I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “I thought he was done with the Bond films. And didn’t Casino Royale come out in 2006?” Well, let me explain. Dr. No and all of the Bond films that I have reviewed so far were all produced by Eon Studios (and later MGM) and are considered the official Bond films. However, there were three movies starring James Bond, one of which pre-dates Dr. No, that were done by different studios. Those three movies are considered the unofficial Bond films. Today’s movie, Casino Royale (1967) is the second of those films.
The plot: James Bond, long since retired, is visited by the heads of MI6, CIA and other intellegence agencies and asked to help deal with SMERSH, who has been killing off agents. Bond refuses at first but when his mansion is destroyed and M is killed, takes over as M in order to deal with the problem. James renames all the surviving agents “James Bond” in order to confuse SMERSH and begins training them in how to ignore the seductive charms of women. But all of his plans are compromised when it is discovered that Bond’s nephew Jimmy is leading the operation for SMERSH.
Charles K Feldman obtained the rights to make this movie in 1960 and wanted Eon Studios to produce it, but Eon chose not to make this film. Thinking that he could not compete with the Eon series, Feldman decided to make his movie into a satire. With a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics obviously did not care for the film, many criticizing the confusing plot. However, it was considered a commercial success, earning over $41 million worldwide.
While I did find several parts of the movie funny, I have to say that overall, it was too confusing to be entertaining. The acting was good, especially Peter Sellers, Orson Welles and David Niven. But the plot was such a train wreck. The first time I watched this movie, I kept having to rewind it just to make sure I could understand what was going on. It jumps around all over the place so much that it really is hard to follow and does not make for an entertaining movie.
So it is a Bond film, but not one you will probably want to watch more than once.
Rating: 2 out of 5