Pros and Cons: Casino Royale (1967) (the "funny" version)

caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent

We all know Casino Royale (1967) (the "funny" version) is a James Bond movie in name only, not actually funny, and incompetently put together. But for 130 minutes and a bigger budget than You Only Live Twice, surely it deserves more objective analysis from us BondObsessives.

So lets Pros-and-Cons-ify shall we?


I could not find a more general Casino Royale (1967) topic, surprisingly enough. The fact there is another more popular film of the same title with hundreds of threads does confuse the search.

So we may also use this thread for more general non-Pros-and-Cons related discussion of the film. I did a lot of reading on the film's backstory these last couple days and may post links and summaries of some of what I've learned after completing my own Pros-and-Cons-ification.

Please fellow agents, when Pros-and-Cons-ifying this film, do not simply say "Pros: none, Cons: all". Do you seriously think the Look of Love is a Con? if there's one Pro, then there must be others, try to think of one. And when listing Cons, whether within the film or behind-the-scenes, be specific as to how your Con makes this a worse film than it might otherwise have been.

Comments

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent
    edited June 8

    PROS

    -Burt Bacharach, Dusty Springfield and Herb Alpert's music. Great soundtrack album.

    -The Look of Love: when the song is first teased (about 45 minutes in when Ursula Andress first appears), it looks as if a good film is about to break through. After several tease, the song is played in full once Peter Sellers is introduced.

    -One of the sexiest songs ever recorded, and arguably better than any BondSongs Barry ever wrote. If the film were edited down to just the scene where the song plays through, it'd be a much better movie.

    -Classic poster and promotional artwork by Robert McGinnis .

    -Animated credits are pretty good too, to the toon of Alpert's music.


    -Incredible set design, costumes, and general visual aesthetic.

    -McTarry Castle, the Berlin scenes, the villain's headquarters beneath the Casino are all incredible sets. 


    -Some very good actors this movie, dozens and dozens, but a few of them shall end up in the CON category. Of the PROS...

    -Ursula Andress

    -The original Bondgirl returns, albeit playing a different character, and not Fleming's Vesper Lynd either. Is this Vesper maybe actually Rita, the parachutist character from What's New Pussycat? That character was identified as a "close personal friend of James Bond", which would fit in with this films continuity where she is indeed a friend of NivenBond.

    -Vesper is introduced as some sort of stockbroker, kinda sorta anticipating GreenVesper's job working for the Treasury in the remake.

    -A lot of beautiful women, more than any other Bondfilm, almost always at least one magnificent specimen on screen at any moment, and a new one introduced every ten minutes. 

    -As well as Andress: Deborah Kerr (Lady Fiona McTarry), Barbara Bouchet (Miss Moneypenny Jr), Joanna Pettet (Mata Bond), Daliah Lavi (the Detainer), Jacqueline Bisset (Miss Goodthighs), and all those McTarry daughters including Angela Scoular.

    -Angela Scoular is funny as Buttercup McTarry, the daughter in the bathtub, during the McTarry Castle sequence, two years before playing Ruby Bartlett in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    -Joanna Pettet is funny in the Berlin scenes, playing Mata Bond (daughter of James Bond and Mata Hari). 

    -Ronnie Corbett is also good in the Berlin scenes scenes, playing a demented minion.

    -Woody Allen early in his career is still in his slapstick phase, as in Take the Money and Run through to Sleeper. I think he wrote his own dialog, his evil scheme is particular sounds like a typical Woody Allen line.

    -(other great actors are mostly wasted or actively sabotaging the film, including Niven, Sellers and Welles)


    -Fleming content! More of the book's general plot is used than in You Only Live Twice, if less of the details. 

    -The infrared glasses is actually from Bond's Unseen Mission in Monte Carlo before the war, mentioned in both Casino Royale and Moonraker

    -Sellers' character Evelyn Tremble is the author of a book on cardplaying, and Fleming references a similar real life book (Scarne on Cards) in Moonraker.

    -The Bentley finally appears (previously only seen briefly in From Russia with Love).

    -SMERSH finally appears (and would not be in an EON film until the Living Daylights).


