Digging Double Oh Seven: Casino Royale (1966)

The title of this post isn’t entirely accurate because, simply speaking, I didn’t enjoy this version of Casino Royale. It’s not because it’s a satire on the Bond franchise or because it strays almost completely from Ian Fleming’s original story, but because it’s just too long and boring. The idea is that the Bond we’ve seen in films is actually a replacement for the real James Bond 007 as played by a sometimes stuttering David Niven. M gets killed, Bond takes over and then, well, he meets the daughter he had with real-life spy Mata Hari and decides to name every spy in the movie James Bond and, ugh, a bunch of other shit happens. With all the focus shifts it was hard to keep up with the movie while also getting work done, plus, I didn’t find the movie all too funny, so that wasn’t drawing me in. For what it’s worth, I like most British comedy. I’m down with Monty Python and Benny Hill, but I’ve never been able to get through a Pink Panther movie, they just don’t rub me the right way.

If you’re curious how this movie got made in the middle of Bond hysteria coming out the same after You Only Live Twice (even though it was finished in 1966 it didn’t come out until 1967) and before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it’s basically a rites issue. Way back when Fleming sold the movie rights to Casino Royale, it bounced around for a while and eventually wound up in the hands of some folks who tried to go after Sean Connery, but didn’t want to pay his high fees and wound up being a comedy. So there you go.

The movie does boast plenty of stars to look out for like Woody Allen, Orson Wells and the gorgeous Ursula Andress and plenty of beautiful women to look at, but that’s not enough to keep me interested. This movie is like 007 pounds of crap in a 001 pound bag. There’s just too much going on without enough payoff for me. On to the next one…

 

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