1. CBn Reviews 'Casino Royale' (1967)

    By Devin Zydel on 2006-02-02

    Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of Casino Royale (1967)

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by A Kristatos

    Well, what can I say about this movie? I don’t really know what to say since the plot is so confusing, and I can’t really provide a detailed review! All I know is that this movie is horrid! The point of a movie spoof is to make it funny. I can’t even really gauge how funny this movie is since the plot is incomprehensible! However, I will comment on the few points of the movie that I can actually decipher.

    That someone would even suggest that multiple James Bonds in one movie would be funny is a mystery to me! The ironic thing here is that some posters on this site suggested that Pierce Brosnan could return for this movie as the current Bond. He would then get killed off, only to be replaced by someone else with a different name (Daniel Craig). The new person would then inherit the name of James Bond, thereby keeping the name going for another generation. I get the feeling that the producers of the 1967 version were perhaps going for something of this sort, but being an alternate Bond spoof with no history, that motive would not work at all. Instead, we are treated to an absolute rubbish of a movie!

    The few bright spots of Casino Royale involve the really “shagadelic”, though somewhat repetitive soundtrack by Burt Bacharach, a terrific performance by Orson Welles as the villian Le Chiffre, and the entire cast of Bond girls. All the girls, aside from Ursula Andress and Angela Scoular (past and future Bond girl, respectively) would have made great Bond girls in the official series. Imagine Joanna Pettet as a Bond girl for Connery! Wow!

    Despite these few pluses, many talented actors, funny in their own right, are wasted in this sham of a movie. This movie is the worst Bond of all for me, placing well below any of the official movies, and Never Say Never Again. Not even recommended for hard core Bond fans!

    However, I would recommend the DVD version of this movie, if only for the very intriging 1954 CBS TV version of Casino Royale with Barry Nelson. At least here, one could follow the plot as Fleming would have liked it!

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by DLibrasnow

    Years afer Sean Connery made his debut as 007, the rights to Casino Royale made it into the hands of another movie producer who, convinced that any attempt to make a serious version of Casino Royale would be doomed without the talents of Connery, decided to make the movie as a comedy instead. With Peter Sellers playing James Bond and Orson Welles taking on the role of Le Chiffre everything seemed to be going fine until a script dispute caused Sellers to walk out on the project. Left with half a movie the producers were in trouble and they scrambled to save their production. One needs to understand this background to the movie to understand why it turned out the way it did. In it’s final version it seems truly confused with several actors portraying the role of James Bond and several directors (including John Huston who also cameos as M) taking a crack at it. There is even an early appearance by Woody Allen and former Bond girl Ursula Andress. For me personally, the Peter Sellers scenes are especially brilliant and very funny and Andress is another welcome addition. The zany action comes thick and fast and in addition to Andress there are a number of actors familiar to devotees to the rival EON productions. This movie is truly unique among the Bond canon that offers a glimpse of the 1960s and should be enjoyed as such.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by Genrewriter

    This definitely a product of its time, possibly more garishly 60’s than any other spy film from the period. I’ve actually warmed to ita bit, it’s nowhere near as bad as most people think but it’s still not very good. Peter Sellers gets one or two nice moments but the gambling sequence is almost short circuited by his lapsing into diferent character vouices for no discernibvle reason. It’s just a very self indulgent performance. Everyone else is decent enough with Orson Welles making a pretty decent Le Chiffre. The main fault of the film is that for a comedy it’s just not very funny. Plus, spoofing the James Bond films has always seemed somewhat odd to me, the series has never really taken itself seriously. Certainly not on the level of other genres/sub genres that have been spoofed.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by tdalton

    Quite possibly one of the worst films ever. Being a huge fan of the novel, this movie disappoints on so many levels that it’s really hard to figure out where to start first.

    I had heard people say how bad this film was before watching it, so my perspective was probably a bit biased going into the film, but I had hopes that it at least wouldn’t be as bad as people were saying, but not only was it as bad as everyone had said (some even referred to it as the worst movie ever), but I found it to be even worse. In short, this film makes Die Another Day look like The Godfather.

    The biggest problem with the movie is that it isn’t funny, despite being a “comedy”. I don’t think that I laughed once during the entire film. The beginning drags on forever, and the only saving grace that this film has is the ending escape from Casino Royale, which almost rises up to enter the realm of amateur filmmaking.

    One of the saddest things about this film is that Fleming, at one point, thought that David Niven would make a good James Bond for the cinema. Watching Niven in this horrific film makes me wonder how anyone could see anything Bondian about him.

    In short, the idea to have multiple “James Bond”s running around was one of the dumbest in film history. There is only one James Bond, and having more than one was just an insult to the audience, IMO.

    Sadly, this is the way that this film had to be made and even sadder is the fact that it’s taken almost 40 years since this film to be made into a serious film that follows what Fleming wrote down on the page.

