6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Casino Royale (1967) arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.34:1 encode. The bit rate was actually quite high at AVC 36 MBPS on a BD-50 disc. Consider the age of this movie, the picture actually looks very smooth and film-like. Black levels are excellent, especially in all the scenes in the casino with all the gentlemen in their tuxedos, or the Berlin sequences, with its many dark interiors. Detail is generally quite good, but the image is somewhat soft, which maybe due to the original design of the photography. (4/5)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track sounds terrific. The beautiful music of Burt Bacharach floats in the air and never intrudes into the action of the movie. I still own the original motion picture soundtrack vinyl album, which was considered as an audiophile collector's item in the past. Of course, listening to Dusty Springfield's rendition of The Look Of Love is also worth the price of admission. This song, by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) was nominated for an Oscar as Best Original Song, but lost to the song Talk To The Animals from the movie Doctor Dolittle. (4/5)
With gadgets, gaming and girls galore, this movie is a brilliant parody of - itself. The outstanding part of this movie is the casts, including David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer and John Huston.
It has a budget of $12 million, but grossed $41 million worldwide, which is considered outstanding at that time.
Did you know that Peter Sellers and Orson Welles hated each other so much that the filming of the scene where both of them face each other across a gaming table actually took place on different days with a double standing in for one the actors.
When "Bond" (Terence Cooper) throws down the Chinese girl during his anti-female training, he ends the conflict by saying "Sayonara", which is actually Japanese.
I personally like to collect all the James Bond movies on blu ray. Just like the other Bond film Never Say Never, this film is usually not included in the James Bond box set collection. And,one also really cannot compare this to Daniel Craig's Casino Royale: two completely different films. This film is wacky with lots of cameos from major movie stars. The video is adequate while the music of Burt Bacharch is very special. Recommended.
CASINO ROYALE  [Blu-ray] [UK Release] With gadgets, gaming and girls galore, this camp classic is not only the coolest of the spy films, but it's also a brilliant parody of itself!
Will the real "James Bond" please stand up? When secret agency chief "M" [John Huston] is killed, James Bond [David Niven] is thrust out of spy retirement to help smash SMERSH, the band of hit men who are likely responsible. And to protect his real identity, Bond's name is given to numerous other agents, including Evelyn Tremble [Peter Sellers] and Bond's neurotic nephew, Jimmy [Woody Allen]. With five directors, a cast of Hollywood icons that also includes Ursula Andress, Charles Boyer, Peter O'Toole, Jacqueline Bisset and Orson Welles, a soundtrack by Burt Bacharach and a frisky, farcical script, Casino Royale is Bond. Psychedelic Bond.
FILM FACT: Burt Bacharach's musical score was praised, earning him an Academy Award® nomination for the song "The Look of Love" and was performed by Dusty Springfield.
Cast: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, Barbara Bouchet, Jacqueline Bisset, John Huston, William Holden, Ronnie Corbett, Charles Boyer, Kurt Kasznar, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Angela Scoular, Elaine Taylor, Alexandra Bastedo, Anna Quayle, Derek Nimmo, Colin Gordon, Bernard Cribbins, Tracy Reed, John Bluthal, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Wells, Duncan Macrae, Graham Stark, Richard Wattis, Vladek Sheybal, Percy Herbert, Jeanne Roland and Daliah Lavi
Directors: John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge (uncredited) and Val Guest
Producers: Charles K. Feldman, Jerry Bresler and John Dark
Screenplay: Ben Hecht, Billy Wilder, Peter Sellers, Terry Southern, Val Guest, Wolf Mankowitz and Woody Allen
Composer: Burt Bacharach
Cinematography: Jack Hildyard, BSC, Nicolas Roeg, BSC and John Wilcox, BSC
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono and Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish
Running Time: 125 minutes
Region: Region Free
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: In 1967, producer Charles Feldman had the urge to make a James Bond film. In the early days before Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were in the picture, Ian Fleming's first Bond title had been sold to Feldman for a substantial sum. The bad news that it would take fifteen years to make it to the big screen. By that point, five James Bond films were already out and there seem to be no hope to make an alternate Bond picture. The filmmakers in their infinite wisdom decided to scrap the storyline, keep the title, and make a spy spoof which had been making lots of money at that time with the success of the Matt Helm and Flint movies. With Feldman's agent connections, he established an all-star cast not to mention five directors to make the ultimate wide spy spoof with the number of 007 attached to it. The result was `Casino Royale.'