    -Most important scenes, the ones actually following Fleming's plot, featuring Sellers Andress and Welles, and the Look of Love, are directed by Joseph McGrath who I never heard of. Turns out he previously directed Beatles promo films, as well as working with both Sellers and Spike Milligan. Explaining why the good parts of the film resemble a music video more than a movie with a plot. This main section becomes as incoherent as the rest of the film once Welles appears, but the Look of Love scene in particular is a thing of beauty.

    (the Sellers/Andress/Welles/Fleming content is broken in two halves, bridged by the Berlin content. Did McGrath direct both halves?)

    -Berlin scenes directed by Ken Hughes are the visual highlight, doing the whole German Expressionist thing complete with sightgags as the characters attempt to stay upright while walking along the twisted angles. This section may be technically better than the scenes with Sellers, as there is actual witty dialog and a proper espionage plot. 

    -Ken Hughes also directed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, bringing the universes together. 

    -Q's lab scene is quite good, especially all the MAD magazine style overlapping background gags. We'd only had such scenes in Goldfinger and Thunderball so far, this version must have influenced future Q's lab scenes in the regular series. 

    -The reaction to the "poison pen letter" gag successfully takes the piss out of BondFilm cliches in a way which the rest of the film does not even attempt, and may be the only specific parody of the series rather than just sprawling selfindlgence.


    -The idea Bond is retired and visitors must persuade him to return for one last mission shall be revisited in the upcoming Bond25. This was also the framing sequence for Pearson's Bond Biography, which was written seven years later. 

    -Pearson's Bond Biography also revisits the idea there was a "real" James Bond who predated Fleming's books and did not approve of Fleming's character of the same name.


    -Here is an interesting defense of the film along philosophical lines: Casino Royale (the 1967 Version): Through the Looking Glass

    ___________________________________________________________


    CONS

    -To cut to the bottom line: it's not funny, and is technically a shambles of a film.  

    -There had been many SpyMania spoofs in the years leading up to this, most of which were actually funny and resembled the target of the satire. This one is more artistically ambitious, but does not work as a genre parody. 

    -Peter Sellers walked off the film early on, leading to the need for all the irrelevant additional material.

    -They threw out a more serious Ben Hecht script that could have resulted in a genuine rival to the EON franchise at the height of SpyMania.

    -There was also a Joseph Heller (Catch-22) script that was not used. If it had to be funny, it could at least have been a dark satire. (There is also some Terry Southern material buried in the final product, but I do not recognise his style).


    -Charles Feldman produced A Streetcar Named Desire and The Seven Year Itch. He's an experienced professional, not some loudtalking wanna-be like McClory. Also: Brocolli actually worked with Feldman early in his own career, they had an established working relationship. So what happened?

    "According to the 31 Mar 1965 Var, Broccoli and Saltzman offered Feldman $500,000 plus a percentage of the profits to make the film under the existing Bond team at UA. After lengthy negotiations, Feldman declined, and instead sought a deal with Columbia Pictures." -AFI catalog

    -Feldman had a chance to coproduce with EON, but once McClory got there first EON chose never to colloborate with outsiders again (I think even Broccoli and Saltzman were having problems playing nice by this point).

    (imagine an alternate timeline where a serious EON/Feldman coproduction of Casino Royale came out in 1965. Then having had a good experience with Feldman they might still have worked with McClory and Thunderball could come out in 1967. Giving time for the the real life Piz Gloria location to be completed they then could have followed directly with On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969 as in our reality, and therefor filmed You Only Live Twice in proper sequence!)


    -"Let's call it an heirloom" is the first discernible joke, about 14 minutes into the film. For the most part the film is not funny, just weird.

    -Maybe we should just not expect it to be a comedy, but then what is it? Pseudo-psychedelic self-indulgence was a genre at the time, so how does it compare with other such "head" movies? In this case, it's made by middle aged Hollywood veterans, not underground radicals, so maybe the problem is old guys are "culturally appropriating" a younger generation's style. 


    -David Niven's Sir James Bond is not supposed to be the EON Bond, nor is he Fleming's Bond. The part of the film based on Fleming is about a different character, Evelyn Tremble. So none of this is actually a James Bond movie in any sense, making it all very frustrating. The artistic ambitions would be easier to accept if this was not also claiming to be a James Bond film. 

