Welcome to Casino Royale, the ultimate psychedelic secret agent satire! Packed with girls, guns and gags galore, this "very funny picture" (The New Yorker) delivers "laughs all the way"(Cue)! Starring Peter Sellers, Ursula... more » Andress, David Niven, Joanna Pettet, Orson Welles, Daliah Lavi, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden and others, and with an original score from Oscar┬(r) winner* Burt Bacharach, this groovy spy movie is "even farther out" (LA Herald-Examiner) than all other spoofs combined! British Intelligence is waning in every possible way! When the diabolical SMERSH begins killing off Her Majesty's Secret Service, super-agent James Bond (Niven) recruits six more "James Bonds" to confuse and conquer their enemies. But it won't be easy. They'll have to face an army of irresistibly sexy female operatives, exploding robotic fowl, parachuting Indians and a germ that makes all women beautiful but kills all men over 4'6"!« less
"Finally this comedic take on the James Bond series makes its way onto DVD, and for completists and fans of James Bond this DVD promises not only the 1967 version of Ian Flemings first 007 novel but also an edited down version of the very first James Bond movie, the 1950s CBS TV movie that starred Barry Nelson as James Bond (thats right, Sean Connery was NOT the first actor to portray 007). Made for an American audience, the character of James Bond is a CIA agent in that show and Leiter is the British intelligence agent. That movie, which is listed as a special feature on this DVD, also starred Peter Lorre as the villain Le Chiffre. Made in the days of live television this entertaining oddity is worth watching for the bloopers alone. Years later, the rights to "Casino Royale" made it into the hands of another movie producer who, convinced that any attempt to make a serious version of "Casino Royale" would be doomed without the talents of Sean Connery, decided to make the remake as a comedy instead. With Peter Sellers playing James Bond and Orson Welles taking on the role of Le Chiffre everything seemed to be going fine until a script dispute caused Sellers to walk out on the project. Left with half a movie the producers were in trouble and they scrambled to save their production. One needs to understand this background to the movie to understand why it turned out the way it did. In it's final version it seems truly confused with several actors portraying the role of James Bond and several directors (including John Huston who also cameos as M) taking a crack at it. There is even an early appearance by Woody Allen and former Bond girl Ursula Andress. For me personally, the Peter Sellers scenes are especially brilliant and very funny and David Niven plays the perfect gentleman spy. The action comes thick and fast and in addition to Andress there are a number of actors familiar to devotees to the rival EON productions. This movie is truly unique among the Bond canon and should be enjoyed as such.
NOTE: This review is NOT for the "Casino Royale (40th Anniversary Edition)" DVD despite the fact that Amazon lists the review on the product page for that 2007 DVD (note the 2002 date of this review)."
How Many 007s Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 04/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Eon Production's DR. NO was a great hit in the early 1960s, and Eon quickly snapped up the rights to the rest of Ian Flemming's novels about super spy James Bond--except for the CASINO ROYALE, which had already been purchased earlier by CBS for a 1950s television adaptation. When the property wound up at Columbia Pictures, they decided to create the satire to end all satires with a host of writers, five famous directors, and an all-star cast led by Peter Sellers. But Sellers' ego reached critical mass during the production and he was fired mid-way into filming--and suddenly roles that were originally envisioned as cameos had to be expanded to finish the project. The result is one of the most bizarre films imaginable. The story, such as it is, finds James Bond (David Niven) called out of retirement to deal with the sudden disappearance of secret agents all over the world. In order to confuse the unknown enemy, Sir James orders ALL secret agents to use the name James Bond--and before you can blink there are Bonds aplenty running wild all over the globe. Eventually all the Bonds, including (through the magic of editing) Peter Sellers, wind up at Casino Royale, where they confront the evil agents of SMERSH and a diabolical mad man with a plot to rule the world.The plot is absolute chaos, but that doesn't prevent the film from being a lot of fun to watch. The entire cast runs wild with some marvelous over-the-top performances, and whenever the writers can jam in a gag or a weird plot turn they do precisely that: Bond (Niven) is attacked by decoy ducks; counter-agent Mimi (Deborah Kerr) swings from a drain pipe; Bond's daughter by Mata Hari (Joanna Pettet) is kidnapped by a UFO; double agent Vesper (Ursula Andress) hides bodies in the deep freeze. And that's just for starters.At one point Niven blows up the locked door of a psychedelically decorated dudgeon with lysergic acid--better know as LSD--and in a way this is indicative of the entire film, which was made at the height of the 1960s ultra-mod movement: the whole thing has the feel of a blow-out acid trip, right down to flashing multicolored lights and swinging 60s fashions. It is visually arresting, to say the least. And then there is that famous Burt Bacharach score, easily one of the best of the decade, sporting Herp Albert on the main theme and Dusty Springfield's legendary performance of "The Look of Love." On the whole, the film is one of the most entertaining hodgepodges of talent and weirdness I've ever encountered, and it never fails to amuse. As for the DVD itself, the print is good and the sound is too. The extras are a bit disappointing, however. The original CBS version, included here, is a bore, and the making-of documentary is essentially a prolonged interview with one the film's several directors. I've found that viewers tend to have extremely different reactions to this film--they either love it or hate it, so you may want to rent this one first. But it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and I recommend it for fans of the unexpectedly odd."