It's a dark time for the spy world. Five agents go to a remote spot to one car to seek out bringing Sir James Bond [David Niven] out of retirement for his assistance. Unfortunately, Bond has been living a modest life and does not much care about the spy world as he used to. That is, until an attempt on his life at his residence claims the life of his former boss "M" [John Huston] who's only remains happen to be his toupee. After some careful thought at his former boss' residence, he takes over his superior's position to counteract on the mysterious deaths within the organization using his moniker for recruits to use in order to confuse the organization known as SMERSH and its chief enemy Dr. Noah. This includes a baccarat expert [Peter Sellers] and his long lost daughter with Mata Hari. Together they infiltrate their main hideout which is under the cover name "Casino Royale."
It was best that a familiarity with the Flint series and the Austin Powers movies are enough to satisfy with this all star vehicle. The wackiness plus the use of the kind of jokes that you don't know whether to laugh or not happen to be used to a great extent. A lot of the craziness going on in this movie makes a viewer wonder if the filmmakers were all on something during the production. Nonetheless, it's a psychedelic spy spoof with a nutty sense of some of the previous Bond films as well as brandishing its own brand of cool, thanks to a solid score by Burt Bacharach and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
The look of the sets in this film is quite breath-taking full of colour and uses a wonderful stained glass palette that let all the colours explode out sixties style. As for the performances, they all range from being in the movie a little while to a glorified cameo to some uncredited that do surprise and make me grin at their use in this film.
All is different in this incarnation of 007, and this multi-directed film came with much criticism and was not looked on too highly at the time. It was also not a box office success. However in this day in age when spoofing the sixties is a happening, it does freak me out in a way that spreads it away from the traditional Bond series and into its own groovy mould.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Previously this title was limited to being a Best Buy exclusive release, but it's now been released to the masses. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the stunning 1080p image is about the most inconsistent that I've encountered on Blu-Ray, then again I've never seen a film with half a dozen directors, either. Image quality varies from scene to scene, but it's a reflection of the source material I'm sure. I will say that Ursula Andress looks as good as ever. Though the detail has been improved over the previous inferior DVD format release, there's still a bit of edge enhancement that I noticed. Still, it's what I believe to be a step up from the previous DVD and if this kind of movie floats your boat - should find a nice home next to the "real" Bond movies in your collection.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The disc does contain a 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track, but let's not get too excited? The Audio has been cleaned up a bit and though this title in no way competes with the newer soundtracks, does have a moment or two of greatness. Take "greatness" with a grain of salt, if you please. Dialogue sounds nice and natural with little to no distortion. It's about as close to a mono track as you can get without actually being mono. Still, it's not a horrible or unlistenable mix and for that and I'm very pleased.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Commentary with Bond Historians Steven Jay Rubin and John Cork: Rubin is author of The Complete James Bond Encyclopaedia, and Cork has co-authored several books about Bond, as well as biographies of Ian Fleming, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Cork has also co-produced many of the documentaries included on the "ultimate" Bond DVDs. Between them, Rubin and Cork provide a wealth of detail not only about Casino Royale and its troubled history, but also about film history in general and various personalities both in front of and behind the camera. The commentary often takes on a "six degrees of James Bond" quality, as the speakers riff on the subsequent careers and chance connections of people involved in the film. (Example: Woody Allen appeared in Casino Royale and did uncredited writing work. In 2006, Woody Allen was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar, as was Paul Haggis, making it the only year when two writers who had worked on the same Bond story were nominated for an Oscar).
The Making of Casino Royale [41:30] Made in 2007, this documentary presents a relatively straightforward, chronological account of the film's genesis and troubled production, using informative interview footage from many of the participants. They include directors Val Guest and Joseph McGrath; actresses Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi and Jacqueline Bisset; cameramen Nicholas Roeg and Alex Thomson; and assistant director Roy Baird. The documentary is divided into five parts: Bond . . . James Bond?, A Three Ring Circus, More Directors . . . More Stars!, The Big Climax and It's a Wrap!
Theatrical Trailer [2:22] Too big for just one Bond! At least so they claimed.
