HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Why Don't You Just Die!
Cranes are Flying, The
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Casino Royale I-Spy
Year: 1967
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 FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 3 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. Now when you mention Casino Royale the film which springs to mind is the Daniel Craig debut in the James Bond role, but for diehard fans of sixties kitsch it is this parody which will be, if not the definitive version, then at least the one which holds a place in their cult movie fans' heart. 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.

Now thought of, if at all, as one of the biggest flops of its day, financially nothing could be further from the truth: the fact that they could use the Bond name combined with the world's appetite for all things 007 meant it was one of the year's biggest moneymakers. It certainly has the recognisable elements of a sixties Bond adventure, with its beautiful women, pervasive villains, plentiful gadgets and quips, and watching it in light of the Craig "remake" you can identify the occasional nod to the original novel (watch out for the carpet beater, an apparent visual non sequitur yet there for good reason).

However, it might be eye-poppingly bright and colourful 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", which may have been ahead of its time but grows repetitive if that's the best punchline they could come up with. That said, the budget was all up there on the screen as 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 satisfied 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 (probably due to a fascination with the obviously absent Sean Connery), the car chase featuring a deadly milkfloat or the odd psychedelic interlude. In stuffing everything they can think of into the mix, we even get Sellers doing his comedy Indian accent and Orson Welles (as supposed head bad guy Le Chifre) performing magic tricks, apparently the only way the producers could secure his services. That cast was really something to behold, not only because they hired as many of the most beautiful women available for decorative purposes, with Ursula Andress notable as one actress to play two Bond Girls and Barbara Bouchet as the most glamorous Miss Moneypenny imaginable.

As Casino Royale draws on, the plot becomes increasingly difficult to follow the more twists, new characters and set pieces are thrown up, so not even reading the source novel will help you in fathoming why any of the plot was happening, with 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 is more fun than some of Roger Moore's Bond movies. That 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

 

This review has been viewed 19275 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Val Guest  (1912 - 2006)

British writer, director and producer, best known for his science fiction films, who started on the stage, graduated to film scriptwriting (Will Hay comedies such as Oh! Mr Porter are among his credits) in the 1930s, and before long was directing in the 1940s. He will be best remembered for a string of innovative, intelligent science fiction movies starting with The Quatermass Xperiment, then sequel Quatermass II, The Abominable Snowman and minor classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

He also made Frankie Howerd comedy The Runaway Bus, Cliff Richard musical Expresso Bongo, some of Casino Royale, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, 1970s sex comedies Au Pair Girls and Confessions of a Window Cleaner, and his last film, the Cannon and Ball-starring The Boys in Blue.

Joseph McGrath  (1930 - )

Scottish director of film and TV comedy who debuted as one of four directors on the chaotic James Bond spoof Casino Royale. The Terry Southern-penned Magic Christian was a bizarre comedy whose cast included Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, while 1973's Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World is a much-loved kids favourite. McGrath also helmed The Great McGonagall, another oddball Milligan comedy, and big screen version of Rising Damp.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: