Truly the greatest of all James Bond spoofs in the original and very surreal Casino Royale from 1967. This is one of my favourite films and one of the first DVDs that I ever bought. Firstly, it has my favourite Bond ever, David Niven -the perfect gentleman! And one of the most infectious soundtracks ever, supplied by Burt Bacharach and the Tijuana Brass Band.
The film demands several viewings due to it's confusing plot. Because it was directed by five or six directors and some problems with the actors (Peter Sellers and Orson Wells refused to be in the same room together) and the fact that everyone eventually is called James Bond, it's best to watch the film as a series of sketches loosely linked together. I'll try my best to explain it the plot:
SMERSH is liquidating every agent, regardless of nationality. So the CIA, KGB, M and the French government try to coax Sir James Bond, the original Bond, out of retirement. Sir James removed himself from the world because he had to lead the only woman that he ever loved, Mata Hari, into the trap that lead to her execution.
Sir James refuses, so M blows himself and Sir James' house up.
Sir James then takes M's remains to his widow, who has been replaced by Deborah Kerr, a SMERSH agent, as are her "daughters", who are all between the ages of 16 and 19. Their mission is the tarnish Sir James' reputation and belief that "a good spy is a pure spy".
When Sir James refuses to give in, he is challenged to juggle some canon balls with the strong pipers.
He wins of course. So SMERSH goes to plan B.
Plan B is to kill Sir James with a button and then a milk float.
Naturally, he doesn't die but he is forced to bring himself and his Victorian suits out of retirement and take over M's position and gets Miss Moneypenny's daughter as his assistant.
The black flags represent the agents that have been removed by SMERSH,
including Jimmy Bond, Sir James' nephew!
So, Sir James asks Ursula Andress to help. She's the world's richest spy, she can afford to by Lord Nelson's statue and stick it in her window box.
Le Chiffre was an agent of SMERSH until he embezzled money from Dr. Noah, the head of SMERSH and he is now trying to raise money by playing baccarat in order to cover up his theft before he is killed.
Ursula Andress' job is to recruit
Peter Sellers, who has just written a book on baccarat and is the only player who can beat Le Chiffre.
She explains the offer to Peter Sellers after playing dress up to the sound of Dusty Springfield.
He accepts and is taken to meet Q, who has his own floor in Harrods, who outfits him with the latest gadgets.
Meanwhile, Sir James recruits Mata Bond, the only person he can trust as a spy (guess why)
Mata Bond is sent in a taxi to Berlin,
Where she is to investigate a SMERSH spy school in East Berlin.
They've recently redecorated in the German Expressionist style.
The school is run by a headmistress with a scar (a sure sign of villiany) and a robot in love with Mata Hari, played by Ronnie Corbett.
Unlike the Bond Girls, spoof Bond Girls are able to defend themselves!
Meanwhile, Peter Sellers has finally arrived at Casino Royale, where he meets Jacqueline Bisset as Miss Goodthighs.
If I were the manager of a casino, I would want that office. It has just enough bad taste in order to keep it from being gaudy.
And we finally meet Le Chiffre, played by Orson Wells (he also does magic tricks)
Back in London, Miss Moneypenny sees Mata Bond being kidnapped by a spaceship and taken to Casino Royale.
So, Sir James actually takes Moneypenny out of the office and to SMERSH HQ, which is in the basement of Casino Royale.
And that's all I'm going to tell you. It's such a funny and visually interesting film (I took over 800 screen shots) that you'll have to see it for yourself. And when you do, you'll know the answers to:
Who is Dr. Noah and what's his plan for world domination?
Why does Peter Sellers meet Peter O'Toole leading a band of pipers?
When did Deborah Kerr become a nun?
Why does Jean-Paul Belmondo have the funniest line in the picture?
And why is the ending the best bar fight in movie history?