Finally, 1967's `Casino Royale' definitely inspires a 'cult' appreciation. Similar to its finale - this remains a jumbled mass of bubbles and fun. If you can allow the fun to sweep over you rather than scrutinize it - you will definitely be better-off for your viewing experience. Plots don't always have to make sense - and looking at `Casino Royale' as another disjointed 'runaway production' kind of adds to its kitsch. I like the performances - all tongue-in-cheek and the sexy 1960's gals - Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, Jacqueline Bisset etc. plus Bacharach's peppy theme gives it some real joy. The Blu-ray, in my opinion, represents the best it's going to get for this psychedelic Bond. Have some fun... the price encourages it and a total honour to add this to my Blu-ray Collection as it is a fun ride throughout its 125 minutes. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
on February 10, 2004
Great movie! Sir James Bond played by David Niven is forced back into espionage after his hedonistic lifestyle is so rudely interrupted by a British army 81mm mortar team who proceeds to blow up his perfectly splendid castle. Bond prefers a life of luxury to the dangers of espionage but alas, it's back to the good old Walther PPK 7.65mm and the cloak and dagger for 007. As Dr. Michael Lim the Travelling Gourmet, I too appreciate the finer things in life. I think all fans of Bond do too. The music is remarkable. This is THE movie where that immortal and hauntingly seductive song, by Burt Bacharach, "The Look of Love" reaches deep into your libido and psyche, especially when you hear it for the very first time. My old friend, the late Derek Nimmo (of BBC's Just a Minute) fame is in this movie too as a would be Bond under the tutelage of Sir James himself. If you see the current Austin Powers movies you'll see where the scipt writers got many of their ideas from. Beautiful and seductively voluptuous women abound as in all 007 movies. In those days, men were men and women were not pale, anaemic anorexic skin and bone creatures but lovely, curvaceous and meaty damsels. Bring back the real women I say to Hollywood film makers! This spook spoof will put a smile on your lips and cheer you up no end. Certain scenes like when Sir James demonstrates how things should be done are really hilarious. Above all, the classic British ideal of stiff upper lip, always remain calm and unruffled no matter what, and carry on regardless...comes through all the antics, bombs, blondes and bullets. David Niven comes a very close second to Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) when it comes to playing cool, calm and collected English gentlemen. And so, what's next? As Austin Powers would say, "Yeah, Baby, Yeah!!!" By Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet ENJOY!
on May 13, 2003
One of the great things about DVDs is that occasionally the extras are really worth it. In this case one of the extras is the original production of Casino Royale as it appeared on Climax Television.
Once upon a time it was decided to do a spoof of the James Bond films. A four-part script was created and four directors were hired. Ian Fleming originally claimed that he envisioned David Niven in the role of James Bond. That became a reality in this film.
James Bond is needed and must be called out of retirement. The original, that is. The film James Bond is merely a replacement for the original played by Niven. He quit the spy business after the death of his true love; Mata Hari (1917).
To redirect attention, Peter Sellers is hired as a new James Bond. He has a system for beating Baccarat and is needed to defeat badguy Orson Wells. But as Wells goes down, we discover the sinister plot of young Jimmy Bond (Woody Alan). Add Mata Hari's daughter and plenty of slapstick and the result is an amazing spoof.
The original 1954 version of Casino Royale was produced on Climax Television and had a few unusual twists. Although this was the first Bond "film", it is out of character with the rest as Bond is an American (What!, you say). Bond must go against badguy Peter Lorre (who gets a place in history as the first to play a Bond villain). The story is very close to the original novel except SMERSH has been replaced by the Syndicate.
A great disk with some great footage. I especially recommend the original production that was included.
on April 5, 2003
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.
on January 21, 2003
Casino Royale is one of the oddest choices in the 007 movie bag. It is unofficial and a spoof of the James Bond series. Quite a complicated film to make with 5 directors, endless producers and screenwriters, and an endless cast in the movie with dozens of cameos. Lee Pfeiffer once commented on the film that "If you were in London at the time of the movie production, you had a part in the movie." Indeed Casino Royale is an over-budget big flop of the James Bond series, it stands up very well for itself. David Niven, Ursula Andress, Orson Wells and Woody Allen bring undeniable charm, class and comedy to the film. There is basically no plot for the film, but the comedy and spoofs make up for it. The gambling scenes and over the top finale are some of the highlights of the film. The true winner is the powerful score by Burt Bacharach. A real winner with Dusty Springfield and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. A crazy film with nonstop thrills, comedy and excitement! A real winner.
on January 2, 2003
The "Austin Powers" series sure could take a few hints from "Casino Royale". Whereas the former is predictable and obvious, "Casino Royale" is a good example of that famous dry British wit.
What else could you call it when wealthy Ursula Andress tells Peter Sellers that she gets her newspapers BEFORE they're printed, and he replies, "Well, I suppose you can do anything if you've got money..." Or when Joanna Pettet comments on her estranged mother's oversized bed and is told, "The German army was very large in those days."
I've withheld one star because the movie does tend to have an episodic feel, due to the five different directors who worked on it, and because it drags a bit in places. Still, the witty jokes more than make up for those small flaws. Considering how many hands this movie was in, it's amazing that it works so well. Woody Allen gives his funniest performance as neurotic Jimmy Bond. Peter Sellers is terrific, as usual. And watch out for an appearance by a young Jacqueline Bisset as Miss Goodthighs.
The movie's crowning touch is the music by Burt Bacharach, which manages to be catchy and loopy at the same time.
