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"And afterwords we can run amok! Or if you're too tired, we can walk amok." - Jimmy Bond
|Sir James Bond||David Niven|
|Evelyn Tremble||Peter Sellers|
|Vesper Lynd - 007||Ursula Andress|
|Le Chiffre||Orson Welles|
|Jimmy Bond - Dr. Noah||Woody Allen|
|Agent Mimi aka Lady Fiona||Deborah Kerr|
|Mata Bond||Joanna Pettet|
Though this film is not part of the EON Productions official series, a number of compilation albums and CDs of James Bond film music actually often incorporate one or both of two tracks from this film, "The Look of Love" and "Casino Royale", in their collections. The former is one of Burt Bacharach's most remembered and successful tracks.
|Directors||Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, et al|
|Producers||Jerry Bresler, John Dark, Charles K. Feldman|
|Writers||Wolf Mankowitz, John Law, Michael Sayers et al|
|Running Time||131 minutes|
|US Box Office||$22.7m|
|Worldwide Box Office||$19m|
Sir James: "It's depressing that the words 'secret agent' have become synonymous with 'sex maniac.'"
|USA||28 April 1967|
|UK||13 April 1967|
|Australia||8 September 1967|
|Denmark||21 December 1967|
|France||22 December 1967|
|Turkey||1 April 1969|
|Spain||11 December 1977|
Respected Hollywood producer Charles K. Feldman had recently acquired the rights to the Ian Fleming novel "Casino Royale" and its source material and had initially approached the producers at EON Productions in order to collaborate on an 'official' version of the debut 007 story. However, after the complexities of "Thunderball" - having co-produced the fourth James Bond outing with Kevin McClory - Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were reluctant (to say the least) to team up with another production company. The parties could not come to a satisfactory agreement and so parted ways, with EON producing the Japanese-set "You Only Live Twice", and Feldman, not wishing to compete with the official series for viewers, opting to use the rights to shoot an all-out 1960s spoof of the genre.
Feldman sought the backing of Columbia and secured a very respectable budget of $6 million to shoot his spoof, but the production ran into complexities and by the end of the protracted shoot, the budget was almost double that of the expected outlay. This would prove to be greater than that of "Thunderball", the last official 007 outing. The convoluted nature of the production required the assistance of many directors. Ken Hughes (who would later go on to direct EON Productions' "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang") was brought onto the production to capture the Berlin scenes, John Huston worked with the cast in Scotland (doubling for Sir James Bond's home), Robert Parrish worked on the scenes between Orson Wells and Peter Sellers (largely across the casino table), with Joseph McGrath and Richard Talmadge both contributing to the coordination of extra scenes.
The convoluted nature of the shoot was not helped by its stars, Peter Sellers and Orson Welles, whose feud in the midst of the production reportedly resulted in the two actors unable to work in the same room as one another. Additionally, according to "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers", the actor was unwilling to stick to the script (which had already been written and rewritten by a squad of Hollywood's most creative screenwriters) and insisted on dropping in his own one-liners and dialogue. As one critic said, Sellers' desired "to turn the flattery of the role (love scene with Ursula Andress and a hefty sum) into a long-sought Cary Grant-type image." Director Val Guest wrote that Welles did not think much of Sellers, and had refused to work with "that amateur". In the end, Sellers departed the production before all of the planned material was in the can. Fans to this day speculate whether he quit or was fired, but all of that remains unknown but hugely consequential to the fashion in which the film ends.
"Casino Royale" attracted a number of famed guest stars willing to make cameos with the cinema stars Welles, Sellers and Niven. Peter O'Toole, George Raft and Jean-Paul Belmond all appeared in the film whilst Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren were set to make cameos but were unable to attend the shooting.
As well as the bigger names, Ursula Andress, Vladek Sheybal, Burt Kwouk, John Hollis, Angela Scoular and Caroline Munro were among those cast members that had or would go on to perform in an EON Productions James Bond film.
The film was recently posted to YouTube in its entirety as one of six in a join venture between the studio and MGM. Fans from select global regions can watch it free of charge online today.
"Niven seems justifiably bewildered by the proceedings, but he has a neat delivery of throwaway lines and enters into the exuberant physical action with pleasant blandness. Peter Sellers has some amusing gags as the gambler, the chance of dressing up in various guises and a neat near-seduction scene with Ursula Andress." -- Variety
"But there is never much chance for the comedy, let alone for the original yarn (which, like all Bond stories, could not be taken seriously, but which at least was a story). The movie is too busy kidding the previous Bond movies, which kidded the books and themselves before they were in turn kidded by the U.N.C.L.E.s and Flints. Poor 007 is now lost in a hall of distorting mirrors. It is no surprise that by the last reel there is a distinct air of defeat about Casino Royale, as if the money ($12 million) and the time (134 minutes) had run out. The final footage shows the U.S. cavalry riding to Bond's rescue, joined shortly by American Indians parachuting from planes and shouting "Geronimo!", the French Foreign Legion, and a Mack Sennett-style squadron of period policemen. This kind of keystone cop-out was done faster and funnier 34 years ago when the Marx Brothers made Duck Soup. But in those days comedies consisted of scenes and not herds." -- Time