Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overlooked Movies: Casino Royale (1967)

You don't hear much about this James Bond movie in all the celebration that's going on because of the 50th anniversary the beginning of the film series.  I don't know the whole story behind the film, but apparently the makers of the other movies didn't own the rights to the novel version of Casino Royale.  So in 1967 we got the goofiest Bond movie of all time.

Many directors and writers, both credited and uncredited, worked on the movie.  It's sort of as if they tossed the book into a blender, put the parts together at random, and tried to make a spoof of the other James Bond film.  David Niven, as Bond, becomes head of MI6, and to fool SMERSH, he names all the other agents James Bond.  See the trailer above for the results.  Yes, even Woody Allen and Ursula Andress.  To try to describe the plot wouldn't do much good. 

The best thing about it might be the theme, maybe my favorite Bond theme of all, even if it's not official.  The movie, though, is a mess.  It's an entertaining mess at times, but the times are few.

12 comments:

  1. Even the cast is a strange assortment.

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  2. I always liked the Herb Albert theme myself, if not particularly crazy about the movie.

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  3. Even before I read your review, I said to myself, well, the best thing about the movie is the theme. I watched the movie a few years ago on TCM--it's a mess--although it does include the beautiful song "The Look of Love," so that's a plus.

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  4. Frankly, it holds up better than some of the "legit" Bond films. Though more as a curio of what was fashionable in film at the time than much else.

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  5. The interplay between Sellers and Andress, and Welles, if better scripted, could've been genuinely good.

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  6. I remember reading that Welles and Sellers had real problems with each other on the set.

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  7. I have a friend who insists that this is the best film ever made, against which all others should be measured - me, it drives me a bit nuts because of the sheer waste of such talent. But the music and songs are great!

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  8. Bill, "The Look of Love" as sung by Dusty Springfield is the best piece of music in a Bond movie ever by a very wide margin. In fact, it is one of the best pieces of music in any movie full stop.

    And as Todd pointed out, the "legit" Bond movies are not really that good. It was all about Connery's incredible screen presence, a handful of great villains (Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, and above all Gert Fröbe) and only in the case of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, a clever plot.

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  9. Agree about Dusty Springfield's song. Judging Bond movies by the music would put this one at #1.

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  10. There are parts of this movie I like a lot and parts that just don't work at all, not surprising considering how it was made. I'll echo the other comments about the music. I can listen to the theme all day. I remember buying the TJB album that included it and playing it until the grooves wore out, as the old saying goes.

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  11. And here's some more Dusty for you. And after that, there's some undistinuished crap. Whatever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW_kMtut25M

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  12. This is actually my favorite Bond film.

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