crazy and might have worked in your idea for an anthology film. They didn't do that either.
    It's a big ole mess where the funniest joke I remember was that cameo by Peter O'Toole.

  4. Oh, and where's that older Peter Sellers stuff from? Where he seems to be making fun of himself for this movie… or other movies?

  5. As odd as the movie was, I had to keep re-watching it because I kept falling asleep. I bought it because I like what Sellers does in some of his roles, but his biography movie staring Rush, shows how interesting but kind of unhinged Sellers was. Specially around the filming of this movie. The want to be more of an actor than just a funny man seemed to make him nutty. The rest of the film is just so odd. An anthology would've made it more interesting. Some actors seemed to try but as far as comedy goes, should've just let Woody Allen write most of it.

  6. I was watching this film yesterday. Loved the music, loved some of the sequences, but what a horrible mess. Nothing goes together. Did you miss Darth Vader in this? (He was playing Frankie)

  7. I remember Daniel Craig appearing on the David Letterman show to promote Casino Royale and the band played the 1967 movie theme tune as he entered the studio, I guess they did it as a joke but Craig threw the band a mildly bemused annoyed look hehe. So this is a great review you have done here, very informative. I think the official Bond producers had tried to hire Orson Welles to play Goldfinger but his price was too high for them and they hired Gert Frobe instead, but ironically Gert Frobe's agent exploited a clause in his contract to ring more money out of the producers, which meant that Frobe ended up getting paid more than what Welles had asked for, I think Welles would have been good as a straight Bond villain. As for Peter Sellers, I've read some biographies of him, he sounded mentally ill….seriously, his behaviour was just crazy and would not be tolerated in todays day and age of film making,being a diva is one thing but I think unprofessional behaviour on a film set is just not possible now regardless of how much money your last film made. Sellers just jumped ship on Casino Royale and didn't care, as you point out he would just not bother to turn up for filming for weeks on end and eventually didn't bother to come back at all, really and truly Im amazed he got asked back to do any kind of film after that but his career did decline drastically after Casino Royale, I think the word was out on him, he made "The Party" in 1968 and after that he relied on those awful 1970s Pink Panther films for his income, by 1970 onwards his star status had waned considerably.

  8. The rights to Casino Royale finally made it back to MGM in a lawsuit settlement between Sony (which had acquired the Columbia/CBS catalogue back in the eighties) and MGM in 1999. Sony traded Casino for MGM's partial rights to Spiderman. This was right around the time when 'Die Another Day' was in pre-production and it was evident that the franchise needed a reboot. I worked at one of the other large publishers at the time and we were keeping an eye on this in case the deal went south.

    The whole Thunderball episode is just as screwy of a story as this deal.

  9. I think maybe the directors after a while told sellers to do stuff but not tell him they were filming

  10. My father was assistant director on this film and has a photograph with David Niven both looking up at a tree. Niven wrote on the photo "Somewhere up there Roy is the script!!" It was legendary chaotic. Incidentally the Tartan used in the castle scenes is the Baird tartan after our surname which Roy arranged. Most of the crew had a blast working on it from what I was told. Thanks for this brilliant review of what must be the worst film ever made!

  11. Connery by that time would ask for a flat fee and a percentage of the box office takings from around the world, he is one of the first actors to do this and that is your missing link by the time he came back to do diamonds are forever he got $2 million and a percentage of the box office fees this is where Connery differs from the rest of the bonds he was a smart business man

  12. This sounds like it was created by the federal government. Congressmen are great at spending a lot of money and not doing anything!

  13. Brilliant review man. I first saw Casino Royale about 30 years ago and still love it, even though it is an awful film!

  14. Technicolor, Widescreen, Stellar Cast (including the 60's Sexy Birds!), World Class Soundtrack! The abstract Zaniness just makes this movie.. LOVE IT.

  15. I remember reading somewhere that Terence Cooper was hired as a replacement for when Peter Sellers left or was fired. My guess is that Sellers never filmed his briefing scenes with Niven, and the scene of Niven congratulating Cooper as the new 007 was originally intended for Sellers' character. This might explain why Cooper's character disappears for almost the entirety of the film only to reappear during the final part of the film.

  16. Fascinating insights, great documentary – well done! Director Joseph McGrath has just recorded a fascinating interview with James Bond Radio sharing more of his memories from working on Casino Royale '67 and the chaos that surrounded it all! Thought I'd add a link to it here as it really compliments your excellent review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6gvkTcb-N4

  17. Great review …. Casino Royale, Modesty Blaise , in like flint , Matt Helm , some Man from uncle … they all tried to be camp and surreal and failed miserably …

  18. Movie is diamond and score is the best of all Bond Movies. The whole thing feels like the battle at the end of Blazing Saddles.

  19. i seem to recall a scene where roger moore was being solicited in this one, making his morning coffe witha lapavoni espresso machine…

  20. The introduction trailer at the beginning was beautifully put together, much better than the official one. It really shows off the charm and strengths of this hot mess of a movie, which IMO is still very entertaining.

  21. American women used to be so pretty and feminine. Today, American women are manly, overweight, and very unfeminine. They are like men nowadays. This movie was bad, but I love seeing how pretty and girly American women used to be.

  22. I don't know what's the funnier story: Welles being so overweight and sweat so much he had to shower and change after every take or Sellers being such a nightmare he gave Feldman a heart attack.

    Speaking of Feldman, it's hard to believe this dude got an Oscar nomination for "A Streetcar Named Desire".

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