Bonding with Bond, Day 5: Casino Royale (1967)

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | October 25, 2008 | Comments

On Day 5, I watched the “original” Casino Royale, one of the unofficial Bond movies. Read below to see what I thought of the spoof.


Casino Royale (1967) 26%

CasinoRoyaleTitle

Even before I began watching Casino Royale, I wondered to myself how I would make it relevant to the Bond canon as a whole, being that it’s not really a Bond movie in the traditional sense. At the same time, it suddenly occurred to me that I had assumed most contemporary audiences were incapable of spotting the inherent absurdity of these movies, which I now see as someone far removed from the era. Casino Royale showed me that, even back then, there were more than a few people who stopped to guffaw or scratch their heads during a Bond film, which basically reduced 007’s wild tales to something like the delusional ramblings of Baron Munchausen.

I thought the way they set up this film was pretty clever. The “original” James Bond, played by David Niven, is retired and living in a sprawling mansion surrounded by lions. He is visited by M and three other international spy representatives who have come to pull him out of retirement, because their existing agents are either dead or missing. Bond’s reply, at first, is simply to criticize the “current” 007 (i.e. Connery’s interpretation) for being a shameless womanizer who relies on ridiculous gadgets and leaves mass destruction in his wake. I happened to notice this telling scene took place at the 0:07 mark. Strategic timing, or mere coincidence?


CasinoRoyaleNiven

That’s the only direct reference to the earlier Bond films that I can recall in Casino Royale, but the comedy is littered with subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to recurring Bond themes and plot conventions. The beautiful women (and yes, even here, they are all gorgeous), the amazing toys of Q branch, the nonsensical plot for world domination are all present, and stretched by hyperbole to an extent that only a spoof movie can. It almost worked for me, but some of the scenes are just so loony that they feel forced and unnecessary. I mean, early on, the movie is actually kind of intriguing, but in the end, everything devolves into an orgy of cowboys, seals, bubbles, Frankenstein’s monster, and Woody Allen belching animated clouds of gas. When a UFO resembling something out of Centipede showed up, I decided it was too much, even for me.

Now, let’s talk about the star power involved here. David Niven, of course, plays the original James Bond who trains up a handful of new 007s, one of whom is Peter Sellers. Throw in a young Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, John Huston as M, and cameos from the likes of Peter O’Toole and Jean Paul Belmondo, among others, and all I have to say is wow! Part of me felt like their involvement in the project was their way of saying, “I can’t believe you people buy into this crap.” Even Ursula Andress shows up in a prominent role as a smarter, less Nell-like Bond girl, so to speak, almost as if she wanted to prove she wasn’t really the idiot she portrayed as Honey Ryder in Dr. No.


CasinoRoyaleAndress

I’ve never really been a huge fan of parodies like this, but there’s something a little classier about the older ones. Yes, Casino Royale did occasionally stumble into “unwatchable” territory for me, but when the jokes were based in clever, witty dialogue, as opposed to ineffective slapstick, I thought they worked pretty well. It was never bladder-busting, but it wasn’t terrible either. Frankly, I was enjoying the normal Bond films so much that I’m actually looking forward to leaving this behind and moving on to You Only Live Twice.

Favorite line: “I’m beginning to think you’re a trifle neurotic.” Peter Sellers, master of the obvious, says this to Woody Allen.

Favorite moment: At one point, a lackey standing in a telephone booth located on the western side of the Berlin Wall is blown to bits, taking a portion of the wall with him. Immediately dozens of East German refugees come pouring through the gap.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

sports NBC Heroines Emmy Nominations comiccon kids Captain marvel Martial Arts The Arrangement FXX Film Animation series game of thrones DC streaming service cinemax A&E composers stand-up comedy 2019 SDCC Arrowverse CW Seed President spanish language CBS ABC Lionsgate RT21 Amazon doctor who Quiz Tomatazos FX Fox News disaster Walt Disney Pictures CNN DC Universe BBC America miniseries Elton John Winners binge ABC Family zero dark thirty El Rey Reality Competition Superheroe crime drama psycho Interview Tarantino Mary Poppins Returns what to watch PBS true crime The Witch Ovation HBO Musicals vampires Infographic 71st Emmy Awards Women's History Month Mindy Kaling Trailer tv talk dc Rocketman YouTube Premium Family Showtime period drama Ghostbusters Shudder dramedy BBC award winner adaptation Masterpiece Certified Fresh Red Carpet National Geographic Year in Review boxoffice X-Men Cartoon Network Sundance Pride Month mockumentary Chilling Adventures of Sabrina SXSW YA Anna Paquin Awards cars BET Awards Tour USA docudrama Mary poppins Toys travel Summer mutant toy story foreign unscripted FOX CMT Freeform TV Rom-Com natural history TCM VH1 space Thanksgiving Valentine's Day GIFs spider-man casting Winter TV Best and Worst Holidays LGBT TIFF theme song 45 2015 finale Star Trek television Sony Pictures Amazon Prime Election Britbox Comedy Marathons revenge transformers Crackle Mary Tyler Moore animated sitcom New York Comic Con Black Mirror Writers Guild of America dragons AMC south america Disney Channel Nat Geo jamie lee curtis hispanic richard e. Grant Comics on TV Photos Calendar Song of Ice and Fire cops science fiction HBO Max Pirates Horror Rock CBS All Access Reality supernatural IFC Films Ellie Kemper SundanceTV thriller Spring TV Opinion Premiere Dates quibi Stephen King Set visit NYCC TCA 2017 Character Guide E3 harry potter Paramount Biopics Polls and Games Nominations Rocky Film Festival Cannes Hulu Oscars Sundance Now DirecTV Peacock Kids & Family Podcast Starz spain Dark Horse Comics YouTube Red ESPN Shondaland Pet Sematary First Reviews Emmys WarnerMedia Acorn TV American Society of Cinematographers justice league Country 24 frames DGA Pixar Teen hist Spectrum Originals Action anime cults Netflix GoT Mystery Syfy TLC latino crime thriller Fall TV Comedy Central WGN Adult Swim Television Academy RT History Christmas TBS Disney streaming service MSNBC Sci-Fi social media streaming 21st Century Fox Nickelodeon crossover zombie crime spinoff GLAAD psychological thriller Watching Series romance Spike Trivia anthology IFC zombies Star Wars DC Comics festivals medical drama dceu book Trophy Talk teaser Food Network Super Bowl Lifetime Fantasy TruTV children's TV war Epix golden globes police drama 007 Columbia Pictures Universal History cooking Video Games green book diversity elevated horror adventure comic MCU Comic Book E! San Diego Comic-Con VICE MTV Vudu sequel Creative Arts Emmys Musical aliens TCA Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sneak Peek Box Office Esquire witnail USA Network singing competition technology video Paramount Network Warner Bros. blaxploitation Superheroes serial killer nature Extras Tumblr historical drama ghosts Apple 2016 The CW Logo Schedule 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime Video Chernobyl First Look politics cats 2017 ITV strong female leads Western LGBTQ Lucasfilm robots Marvel TV Land TNT Bravo Brie Larson facebook biography discovery Grammys talk show game show Pop ratings political drama Binge Guide OWN Music movies Disney Drama Mudbound based on movie PaleyFest APB spy thriller 2018 See It Skip It Countdown Cosplay