Saturday, February 20, 2010

Movie-Pick of the Week: Casino Royale (1967) I have heard great things about the 2006 spy film Casino Royal starring Daniel Craig. Therefore, I was surprised to find out that there was a previous film done in 1967. This adaptation of Ian Fleming’s classic James Bond novel was a parody, however, and the fact that it had a cast of Hollywood icons -including Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress, David Niven, and Woody Allen - it sounded like something I might want to see. I was not even suspicious of the fact that the film was directed by five different directors! The film starts out with a group of men, including the secret agency chief M on their way to a retired James Bond’s mansion. There they request that due to a number of agent losses he would come out retirement to become an agent once more. While he thinks it over, it is mentioned that he was once madly in love with the infamous Marta Hari; and that at the time of her death the great spy was in such pity at the loss of his love that he quit being a spy and was never to return. Bond refuses even a letter from the Queen of England on account of his lost love but quickly changes his mind when chief M is killed. He then sets out to find and to help smash SMERSH, the band of hit men who are likely responsible. But first he stops at M’s widow’s castle for a fiasco. Back at the secret agency, Bond, now in command, orders that in order to conceal his identity all available agents will now be given the name James Bond. After a number of events, both comical and romantic, Bond soon meets up with his long lost daughter who was born right before her mother Marta Hari was executed. She was to go into her mothers old spy training school to collect data. I am afraid this is all I can say about that, for sooner or later you will lose track of the happenings in the film, and you will sit there bewildered and wondering what happened to James Bond? The end of the film was simply unforgettable however, for after a number of catastrophes, young Marta is kidnapped by SMERSH, who takes her to their headquarters, which they soon find out is located under Casino Royale. At the final chase scene, all of a sudden cowboys are running around in havoc, Indians are dancing, and old silent movie footage runs of policemen getting into a car, and all that inside of poor Casino Royale! I found out the reason for all the chaos on The Making of Casino Royale featured on the DVD Special Features: First, Peter Sellers left, subsequently they had to totally rewrite the script with new actors. Joanna Petit, who young Marta Hari was promised only 3 or 4 weeks on the set, she was there for 8 months, and as for the directors, they just kept coming and going. Starring David Niven as James Bond, this film took almost 2 years to make and quite obviously was out of whack, but has nevertheless a certain flair. While the film was lost on my parents who fell asleep in the middle of silverscreen chaos, I liked it! Movie Ratings on scale from 1 – 100: Robert Steven Mack: 91/100; Diana Mack: 40/100 (due to ????); Alex Mack: 55/100 (due to ????) average Mack family ratings: 62/100 Copyright 2010 by Robert Steven Mack (with special thanks to my mother Diana and father Alex for their assistance in editing)


  1. Great job Robert! I must see this film again. I await your next editorial with great enthusiasm!

    Fellow film historian and writer,
    Aunt Kimberly

  2. Thank you for your insight, Robert Steven! I would rather ride the craziest roller coaster in the world than watch this sixties movie a second time!


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