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Casino Royale (1967)

Somewhat uneven spoof of the genre, loosely based on Ian Fleming's novel, has David Niven brought out of retirement when the bad guy (eventually revealed as his nephew Jimmy, played by Woody Allen of the spy-spoof What's Up, Tiger Lily?) kidnaps the world's leaders and replaces them with androids. Peter Sellers of Pink Panther fame has an extended cameo as a "decoy" James Bond, and John Huston (one of five directors who worked on this film) has a voice cameo. A high point is Orson Wells as the villainous owner of the Casino; he would have been just as good if this hadnít been a comedy. A number of big stars have cameos, but it is over two hours and seems longer. Although the Casino Royale themesong isn't bad. Deborah Kerr is in the movie somewhere, as are Joanna Pettet, William Holden, Charles Boyer, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Jacqueline Bisset. Music & songs by Burt Bacharach, including "The Look Of Love," which was a bigger hit than the movie.
"Casino Royale" is scheduled on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) occasionally

Casino Royale on tv (1954)

Ian Fleming's first and only television sale was this half-hour adaptation, starring Barry Nelson as an American version of the spy. This wouldn't work today of course, but no one in 1954 had heard the name before. Fleming said he copied the name from a coffee-table bird book by James Bond, and based the agent himself on a spy he knew while working in London during World War 2.

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* Orson Welles reportedly insisted on including magic tricks into his scenes, a possible source of the friction between him and Peter Sellers

* In his book "Woody Allen: A Biography", John Baxter says that in addition to the commonly credited contributors to the movie's script, several more individuals also helped in the writing. They include Allen collaborator Mickey Rose, Frank Buxton, Orson Welles, Joseph McGrath, John Huston, and former MGM studios head Dore Schary

* Cameos by Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, and Barbra Streisand were planned

* When Mata Bond swings into action, the background music is "Bond Street"

* 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

* Peter Sellers often caused interruptions by leaving the set for days at a time

* Numerous screenwriters and directors contributed bits to the film and were uncredited: Billy Wilder (the "Nobody's Perfect" tag line) and Terry Southern (the war room in Berlin) among them

* An enormous Taj Mahal-type set was designed for the film but never built

* Casino Royale was Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel. It was the only one not sold to Eon Productions. As a result, CBS TV first adapted it for an episode of "Climax!" in 1954, starring Barry Nelson as CIA agent Jimmy Bond. When plans began to adapt the novel as a motion picture, the original thought was to do a straight film of the novel. But with the success of Sean Connery's Bond, it was decided the only way a rival Bond film could survive would be as a parody. The Peter Sellers sequence is the only part of Ian Fleming's novel to make it into the film. The confrontation with Le Chiffre in the casino, the plan to discredit Le Chiffre with SMERSH and the villain's execution by enemy agents are all in the novel. So is the notion of Bond writing a book on baccarat, and the element of Vesper being an enemy spy. Reportedly, Eon Productions has been trying to buy back the rights to Casino Royale for years, in hopes of someday making a serious Bond film out of the novel. Despite being regarded as a "flop" financially in the press, the film actually did quite well in financial terms. Despite its very high production budget and additional costs in marketing and advertising, it still managed to make a net profit of well over $5 million for the studio. The film was generally reported as a failure financially in the press because it was outperformed at the box office by the official Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), which was released in the same year, and because of the film's high costs. But in actuality the studio still made a large profit off the film and although it didn't match You Only Live Twice at the box office it still managed to do quite well. Casino Royale was the 3rd highest grossing film for the year behind only The Jungle Book (1967) and You Only Live Twice

* In the German spy school, Polo mentions some of the former students, among them Peter Lorre. Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre in the original, made-for-TV version of Casino Royale on "Climax!"

* Producer Charles K. Feldman originally offered to make the film as a co-production with official Bond series producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. Saltzman and Broccoli had just co-produced the previous Bond flick Thunderball (1965) with Kevin McClory, and did not want to do so again. Forced to produce the film on his own, Feldman approached Sean Connery to star as Bond. Unwilling to meet his $1 million salary demand, Feldman decided to turn the film into a spoof, and cast David Niven as Bond instead. After the film went through numerous production problems and a spiralling budget, Feldman met Connery at a Hollywood party and reportedly told him it would have been cheaper to pay him the million dollars

* When the studio approved the film's production budget it was $6 million, quite a large budget in 1966. However, during filming the project ran into several problems and the shoot ran months over schedule, with the costs also running well over. When the film was finally completed it had run twice over its original $6 million production budget. The final production budget of $12 million made it one of the most expensive films that had been made to that point. The previous official Bond movie, Thunderball (1965), had a $9-11 million production budget, while You Only Live Twice (1967), which was released the same year as Casino Royale, and had a budget of $9.5-11.5 million. The extremely high budget of "Casino Royale" caused it to earn the reputation as being "a mini Cleopatra," referring to the runaway and out of control costs of that 1963 film

* In 1999 Sony paid MGM $5 million to settle the $40 million lawsuit that MGM had brought against Sony over the Bond rights. The lawsuit was filed because of Sony's intentions to remake Casino Royale. In the settlement Sony agreed to hand over all of its rights to the Bond character and Casino Royale. In 1999 MGM paid Sony $10 million for the rights to this film

* This film was originally intended to be released on Christmas in 1966, but because the shoot ran several months over schedule the film was not released until April of 1967

* Orson Welles attributed the success of the film to a marketing strategy that featured a naked tattooed lady on the film's posters and print ads

* During Cooper's "anti-female spy" training sequence, the first female agent who kisses him is dressed exactly like Ursula Andress's character in Dr. No (1962), complete with knife

* The man blown up by Le Chiffre is played by the same actor who played a criminal mastermind in From Russia with Love (1963). As recently as 2000, efforts were under way by EON Productions to reestablish ownership of this renegade Ian Fleming novel

* Actors considered for the role of Sir James Bond included Laurence Harvey, Stanley Baker, Peter O'Toole, and William Holden. Holden and O'Toole had cameos in the final film

* A carpet beater can be seen hanging from the side of Orson Welles's chair. This is a link to the original Casino Royale novel, in which Le Chiffre tortures Bond by thrashing his testicles with a carpet beater

* The scenes with Woody Allen were shot in London. Producers delayed his final day of shooting so many times, out of frustration Allen left the set, went directly to Heathrow Airport and flew back to New York City without changing out of his costume

* According to Val Guest, who found himself finishing the work started by several of the other directors, the producer offered him a unique "Co-ordinating Director" credit, but he refused

* At least two gags involving Peter Sellers in this film later resurfaced in the Pink Panther films of the 1970s: a sight gag involving Sellers wearing Toulouse Loutrec costume, and a joke involving a driver running away when being asked to "follow that car"

* Ian Hendry was cut out of this project

* According to interviews with director Val Guest, Peter Sellers became such a problem during the filming that the decision was made to fire him before he had finished all of his scenes. As a result, the end of the marching band torture scene was noticeably altered and Sellers' subsequent scenes were written out

* The rift between Orson Welles and Peter Sellers was partly caused by the arrival on set of Princess Margaret, sister of the Queen. Sellers knew her of old and greeted her in an ostentatious manner to ensure all cast and crew noticed. However, the Princess walked straight past him and made a big fuss of Welles. Causing Sellers to storm off set and refuse to film with Welles again

* Filmed entirely in England and Scotland

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