The Original Austin Powers Movie
Jonathan P. Walters | 08/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was made in the mid 1960's, at the hight of the Bond Boom and popular legend has it that it was an artistic and comercial disaster. Althogh it did better at the box office than it is often given credit it had massive production costs and it certanly isn't as well made as the official Bond films but it is also not without merit.It has a wonderful cast headed by David Niven and Peter Sellers along with the good and the great of British comedy from the period. Ursula Andress is the female lead and unlike her apearance in "Dr. No", we at least get to hear her real voice; her exotic cosumes were designed by Julie Harris who went on to perform a similar service in "Live and Let Die".The photography is surperb and the digital remastering makes it truly a feast for the eyes. The production design is at least comparable with the EON series. My favorite aspect of the film is Bert Bacharach's score; almost every scene has its own tune and each one is a delight. "The Look Of Love" has to be one of the most sensual songs ever writen for a film and it has the images to match! Bacharach and David worked hard to capture the movement of Ursula Andress and they more than succeded.The only thing that lets the movie down is that it is episodic feel to the whole film (probably because of the numerous directors) and the fact that it is about twenty minutes too long. It is hard to sustain tounge in cheek humour for over two and a half houres.The Austin Powers films owe a lot to this and several other movies of the period ("Our Man Flint" the Matt Helm Movies etc.) and its fun to see where he got his insperation."
So THAT'S where Mike Myers got the idea for "Austin Powers"
Adam Bernstein | 08/06/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The opening sequence is a classic; the leaders of the British-US-French-Soviet spy rings come together to persuade James Bond (a well-cast Niven) to come out of retirement. What a cast of actors in this scene alone: John Huston, Bill Holden, Charles Boyer and Kurt Kazner! Later sequences are hit-or-miss: some side-splittingly funny, others limp. The best sequence involves a dapper Peter Sellers and the incredibly beautiful Ursula Andress romancing to the tune of Bacharach's "The Look of Love." A sequence with Joanna Pettit as Bond's daughter is amusing, as well. The Woody Allen moments are strictly for nebbish afficianados. The movie ends on a flat note, as Sellers walked off the film before his storyline could be resolved! Still, its a great way to spend a rainy afternoon -- reliving the swinging sixties, back when Bond meant something!"
Excellent '60s Magic; Acid Soaked Bond Spoof
Adam Bernstein | Northwest, USA | 10/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a '60s afficionado I finally got around to seeing this great psychedelic mindblower of a film. It starts off slow....enter Ursula Andress. There are at least 100 beautiful European girls in this film and I can see Woody Allen's motivation to kill all men taller than him so he can get them all. As the film takes off you realize that you have to be on Acid to understand the plot, as everyone remotely connected with this film must've been. The sets range from a Scottish castle to a Berlin haunted house to Orson Wells' psychedelic torture chamber complete with mod spiral funhouse rooms, and it gets more bizarre from there. Great music by Burt Bacharach (The Look of Love). Has cameos from practically every British star of the time, has a Spaceship full of Woody's duplicate World Leaders...it has everything. What can I say, if you like the '60s you'll love this if you possess that '60s Psychodelic Consciousness that is."