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

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