    -The Climax Mystery Theatre version came closer, even with CardSense Jimmy Bond also being technically a different character. And Never Say Never Again by comparison was a fully fledged cinematic Bond film that just happened to be made by the wrong people.


    -What version of James Bond is Niven playing? 

    -He is elderly (retired twenty years ago, i.e. 1947), stammering, effete, wears a turban and is afraid of girls. He has an origin story involving Tibet and plays Debussy. He fathered a child with Mata Hari, so was evidently once a good spy and/or lover before she gave him that stammer. 

    There must be some metafictional intent behind this radically reinvisioned variation of the character. 

    Is he supposed to be some old-school Edwardian gentleman spy, such as Richard Hannay, a stock character that would have influenced Fleming? Since Fleming did add casual sex to a genre dating back several decades, maybe that's what's going on. 

    This topic deserves objective analysis, beyond simply saying NivenBond isn't Bond. 

    -Fleming himself once suggested Niven for the part, but I don't see it, even if the part were written differently. His looks and persona do not fit even the character Fleming wrote.

    -Niven also made Around the World in 80 Days, another disappointing film based on a very good book. The two films are similar with their platoon of cameos overwhelming any plot.

    -At least Niven seems to be trying. Two of the biggest CONs are actually personal movie heroes of mine I would have expected to save this film, yet they chose to sabotage it.


    -Peter Sellers is especially a problem. Behind the scenes he had some sort of conflict with Welles, meaning (1) the two actors' lines were filmed separately and spliced together, and then (2) Sellers quit the film before finishing his scenes. Thus it's ultimately his fault a lot of the weaker material was added to pad things out. 

    -I expect several of the bits where Sellers breaks character and does funny voices were adlibs not intended to be in the final film, but after he quit they were desperate for any Sellers content actually captured on film.

    -The scenes with both Sellers and Orson Welles are clearly spliced together from separate shoots, with no natural flow to their dialog.

    -wikipedia claims the opening and closing scenes were written and filmed after Sellers quit, to pad out the completed material. The beginning and ending sequences are actually far worse than the bits in the middle, suggesting the film could have been rather better if Sellers had only completed his work. Many of the abrupt edits in the middle would also have been avoided if a few further scenes with Sellers had been filmed.


    -It took five directors to make this, four of whom I've never heard of. Yet three of the greatest directors in all movie history have acting roles in this film. And two of these three did not direct, not even the one that actually makes funny movies. The one who does is another big problem.

    -John Huston (the Maltese Falcon) did direct, and his section (first scene and McTarry Castle) is unfunny, incomprehensible and dreadfully paced, and takes up the first 30 minutes. Also nothing to do with James Bond despite the names Bond, M and SMERSH being used. Did Huston even read the book? What did he think he was doing? 

    -Some material found online suggests he too wrote his own content uncredited, and like Sellers walked off the film before completing his scenes. His character's death and immediate transition to the McTarry Castle sequence is particularly abrupt, as if scenes were missing.

    -Greatest of the five directors somehow directed the worst sequence (except maybe the final scenes) and it's the very start of the film. I imagine many viewers never even make it as far as the content with Sellers, as the Huston content has made such a poor first impression. 


    -Another alltime great director, does not direct but plays the villain. Orson Welles insisted on performing magic tricks instead of playing his part properly, and somehow alienated Sellers. In general, the once great director was really slumming it at this point in his career, doing anything for a paycheck, even this. 

    (Woody Allen, the third great director acting here, is actually good in his brief scenes)


    -Terrence Cooper was hired to play Bond, before Sellers, when Feldman conceded he was not going to get Connery. Looks like he could have been in one of those mid60s lo-budget EuroSpy Bond knockoffs. His character is introduced as if he's going to be important, kisses girls for a few scenes, then disappears before randomly appearing in the final scenes without explanation (was Sellers originally meant to be alongside Niven in the final scenes?)


    -What is with the editing? It's not just Sellers abruptly disappearing, also the assassination of McTarry and sudden jump to the second act. There are weird edits throughout. Unfunny scenes drag on forever, then there are random edits with what look like outtakes inserted without explanation. 

    -Fantastic set design, but all these spies lead such ostentatious lifestyles. How do they ever get any spying done?


    -Makes Never Say Never Again look good in comparison.

