Casino Royale (1967)

Not officially appearing in the Bond canon, "Casino Royale" pulls no punches in letting everyone know that it is a parody—blistering, ridiculous, and often very funny. Considering that only a few James Bond movies had been made, "Casino Royale" is very intelligent for being able to pick up on some of the staples that would appear throughout the series...and then mocking them with bitter disdain. There are some moments of the film that feel somewhat vindictive—for what reason, I'm not sure—but when it all boils up to a Mel Brooks style ending, that much is forgivable.
"Casino Royale", not to be confused with the Daniel Craig Bond movie to come many decades later, begins with men trying to pull James Bond out from retirement. It's been said that Ian Fleming wanted David Niven to play Bond, but the part went to Sean Connery instead. Here, Niven appears as Sir James Bond, the real gentlemen spy. He's very sophisticated, rarely crass, and often indulges in playing Debussy for hours on end.
But the people of the world need the real James Bond back. For years MI6 has given the name "James Bond" along with the agent number "007" to various people, letting ruffians run around as the famous spy. To the real man, it's kind of insulting, after all, he is a gentlemen who believes that espionage can occurs without poison pens, exploding briefcases, and Aston-Martins that squirt oil out the back.
But these people are trickier than one might assume. Their various dealings lead Bond to Scotland, where the big bad guy, concealed in shadows, wants his spies to taint the man's celibate name. He hires sexy women to seduce Bond.
What Bond draws as a result from his interactions is that agents need to be protected against sexy women. He holds anti-sexy women training, where sultry females try to entice men and then they get thrown to the ground, karate-style.
All secret agents are being killed, even Bond's nephew Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen in a hilarious cameo).
In order to confuse the enemy, Bond gives his name and number to every agent in the field. Now flooded with tales of tens of James Bonds, the mysterious man known as Le Chiffre, will have to reconsider his plan...whatever that is.
Preying on the weaknesses of the Bond franchise is pretty easy, and no one can do it better than "Casino Royale"'s six unofficial directors.
This work feels much like "Airplane!" and "Blazing Saddles" combined...which is not a bad thing.
True, there are moments that the movie overindulges in its oddity, but for the most part, underneath all the silly one-liners and biting remarks, "Casino Royale" is a pretty smart movie.
Much like the film "Clue", you'll probably love this movie or hate it with a passion. I really liked it, but that doesn't mean its great...after all, it's parodying the Bond franchise, something it hopes to be just as famous as. Sadly, this movie gets forgotten about.
A huge cast and a large budgets paired with a merciless script make "Casino Royale" fun all the way through.

Score: ★★★

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