In the latest issue, Cinema Retro magazine looks back to the 1967 "spoof" production of Casino Royale. MI6 has a sneak peek..

Cinema Retro Remembers Casino Royale '67
16th October 2006

Cinema Retro magazine, which is published by James Bond experts and authors Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall, have examined the fascinating history of Casino Royale in their latest issue (#6). The magazine, which is dedicated to the classic and cult movies of the 1960s and 1970s, boasts a rare glamour cover photo of Jacqueline Bisset, who played Miss Goodthighs in the film. Highlights of the issue include:

  • Exclusive interview with American actor Barry Nelson, who played Bond for the first time on screen in the 1954 CBS TV adaptation of the novel.
  • An in-depth look at the controversial 1967 big screen comedy version of the story which became legendary for it’s out-of-control budget and an eclectic, all-star cast
  • Deleted sequences from the film and never-before-published photos
  • Exclusive columns by Barbara Bouchet and Caroline Munro, who recall working on the film.
  • A listing of actors who appeared in the 1967 version of Casino Royale as well as in official Eon Productions Bond movies

Much of the research and writing for the Casino Royale piece was due to the efforts of authors Gareth Owen (The Pinewood Story) and Tim Greaves (The Bond Women: 007 Style and contributing editor to Bond Girls Are Forever) According to Dave Worrall, he and Lee Pfeiffer have always been interested in presenting the fascinating stories behind the Casino Royale legend but were not able to incorporate them into their best-selling book, The Essential James Bond. Worrall explains, “There had been legal concerns at the time that prohibited us from covering Casino Royale and the other “renegade” Bond production Never Say Never Again because they had been produced outside the Eon banner. Thus, we could only cover them in a superficial way at the time, although Eon ultimately got the rights to these films as well. With this issue of Cinema Retro, we’ve tried to put the 1967 production of Casino Royale in its proper context within the world of James Bond.”

Above: Pete Sellers in the 1967 "spoof" production of Casino Royale

For most fans, the film represents a wasted opportunity to transfer Fleming’s first Bond novel to the screen in proper fashion. It was the one Fleming novel that Eon did not control the screen rights for. Producer Charles K. Feldman, who had the screen rights, decided he couldn’t compete by making a “serious” Bond film, so he decided to turn the story into a madcap, mega-budget spy spoof incorporating the talents of everyone from Orson Welles to Woody Allen. By the time it went into production, Casino Royale was already over-budget and in big trouble. Multiple directors were filming but not in conjunction with each other. As the film spiraled out of control, Feldman used stages on most of the major British studios. Cast members quit the production, as no end had been in sight and in one major gaffe, Feldman fired the movie’s star Peter Sellers despite the fact that Sellers still had to film pivotal sequences.

Above: Ursual Andress played Vesper Lynd/007


Still, Casino Royale its defenders – among them, Lee Pfeiffer who says, “Worrall and I have long argued over the merits of this film. He thinks it’s a colossal waste of time and talent. God knows how many pints went down in futile debates in pubs over this admittedly crazy movie."

"I freely admit it’s a tragic treatment of a great Fleming novel, but there is much to recommend. The film has magnificent production design, a great score by Burt Bacharach and some wonderful comedic vignettes by legendary stars. The fact that none of it makes sense doesn’t bother me much because it’s glorious eye candy. I suspect that if the day ever comes when it does make sense, it’s time to enter a mental health facility.”

According to Pfeiffer, the most surprising aspect of putting the issue together was the revelation that Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson had been asked by Charles K. Feldman to direct one of the segments of Casino Royale. “I had been interviewing Cliff for another article in our magazine when he told me this anecdote he had never related before. I almost fell over.” Robertson relates the surprising details in an interview excerpt in this issue of Cinema Retro.

Above: Joanna Pettet played Mata Bond

Cinema Retro is entering its third year of publication. For Worrall and Pfeiffer, the experience has been a rewarding one. “Many prominent people in the film world now subscribe and contribute”, says Worrall. “It’s an honour to have the participation of so man legendary actors and filmmakers.” The duo also manages to juggle other ventures in between issues. They were contributing writers to the newly-released The Art of James Bond book, which had been in production for a number of years. “The author, Laurent Bouzereau, did a fine job with getting insights and comments from prominent filmmakers about the legend of James Bond”, says Worrall. “Lee and I were engaged to provide the extensive photo captions for the book. It looks great and I think even hard-core Bond fans will find many photos they haven’t seen before.”

Issue #6 of Cinema Retro also features:

  • Exclusive interviews with William Shatner, Michael York and Jeremy Slate
  • A look at the history of ITC, which made Danger Man and The Persuaders among other classics
  • Raymond Benson’s top ten films of 1965
  • Part IV of the film diary of famed stunt director Vic Armstrong
  • Eli Wallach’s tribute at the National Film Theatre
  • Tributes to Norman Wisdom, Elvis Presley and Superman star George Reeves
  • The snafu that has prevented The Man From UNCLE from being released on DVD
  • Actor Joseph Sirola recalls filming Clint Eastwood’s Hang ‘Em High

To order the magazine or to subscribe, visit

All images and text courtesy CinemaRetro. Casino Royale (1967) stills copyright Columbia Pictures Corporation