    -Makes the Climax Mystery Theatre version look good in comparison.

    -Makes What's New Pussycat look good in comparison.

    -Makes Around the World in 80 Days look good in comparison.

    -Makes Matt Helm look good in comparison, albeit this is more artistically ambitious.

    etcetera...

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent

    Gosh after one week no Comments and only 21 Views, and I know at least two of those Views were me! This may be the least popular ajb007 thread ever, no one even opens it to see what the Pros and Cons might be?

    When I watched the film last weekend I did lots of research and was all excited, planning to post some of what I learned and some interesting links. But probably I've already forgotten what I learned a week ago so just as well. I should be reserving those brain-cells for work related information, not background trivia about this film.


    But I will recommend the "Watch along" thread Higgins organised a year ago as part of a series with all the better liked James Bond films...

    AJB live commentary on Casino Royale 1967

    ...in which a worldwide panel of your favourite experts all watched the film simultaneously, and shared live their commentary and critiques.


    and if somebody really wants to post "Pros: none, Cons: all", go for it, I apologise for imposing rules.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,520Chief of Staff

    Apologies for not contributing to this thread, cp, but I think I said everything I have to say on this film in the watchalong thread you linked to above.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    It is insane and terrible, but that's possibly in the 'pros's list for me! It's a real experience, and so of its time that I can't judge it like a normal film. Objectively it's bad, but as an experience it's very impressive! And there are a couple of gags in there which do even land.


    The 'poison pen' gag Caractacus mentions is all the more bizarre because, after the Q of this film actually derides it for being an obvious joke that all of the prospective 'Bonds' go for, the real Bond later uses it for real in Octopussy! Such an odd choice!

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent

    thanks for playing @emtiem !

    in fairness, a Pros-and-Cons-ification should only be done fresh from a re-watch, otherwise the temptation is to repeat conventional wisdom rather than objectively noticing the details. And since I probably wont re-watch this film for another decade, I don't expect any one else to subject themselves either. But I do hope to throw out some topics for discussion.

    ____________________

    Barbel said:

    Apologies for not contributing to this thread, cp, but I think I said everything I have to say on this film in the watchalong thread you linked to above.

    yeh I just read through that entire thread myself, a lot of great info and spontaneous reactions in that thread. @Shady Tree as usual makes very perceptive and fairminded comments, and on the last page @Thunderbird 2 gives a great capsule summary of all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, resulting in the film we got. Backscene story is actually more interesting than what made it on screen. Feldman's early death within a year is very tragic, as with Fleming himself, the stress of trying to get a BondFilm made led to an early grave. He shoulda just agreed to collaborate with EON when he had the chance.

    Weren't those watchalong threads going to get moved somewhere more appropriate once all done? There's so much great info in those threads, and the real-time reactions are better than more conventional reviews.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,520Chief of Staff

    Yes, there was indeed a plan to do just that. However, the site changeover may have made that a more arduous task than it would have previously been. Leave it with me, but no promises at the moment.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,197MI6 Agent

    Hi Potts, you possibly made the cardinal sin of giving such a brilliant first post on this that there was nothing more to add! Very interesting reading, btw, good stuff.

    There was a piece in the Times last year about another version of Casino Royale that was going to be made, a lot of secrecy about it and it featured an exploding volcano which made it in to YOLT so maybe some espionage going on between writers and studios.

    Pros: The second half, the inspiration also for Austin Powers (though a heck of a lot of stuff was imo, even OHMSS and Matt Helm too, plus The Look of Love turns up in AP, sung by Susannah Hoffs this time round) and it would appear that Bond's jealous nemesis would be the inspiration for Blofeld in Spectre all those years later!

    Also, the way it briefly pops up in the Geoffrey Rush film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. The entire thing warrants a book along the lines of Devil's Candy (about the making of The Bonfire of the Vanities) or The Battle for Bond by, I don't know, Robert Sellers, no relation to Peter I assume though I'm not altogether sure. That book dealt with the genesis of Thunderball.

    The Fritz Lang scenes with Ronnie Corbett are good, plus that woman who pops up in all sorts of things like The Avengers and maybe the Beatles' Help! movie (or maybe as the star-struck passerby who accosts Lennon in A Hard Day's Night, then goes off him suddenly.)

