Casino Royale, After the death of M, Sir James Bond is called back out of retirement to stop SMERSH. In order to trick SMERSH and Le Chiffre, Bond thinks up the ultimate plan. That every agent will be named James Bond. One of the Bonds, whose real name is Evelyn Tremble is sent to take on Le Chiffre in a game of baccarat, but all the Bonds get more than they can handle.
Great giggly nostalgia from stellar cast
Casino Royale, I can’t believe how many people have posted such negative comments about this film – those who try to compare it with the serious Bond series are as witless as those who find the plot too complicated for their tiny little minds. I saw this first when I was about 12 years old, and it seemed clear enough to me then – there are some baddies, and the goodies have to stop them. With some gags and lots of style.
OK maybe with maturity I can see it has dated a little, some scenes may drag a bit and a few people may be offended by the sixties outlook on life, but hey what do you expect from a sixties film? What it boils down to is a series of comic vignettes featuring just about every famous face in the movies at the time, bringing Sellers and Niven together again after the first Pink Panther movie, which practically founded the whole crazy sixties anything-goes genre, of which this is the pinnacle and epitome. Set to some fabulous tunes and on a collection of extraordinary sets, dozens of master mirth makers perform a loopy little dance around the plot of Fleming’s novel (this film actually contains a lot more of the novel it is named after than most of the “proper” Bond series). Some of the faces only feature for a few moments (Peter O’Toole’s part is tiny, for one), others, like Sellers, Allen, Niven, and Welles, do enough to create truly memorable characters despite the frantic pace of much of the film (I still cannot think of Welles’ face without those scary shades). Sellers does his multi-talented thing, as usual, Niven plays Bond to a tee as the quintessential unflappable Englishman (his screen persona provided much of the inspiration when Fleming created Bond), and Allen plays his nervy, sex-mad little stereotype as well as in any of his own films.
I can see that this will not appeal to some people, but anyone who can lighten up, enjoy a little silliness and appreciate that 60s sense of humour will find this a hilarious jaunt round the spy genre. If you do like it, check the other installments in this classic period for Sellers – What’s New Pussycat, After the Fox, the Wrong Box, and of course, the awesome Magic Christian. Beats the pants off yer Austin Powers any day of the week.