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%


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?


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.


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

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