    Some very very good gags: 'The first time I've been around with a John' and 'I have a very low threshold of death' and the entire albeit short firing squad scene with Woody Allen. The theme tune by Herb Albert is pretty funky if not quite in Bond's world.

    The film also uncannily predicts the overkill of the Bond films when - let's remember - You Only Live Twice had yet to be released.

    It may have led to the big production values and excess of YOLT, just as a competitor such as NSNA did for Octopussy in 83 and xXx did for Die Another Day - not really a good thing of course but there you go.

    Calvin Dyson's YouTube review of this film is ace.

    The 007 Magazine special does this and then, reversed in the second half, Never Say Never Again and is quite good.

    Cons: It's crap.

    It's the first half hour that kills it, all the John Huston stuff as M - he looks nothing like M, from the films or the book. Again, Niven is nothing like Bond here, it's almost like they're afraid of what they've got their hands on. It's a spoof I guess as if to say, look this guy is Bond but really he's nothing like Bond - but sort of shoots itself in the foot.

    More a pro than a con perhaps but the whole thing has a steampunk vibe before it existed. A con, because many such films just don't work or score at the box office, such as Connery's swan song, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman but also Wild Wild West.

    Where is this Casino Royale, I mean the actual casino, even set? In the south of France? This could have had the vibe of The Cannonball Run - a film I don't much like either - with characters all converging for various reasons on the casino, making their way there...

    I know the score is meant to be great but I hate a lot of it, esp when one 'Bond' called 'Coop' is auditioning women by snogging them, it is just toe curlingly awful.

    Of course, the scenes at the end where Frankenstein crashes through walls was homaged in the opening of the actual Casino Royale where a hooded eye lidded Bond crashes through a wall in his pursuit of the free runner.

    The interest in the film and box office success of sorts did encourage the real Bond producers that they had a franchise that would survive irrespective of Connery. All the same, for me OHMSS shares some of the queasiness of Casino Royale in that it somehow just isn't a Bond film in its feel, there's something cheesy about it, a bit desperate, a bit try hard.

    But as critic John Brosnan later wrote, how do you spoof a series that is generally self-spoofing?

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,197MI6 Agent

    Oh, one thing re Niven. You'll know he was friends with Fleming, who had a big role in the commando aspects of World War II and came up with the whole Operation Dynamo was it - the whole Man Who Never Was feint where they plant a dead body in the seas and let it be washed ashore, a top documentary and book by Ben MacIntyre dealt with this. Niven was in Operation Dieppe, a dry run for D-day and a bloody disaster possibly because of a traitor in their midst tipped off the enemy - so the whole double cross stakes in the book CR were for real.

    Niven is a light comic actor quite a lot and not Hoagy Carmichael at all but it's worth pointing out that he was a more accessible Englishman than the stuffed shirts and stiff upper lip type. He was also a shag magnet of the highest order and banged the likes of Merle Oberon into oblivion along with many others, his wife died in a tragic accident. Bond elements are there but he took part in the Dieppe raid I think and as an action man was no slouch at all. He played a Bond type character in Where The Spies Are (albeit an unwitting innocent in the spy game who becomes disillusioned with it all, the usual staple) in the mid 60s; okay I can't really see it and he tended to be the sort of character who is rarely the leading man but when he is needs lots of people around him to make up for a kind of vacant quality - Hugh Grant is the same really.

    I don't know if Jim Dale wouldn't have made a fine spoof James Bond but Carry On duties might have detained him.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,197MI6 Agent

    Finally - and now I'll be the one complaining that nobody's adding anything to this! - it's odd to recall that of course both Niven and Sellers had starred together before in that decade, in the immensely successful comedy smash The Pink Panther.

    Yet the film was meant as a vehicle for Niven mainly, It was only after Peter Ustinov - Niven's co-star and author of The Way Ahead all those years before - dropped out that it went to Peter Sellers, who turned the role into something beyond the call of duty. In Niven's bio, someone says that as the film progressed, Niven sort of felt the film slipping away from him. Later, when called upon to present an award at the Oscars (I think) the orchestra was set to play the Pink Panther theme but Niven had a quiet word with them, saying 'I don't really think that's my tune, I can't claim the credit for that' so they went with the music to Around the World in 80 Days instead.