    All-in-all, this is not only THE worst Bond film of them all, but this is right up there with some of the worst movies of all-time.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by Jim

    This review is written by five different people.

    Oh, a paradigm of its time; can there be any more typical a sixties’ film? Whilst its inherent plot flaws… oh bugger off you pretentious twerp; I fink it’s rubbish, and who’s the old bloke playing James Bond, fit birds though; ah, but listen to the music, they just don’t write them like that any more RETURNING TO THE POINT WHO THE HELL THOUGHT OF HAVING A GUARDSMAN RIDE A HORSE INTO A FLYING SAUCER???? Oh, what the Hell, at least it didn’t have an invisible car; the excesses of the more recent films tend to make this look quite sane. One-out-of, two-out-of, three-out-of, four-out-of, five-out-of five.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by Double-Oh Agent

    Where to begin? That’s something the producers needed to think about when they made this movie as well as how to end it and everything in between. I hated this movie the first time I saw it. It wasn’t much better the second and last time I saw it.

    The 1967 Casino Royale version is not very funny, and seven James Bonds? Please. The movie makes absolutely no sense–even for a spoof–and is as disjointed and as idiotic as one might expect from five directors, several writers, a star (Peter Sellers) who quits in the middle of the production, and a producer whose only response to problems is to spend, spend, spend.

    As for what is wrong with this film, I’ll quote M in The Man With The Golden Gun, “The list is endless.” From cowboys and indians on horseback in a casino at the climax to multiple James Bonds to the villain’s inane plot, the film is a disaster, albeit a high-speed, colorful disaster, but that doesn’t absolve it of its many flaws.

    As for the good, well Orson Welles is enjoyable. One wishes he could have portrayed Le Chiffre in a real version of Casino Royale. David Niven is okay but one can never really believe he was actually THE James Bond we all know and love. The girls are beautiful, I’ll give the film that, from Ursula Andress, Dahlia Lavi, Joanna Pettet, Barbara Bouchet, and Jacqueline Bisset as Miss Goodthighs. The latter three in particular I wish had been in a real Bond movie. They’re the best parts of the film for me. Two other things are noteworthy, the film score by Burt Bacharach is fun to listen to–especially the Casino Royale Theme and Dusty Springfield’s “The Look Of Love”–and the poster for the movie featuring a woman with psychadelic tattoos is an eye-catching marvel.

    But despite those things, I would not recommend this film to a semi-Bond fan, only to a hard-core Bond fan for completist and curiosity purposes only. I, for one, can’t wait for EON’s real Casino Royale so I can wipe this version from my memory.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by Qwerty

    Where do I begin? If you want to count all the James Bond 007 films out there, unofficial and official, this one should technically be in the list then. If you’ve never seen the movie, you’re in for a rather bizarre ride. James Bond is played by…well…David Niven and Peter Sellers and Terence Cooper etc… The notion of the film being directed by five different directors (Val Guest, Kenneth Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath and Robert Parrish), with each of them directing a different segment of the storyline equals what one would expect: disconnection and chaos.

    There are some shining spots in the film though. Ursula Andress is always a positive aspect, and her role here–while being completely different from her past one–works well. Orson Welles as Le Chiffre gets limited screentime, but he’s another one of the better characters as well.

    Burt Bacharach’s score is good fun. The main-title definitely tells the viewer that they’re in for something different than the average James Bond film. But the finale…yikes. Chaos is an understatement. There’s cowboys, indians, coin-flipping, guns, casinos, bubbles, hiccups, explosions, James Bond[s], girls, airplanes, clapping seels… On the whole, I do recommend seeing this unofficial James Bond film. Just don’t expect anything normal if you’ve never seen it before.

    ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) by Turn

    What can I say, I enjoy Casino Royale ’67. I’ve noticed a number of people here think it’s a travesty and really dislike it, but taken on it’s own terms it’s a fun bit of ’60s nonsense that I never grow tired of. I’d rather watch this any day over the dire Barry Nelson Casino Royale any time.

    What I think I like about Casino Royale ’67 is it’s such a time capsule of the 1960s in a Bond-influenced world. Who cares that none of it makes any sense? I could say the same thing some of the EON Bonds. Only this one makes no bones about it being goofy, star-studded fluff, whereas certain Bond films want you to accept some comedy sequence followed by a serious moment, or vice versa. There’s always something going on or somebody fun to watch in Casino Royale ’67.

    Think of if they’d try to make a star-studded epic like this today. I guess Ocean’s 11 and 12 are similar. You get to see David Niven, who I think Fleming considered a Bond candidate in the early days. Peters Sellers, Ursula Andress, Woody Allen and ton of other people. It’s also kind of fun to catch the Bond homages in it also. And the music is among the catchiest I’ve heard.

    I know 2001 and Yellow Submarine were two films from that era that people liked to see under the influences of certain substances. I’d bet Casino Royale would also fit in that bill.

    So I am glad to have Casino Royale around just for the weirdness of it all and welcome watching it every now and then.