Finally, one of the best reasons for owning rather than renting this movie is that some of the gags go by so fast (Q's laboratory, the art auction), that you might not catch them all until your second or third viewing. And, like a lot of good humor, some of the jokes just get funnier with repeat viewings.
on December 16, 2002
I used to watch this movie all the time when I was a kid. The pretty colors and shapes dazzled me, and even as a child I could appreciate the beauty of a gaggles of hot girls in skimpy clothing. After seeing that it was released on DVD, I had to get it, for nostalgia's sake. I found that I still very much enjoyed the film, but there are so many other things that I picked up watching it later. I am sure that it is obvious from the cover that the movie has a strong sixties drug overtone. Spinning lights and shapes are pleading to be watched under the influence. You know that there is a drug undercurrent when there are in a room filling with gas, and they use it to blow the door open, and that gas is Lysergic Acid... not so flammable, but is the main ingredient in LSD. I also noticed the absurdity of so many scenes. As a child I accepted a lot of it, but watching it now and seeing dazzling sparkles and colored lights behind Orson Welles as he does stage magic at the baccarat table, or the British government blowing up the estate of James Bond to get him to go on another mission... it was nonsense. Put all the humor, the all star cast, a decidedly non-annoying performance by Woody Allen, and a brilliant score by Burt Bacharach and Herb Alpert... you have a definite classic, and a definite winner.
Even without taking drugs...
on November 29, 2002
The psychedelic technicolor on this DVD was worth waiting for. It's worth keeping for the pictures alone, but then there's the fabulous music (including the immortal Audiophile wet dream "Look of Love" sung by Dusty Springfield playing while Ursula Andress seduces Peter Sellers, and also the equally immortal Tijuana Brass and Burt Bacharach), and the incredible star actors who do a fine job under the circumstances, especially Niven, Sellers, Allen, and Andress. There isn't much of a plot, almost zero continuity, loose ends galore, and total chaos in parts, but in the end the goodness of the parts makes the whole worthwhile. It's a miracle, maybe, but it works. Oh, and I need to mention the sexy girls, the macho guys, the incredible costumes, the gags, the props, ad infinitum. Apparently part of it was filmed below the Playboy club in London from which they got lots of extras.
While worth keeping, this is obviously not a "great" movie in any sense, so I'm surprised at all the 5 star ratings. Fortunately they tend to balance off the unfair 1 star ratings. I enjoyed this more than both "Austin Powers International Man of Mystery" (which kept me wincing) and "Our Man Flint" (which seemed rather short, hollow, and cheap...low budget obviously...). I'd actually give Casino Royale 3.5 stars if I could. It's easily better than the other spoofs, and ALMOST a great movie in its own right. When you understand what the producer was doing, and how the film was made, that's a miracle.
If you want to see the "real" Casino Royale plot, the TV version from the 1950's is included, unfortunately cut a few minutes short I've read here.
The documentary by the director who ultimately got the unenviable job of glueing this all together (Val Guest) was instructive. It's a miracle this movie was ever finished. The producer (an ex-agent) simply hired a number of top directors and ordered them each to do their thing. There was no "book" (the actual book was to be ignored since almost all the material in it had previously been used in "serious" Bond films). To make it worse, Orson Wells refused to do any significant amount of acting with Peter Sellers (who he considered an "Amateur"), so their scenes had to be spliced together. Though Val doesn't explain this, that might have led to Seller's sick-out, when then led to having Sellers fired, so they had to figure out how to complete the movie without Sellers. That's really a pity, because Sellers is actually an outstanding actor and does outstanding work here (much better than Wells, in fact). He's only topped by Niven. (And despite what Wells seemed to think of himself, I consider even Casino Royale better than any of his "serious" movies...Orson Wells is the most overrated actor and director in history IMHO, but he does a adequate job here as a bit part actor.)
on November 2, 2002
Either you love it or you hate it. Sure the lyrics of the end title stick with you for a decade "...six of them go to a heavenly spot, the other one goes to a place where it's terribly ...hot...", and the "plot" is twisted, winded, senseless and often optional. The raid in the last few minutes was exceptionally stupid, and the death of the Well's character was too over the top. But I really like this movie. I've read all these reviews of the "great" sound track with no mention of Herp Alpert & the Tijuana Brass' main title. A real classic (can be found on their hits album) that's still popular today, long after Dusty Springfield's popularity has faded to, well, dust.
Woody Allen, whom I really, really hate, was actually funny in this movie - something that has eluded him the past three decades. It's campy 60's at its best! The show down between Bond/Niven and the Highlanders, the killer homing pigeon, and kamikaze car are only a few of the "moments" this film has to offer.
If you like comedy, get it. The closest think I can compare it to is Blazing Saddles, complete with the senseless ending.