    Niven had an 'always the bridesmaid never the bride' attitude to his movie career, feeling he was never quite making it, and of course he hung out with A-list movie stars so like the Prime Minister due to the company they keep, always feel they're the poor relation, relatively speaking. This sounds crazy in view of the classics Niven has been in over the decades: Raffles, Wuthering Heights, The Way Ahead, The First of Few, A Matter of Life and Death, Kavanagah QC, Separate Tables, The Pink Panther, Death on the Nile and so on, but these as stated are over the decades. Niven didn't get that bona fide movie career where films are set up just for you and you know where the next pay check is coming from. In that respect he was a bit like Hugh Grant, he's good if he's in a good film. (Grant has invested wisely and is ahead financially).

    Now, Casino Royale was again Niven's chance to do a smash hit movie even if it wouldn't have legs but be a one-off. Once again, as with The Pink Panther, the film was taken from him by Sellers, not due to his co-stars scene stealing genius but another kind of scene stealing - he just didn't show up, so much of the film had to be jettisoned or worked around. Not quite sure how Sellers didn't get sued into bankruptcy for that behaviour - you would now.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent
    edited May 12

    Napoleon Plural said;

    Hi Potts, you possibly made the cardinal sin of giving such a brilliant first post on this that there was nothing more to add! Very interesting reading, btw, good stuff.

    Very kind of you to say, Mr Plural. Thing is when I made the whine, there'd only been 21 views after a week, meaning people hadn't even opened the thread to read my First Post, worthy or not. I think the very topic is toxic, normal well adjusted Bond fans don't want to micro-analyse this film. But I promise I wont whine again about nobody responding to one of my threads (only about the tenth or so I ever started by the way, I prefer to bump older existing threads so all can see the previous conversation)

    But Napoleon you I know you are a freethinker and I can trust you to find quality in lesser loved films, so your participation is very much appreciated. And even better...

    Napoleon Plural said;

    I know the score is meant to be great but I hate a lot of it, esp when one 'Bond' called 'Coop' is auditioning women by snogging them, it is just toe curlingly awful.

    ...you don't like the one aspect usually conceded as a PRO! Bonus points for your Iconoclasm!

    Now let's see someone argue all those beautiful women are a CON.


    Peter Sellers and David Niven both also appeared in Hope and Crosby's Road to Hong Kong, a spyspoof that looks exactly like a Bond film before there was Bond films. They don't appear together, and Niven's basically in it for 15 seconds. But he is studying some sort of mystic mumbojumbo in the Alps, compare with his origin story in Casino Royale which has something to do with Tibet (and also to watch a better spyspoof).

    Napoleon Plural said;

    The entire thing warrants a book along the lines of Devil's Candy (about the making of The Bonfire of the Vanities) or The Battle for Bond by, I don't know, Robert Sellers, no relation to Peter I assume though I'm not altogether sure. That book dealt with the genesis of Thunderball.

    I thought in the watchalong thread someone mentioned there was a book of some sort. There oughta be, the backstory of the film is so much more interesting than what made it on screen. Anybody know if there was ever a book on the making of Casino Royale (the "funny" version)?


    One more thing about that painful first half hour: this doesn't apply today, but when I was a lad, whenever this film came on television, it was always on after Saturday Night Live, so you had to stay up til 4 in the morning to watch the whole thing. I guess teevee programmers had long figured out this film was only of interest to insomniacs and drug enthusiasts (who would laugh at anything). But as we all know, it's a chore just getting to the end of SNL because all the good sketches are before Weekend Update and they save the less funny experimental stuff to fill the last half hour. So audiences are already exhausted and not laughing when this movie would finally begin at 1am, I'm sure entire generations switched it off long before Sellers appeared.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,197MI6 Agent

    The Look of Love is great - I bought the single on vinyl on eBay a month or so ago - and the brassy theme song sassy but the rest of it...

    Bits and bobs on the making of the film will be in any Sellers bio. Funny stuff about Sellers saying he had some strange feeling he couldn't make it back on set and Charlie Feldman saying, he had a funny feeling Sellers would get his legs broken if he didn't... Not much in the Niven bios, though.

