Casino Royale (1967)
Yes, I watched the 1967 Casino Royale spoof with Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. The one were David Nivens is the real James Bond and everyone else is just using his name and code sign. About five minutes in I realized that I tried watching this once before and didn’t get past the twenty minute mark.
I don’t know if I can give a summary of this film. What I already said sort of covers it. Niven’s plays the true James Bond. After he retired they just started letting others use his name to keep the legend going 1. Some weird shenanigans ensue that result in a trip to Scotland and ultimately Bond becomes head of MI6. I think he was at least. At that point he starts developing some weird plans, one of which is to rename everyone James Bond to confuse the enemy. Things just continually go downhill from this point on and the end get’s pretty trippy dippy.
The movie suffers from having no plot. It is entirely chaotic and makes very little sense. From the little I have read, this film was wrought with production issues. It makes sense that with so many people working with the film at different times that things were screwed up. In the end they apparently decided to say screw it and just left everything be, which is why the film is such a mess. It makes the movie hard to follow when nothing really flows together. The movie does actually use some material from Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale. Having read his books and seen the EON version of the novel, I knew when they were actually using that material. That did help to make sense of some parts of the movie.
The movie isn’t all bad. It is very British. The humor, whether it is just very dry or slapstick, felt British. Some of the jokes worked, a lot didn’t, at least not to the extent they probably should have. There weren’t enough truly funny moments to make up for all of the duds.
They did do a pretty good job of spoofing the Bond franchise. It’s actually kind of creepy how well the predicted the franchise would become, mostly by how ludicrous things became with gadgets and story-lines. That and the variations of James Bond himself or the villains and Bond girls. This is what they did right. Unfortunately it is covered by a fairly terrible film.
Really, if they had actually taken the time to edit the film into something coherent, and trimmed all of the excess crap out, the movie would have been better. Maybe not even good, but not the dud it is now. There is no reason this should run over two hours.
And the cast is great. Not anyone’s best, but I mean pretty much everyone is in this movie at some point. Orson Wells is LeChiffre. It’s also cool to see some of the EON Bond cast alumni work on this like Ursula Andress.
If you’re a Bond fan, I would say try watching it. It is hard to get through, but it is still sort of neat. I did a lot of starting and stopping when I watched it, so maybe that’s why I’m not so upset with it. I didn’t really sit and watch the whole thing in one two-hour sitting. I dragged it out by giving myself a bit of a break.