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Casino Royale

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Casino Royale

Starring: Peter Sellers, David Niven
Director: John Huston
Rated: NR
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: April 1967
Genres: 007, Comedy


*Also starring: Woody Allen, William Holden, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, John Huston, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jacqueline Bisset



Review by Andrew Hicks
2 stars out of 4

This is a royale mess. Supposedly parodying the James Bond films of the 60's, this turns into a confusing, bland, rarely funny movie that's even more episodic and cliched than the movies it parodies. The only redeeming feature is the assemblage of talent. David Niven plays Bond, old and retired, who is drawn back as head of the British secret service after M's murder. Ursula Andress, who co-starred in the real Bond movie DR. NO, plays the traditional Bond girl, with PINK PANTHER star Peter Sellers as the traditional Bond. Also starring are villains Woody Allen (as the sex-obsessed, neurotic Dr. Noah) and card-shark Orson "Macbeth" Welles, who contribute the only truly memorable performances in the movie.

CASINO ROYALE is for the most part indecipherable. Niven, at the beginning, is staying with M's widow and her eleven beautiful daughters, all between the ages of sixteen and nineteen (coincidentally, this has always been my idea of what heaven will be like). The ladies all put the moves on Bond, who has gained some morals since retiring, in an attempt to corrupt him. (Why this is relevant to the plot is beyond me.) Bond gets out of that jam after about thirty minutes and heads to headquarters, where he finds Miss Moneypenny's beautiful daughter has taken her place and seems to have the same intentions her mother did. Bond displaces her and gets down to business.

The plan here is to confuse the enemy by making every agent 007, James Bond, including the ladies. The main Bond is an author- turned-spy who is recruited to play poker against Welles. There's also some harem girl who's the daughter of Bond and Mata Hari, and a few other identical beauties to confuse viewers. Sure, the James Bond series is ripe for parody, with the far-fetched action and sexist views, but CASINO ROYALE doesn't follow the formula at all. It goes in another direction without ever actually being a parody. It has some of the same Bond characters, but they're nothing like their actual counterparts. It's a slow-mover with a bland climax. You could say it has a license to suck.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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