    I'm reminded of Mystery Theatre 3000's take on these kinds of films, I think they did Operation Kidbrother didn't they, sadly topical today as I understand star Neil Connery - Sean's brother - had just died.

    The Road to Hong Kong is worth a look - you can find my review on imdb, I'm the one who mentions the comparison to the implied theesome with Joan Collins at the end and her antics in the likes of The Stud 10 or so years later.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,588MI6 Agent

    I have hated this film with a passion since it was released in '67 when I was 10 years old. First of all (and this is actually a bit humorous now, but not at the time for me) my older brother would tease me that Connery quit and Peter Sellars was the new "funny" Bond. So here I was, 10 years old and looking at the very real (to a 10 yr old) idea that my hero, Sean Connery / James Bond 007 was being turned into Inspector Clouseau. Anyway, the more adult me thinks very little of the '67 CR spoof. The only things I ever have enjoyed about the film are Woody Allen because he is actually "funny", the score (incl The Look of Love, but I disagree that it is better than all the Barry themes), and the plethora of beautiful women.

    This is how much I dislike CR '67.......if I had to choose, I would rather sit through Operation Kid Brother/OK Connery.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent
    edited June 8

    awesome real time reaction, @HowardB . I always wonder how these things were perceived at the time they came out, before their importance was defined by the history books, and whose reaction is going to be more honest than a ten year old's!

    as I say I had to stay up til four in the morning to watch it, viewed it in a somnambulant stupor, and had to find some way to justify that sacrifice of valuable time I could have spent sleeping.


    I realise I originally wrote the Look of Love is "objectively" better than any Bondsong Barry wrote. Don't know why I chose that word, I've just now amended it to "arguably". I don't believe the quality of a work of art can be judged objectively, except maybe in purely technical terms, and not being a musician I cant judge technique. I do think subjectively it is better, but that may change next time I watch the credits of a proper Bond movie.

    I think Barbel argued elsewhere We Have All the Time in the World may equal it for beauty. But I'd say that record is dependent on Louis Armstrong's voice, plus the background knowledge it was his last recording. I've never heard a cover. Whereas the Look of Love is a jazz standard, and I've heard some versions even more seductive than the original.

    For the record, my favourite Barry-written BondSongs are You Only Live Twice and Diamonds are Forever. But that too could easily change next time I watch one of the others.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,520Chief of Staff

    Oh, there are covers of WHATTITW out there

    Though I would wouldn't waste my time with any of them bar the David Arnold one with Iggy Pop doing the vocal.

    https://youtu.be/_wxj884Q6-w

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,405MI6 Agent
    edited June 8

    thanks for finding those We Have All the Time in the World covers @Barbel!

    and interesting to hear Iggy sing a proper ballad, his voice is uncharacteristically smooth. I like the accordion arrangement in the Puppini Sisters version, but in both versions the vocal is too precise and lacks the emotion Satchmo put into it. That is actually one way I rate inherent quality of a song, is can it be covered, will it ever become a standard?


    it is ironic to be attempting to define the inherent quality of a work of art, when discussing a film that would be a long forgotten footnote to history if it didn't have the James Bond name attached. I've been watching a few other big bloated mid-1960s comedies lately (Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, for example) which arent much remembered today, but they are funnier and more cleverly constructed than Casino Royale. Yet it is Casino Royale that remains in print and gets discussed simply because it is technically/legally a James Bond film.

  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,588MI6 Agent

    The Russians Are Coming is a coherent, well crafted, well acted, funny film with a great premise and some great performances by some great comic actors (the film was nominated for four Oscars, incl Best Picture, Best Actor (Alan Arkin), Best Screenplay, & Best Editing. It was also a hit.

    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World is a mess, but it actually has some great comic and comic action set pieces, can actually be followed and is a fun watch (especially if you got to see it in the theater in all its Ultra Panavision 70 Cinerama splendor as I was lucky enough to do).

    CR 67 doesn't even belong in any conversation with The Russians Are Coming, which is IMO, a classic and while IAMMMMW is not great IMO it is a far superior film on all levels than CR 67.

    I will say, it is a shame that EON and Feldman could not come to an agreement to co-produce CR as part of the series. It could have been another "Connery Classic". That being said, justice was finally done years down the line and what a perfect start to the Craig era.

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