Ever wondered how the much hyped Casino royale fame Daniel craig would look alike in a 1967 make of casino royale?
A 1967 movie review by GRAEM CLARK
Director: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Joseph McGrath
Stars: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet, Orson Welles, Daliah Lavi, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, Barbara Bouchet, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, Terence Cooper, Jacqueline Bisset, Ronnie Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Kurt Kasznar
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction
Rating: 5 (from 2 votes)
Review: The secret services of nations from around the world are fighting a losing battle against the evil organisation of SMERSH, and try to coax veteran spy James Bond (David Niven) out of retirement to help. Bond suggests that all secret agents, including the women, be named James Bond to fool the enemy, and a Baccarat expert (Peter Sellers) is recruited to put a spanner in the works of SMERSH’s scheme to take over the world…
This profligate, extravagant fantasy was based on Ian Fleming’s novel – well, they kept the title – and was scripted by Wolf Mankowitz, John Law and Michael Sayers. At the time it was intended as an expensive send-up of all things Bond, but ended up as a notorious mess with all of its talents pulling in different directions.
It certainly has the recognisable elements of a sixties Bond adventure, with its beautiful women, pervasive villains, plentiful gadgets and quips. But its humour is self-consciously wacky and heavy handed and the action seems to abide by the rule “If in doubt, blow it up”. The lengths the production goes to impress you are overwhelming: for example, one scene has a flying saucer landing in Trafalgar Square to kidnap Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet) – the daughter of Bond and Mata Hari. Any other spy film would been satisified with having her bundled into the back of a car.
The jokes will make you groan, and the innuendo has no zing. On the other hand, novelty value is strong, whether it’s seeing Deborah Kerr making a fool of herself, the strange fixation with Scotland, the car chase featuring a deadly milkfloat or the odd psychedelic interlude. In stuffing everything they can think of in to the mix, we even get Sellers doing his comedy Indian accent and Orson Welles performing magic tricks.
As Casino Royale draws on, the plot becomes increasingly difficult to follow the more twists, new characters and set pieces are thrown up. The ending, where one incidental character turns out to be behind the mayhem, barely makes an effort to tie up all the loose ends. The funniest aspect is Woody Allen’s contribution, which sounds as if he wrote many of his lines himself (“So long, suckers!”), and the best sequence is where Mata infiltrates the Berlin training school for female spies – that set design is superb.
As an example of sixties mega-budget excess, Casino Royale is hard to beat, although it can also be hard to sit through. But it’s more fun than some of Roger Moore’s Bond movies. Huge cast includes George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Peter O’Toole, Angela Scoular, Alexandra Bastedo, Derek Nimmo, Geoffrey Bayldon as Q, Richard Wattis, John Wells, Chic Murray, Dave Prowse as the Frankenstein Monster, Burt Kwouk and John Le Mesurier. Also directed by Robert Parrish. The memorable music is by Burt Bacharach, including “The Look of Love”, sung by Dusty Springfield, and the seriously catchy theme tune performed by Herb Alpert.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark