My understanding is that Eon&MGM bought the rights to it along with CR67 and NSNA back in the late 90s, until then it used to be released on VHS by small time distribution labels.
its a bonus feature on some versions of the "funny version" dvd.
I have it on this edition, with the silhouette cover. Can you get this where you live?
this version however is missing the last two minutes, which you can at least find online here, if you've never seen how Jimmy survives.
was the complete version ever released on dvd?
I've definitely seen it for sale in British shops back in the 90s and possibly the 80s, but that may have been a "grey market" edition.
I know it was a bonus feature on certain editions of CR67.
Edit: As to "why" that's clearly a rights issue. The history of the CR rights is very convoluted. Briefly, the rights changed hands several times before ending up with Eon making their 2006 version- undeniably the best.
Edit 2: as to "complete" version, it's an urban myth that Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre got up and walked off after being killed. However, there are different edits regarding the ending.
I wonder why they left out those last two minutes? Why bother doing that🤔
The Casino Royale episode was lost for decades after its 1954 broadcast until a black and white kinescope of the live broadcast was located by film historian Jim Schoenberger in 1981. The episode aired on TBS as part of a Bond film marathon. The original 1954 broadcast had been in color, and the VHS release and TBS presentation did not include the last two minutes, which were at that point still lost. Eventually, the missing footage (minus the last seconds of the end credits) was found and included on a Spy Guise & Cara Entertainment VHS release. MGM subsequently included the incomplete version on its first DVD release of the 1967 film Casino Royale.
So if I read that right, the complete version was found before the dvd I have, since there was a VHS release of it. Either the dvd manufacturers didn't know about the complete version, or did not have the rights?
what is a kinescope? again from wikipedia:
...a recording of a television program on motion picture film, directly through a lens focused on the screen of a video monitor. The process was pioneered during the 1940s for the preservation, re-broadcasting and sale of television programmes before the introduction of videotape, which from 1956 eventually superseded the use of kinescopes for all of these purposes. Kinescopes were the only practical way to preserve live television broadcasts prior to videotape.
Here's something interesting and surprising to me. Even though color TV's were pretty rare at the time (even in the US in 1954) the original live broadcast of CR '54 was actually broadcast in color. Unfortunately this was before videotape and kinescopes were only filmed on black and white 16mm film.....so a one shot deal for color.