11/27/2014  
Day of the Mummy on DVD Dec 9Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special on DVD Dec 9Field Of Lost Shoes on DVD Dec 2What If on DVD & Blu-ray Nov 25Hart To Hart: Season 3 on DVD Dec 9The Simpsons: Season 17 on DVD & Blu-ray Dec 2Robin Williams Remembered - Pioneers of Television on DVD Dec 2

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

One Direction Score Fourth Number One Album With ‘Four’...
"Dancing with the Stars" season 19 crowns a winner ...
Day of the Mummy on DVD Dec 9...
Demi Lovato Talks Miley Cyrus: "I Have Nothing in Commo...
5 Things That Should Be In Katy Perry's Super Bowl Half...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (BLU-RAY)...
AIN'T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH: A FILM ABOUT LEVON HELM (BLU...
THE LADY (BLU-RAY)...
SWAMP THING (BLU-RAY)...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...
NORMAN MAILER: THE AMERICAN...
DARK SHADOWS: THE GREATEST EPISODES COLLECTION - FAN FA...
JACK KEROUAC - KING OF THE BEATS...

MZ Mark Zimmer

Take Part in a Film Restoration...
STORAGE WARS: SEASON ONE...
LOST KEATON...
BLACK NARCISSUS (BLU-RAY)...
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY (BLU-...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...
BASEBALL'S GREATEST GAMES: 1986 WORLD SERIES GAME 6...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...
THE TROUBLE WITH TOLSTOY...
HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN TWO HOURS...
ANATOMY OF A MURDER...
BASIL DEARDEN'S LONDON UNDERGROUND (ECLIPSE SERIES 25)...

RR Rich Rosell

AFTER.LIFE...
NOTE BY NOTE: THE MAKING OF STEINWAY L1037...
VAMPIRE PARTY...
GIMME SHELTER (BLU-RAY)...
THE CREW...

JC Joel Cunningham

WINGS OF DESIRE...
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS...
MONSOON WEDDING...
PIERROT LE FOU...
SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

DH Dan Heaton

NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

JU Jeff Ulmer

THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MGM Studios DVD presents
Casino Royale (1967)

"You can't shoot me! I have a very low threshold of death. My doctor says I can't have bullets enter my body at any time."
- Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 20, 2003

Stars: Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven
Other Stars: Joanna Pettet, Orson Welles, Daliah Lavi, Woody Allen
Director: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Robert Parrish, Joe McGrath

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes, sexuality, mild violence)
Run Time: 02h:17m:00s
Release Date: October 15, 2002
UPC: 027616880208
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+BB B

DVD Review

As with the modern day Scream movies and their Scary Movie spoof counterparts, no sooner had the Bond franchise established itself than up popped a crop of parodies. The Flint films were first, but Casino Royale is by far the most elaborate. David Niven plays Bond, and he's backed by a massive cast filled with some of the era's most well-known character actors. Truthfully, what's onscreen isn't all that impressive. The cumbersome spoof runs well over two hours and is basically a string of separate sketches with little coherent plot to tie them together. The emphasis is on "mod" happenings and bright colors. Jokes fall by the wayside in favor of elaborate production design and gratuitous cameos.

There are certainly worthwhile elements. The plot, such as it is, follows the antics of bumbling MI5 agents who, in an attempt to thwart an assassination attempt on James, have all adopted the 007 code number. A connection is suspected between the evil Russian organization SMERSH and gambler and malevolent villain Le Chiffre (Orson Welles), and slick gambler Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) is brought in to do a little spying. Of course, none of this really matters, since about five percent of the running time is actually spent on developing a coherent story.

Elaborate side plots and nonsensical humor is the order of the day, and truthfully, the saving grace. Despite the stunt casting (and a smooth secret agent turn from Niven), the plot thread is easily the film's weakest element. I much preferred the sketches and running gags. Great moments include a scene set at spy school, some broad theatricality from Welles, and a typically brilliant bit of physical comedy from Woody Allen (who doesn't get enough credit for said, methinks). Overall, there are as many segments that don't work as do, but the elaborate production design gives you something to look at even during the spotty bits (i.e. anytime Andress and Sellers are together).

It seems the real entertainment was going on behind-the-scenes. With a script that was retooled by as many as ten writers (including such luminaries as Billy Wilder and Allen) and no less than five directors (John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Robert Parrish, and Joe McGrath) producing unrelated segments, it's a wonder that the film was able to be edited together at all. The stories from the set are legendary. It's said that Peter Sellers and Orson Welles loathed each other, and refused to film their scenes together, necessitating the use of frequent cutaways (though there is at least one shot in which they do appear together). Sellers wasn't popular with the producers either, creating problems on-set with his prima donna attitude. When he decided to take an unannounced day off, he was asked not to come back, and the end of the film was rewritten to account for his absence.

Casino Royale is definitely a product of the era in which it was made. The obscure humor and mod sensibilities will likely be lost on younger audiences. These days, the film is probably most influential for the continued success of singer Burt Bacharach—his enduring The Look of Love was itself spoofed in the Austin Powers films. Despite all of its faults, Casino Royale is worth revisiting, if only as a historical oddity. I think it's safe to say that no one will remember Not Another Teen Movie in 35 years.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Though it didn't receive a full restoration, MGM has done a nice job glitzing up Casino Royale for its DVD debut. The colors look nice and bright, though not quite as eye-popping as the colorful films these days. Black level is pretty solid, and shadow detail is decent. There's a lot of detail onscreen that comes across nicely, though I did spot some occasional artifacting in places. For a 35-year-old, there's very little visible wear on the source materials.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: MGM has also pumped up the original mono track with a 5.1 DD remix (though the original mono track is included for purists). The real benefit of the remix is to the music, which is nicely spread across the front soundstage and into the surrounds, and which is leveled differently within the film as well, balancing it better with other elements in the mix. The dialogue is also a little clearer, anchored nicely in the center channel. Mind you, a remixed mono track will never sound as good as a modern mix, but this is a very nice effort.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Original Casino Royale Made-for-TV Movie
Extras Review: Casino Royale has a small but vocal cult following, and for years DVD fans on the Internet were clamoring for its release. Many thought it would never come due to legal snags related to the film's status as a Bond picture. Happily, they were wrong. Better still, MGM was the studio to get the rights. And though it isn't billed as a special edition, the included extras are much more than I was expecting.

First is a very, very appreciated inclusion, and the type of thing DVD extras were invented to include. In 1954, TV's Climax Theater produced a live, made-for-television adaptation of Fleming's novel, starring American Barry Nelson as 007. The black-and-white production, which was first broadcast live, is a pretty dull affair, despite some decent production design and fairly good camerawork. Thank goodness United Artists realized that the only real Bond is a British Bond. Oddly enough, an Australian, Michael Pate, fills the Felix Leiter role. Look for Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre. The program, which runs about an hour, is more of a curiosity than anything else, which makes it a perfect inclusion on the bonus features page.

There's also a glossy, informative 20-minute making-of hosted by Val Guest, who takes us through the troubled and tumultuous production of the picture. He talks about on-set feuds, general confusion among the actors, and a total lack of cooperation between the directors. Guest is too polite to badmouth his contemporaries, but he does serve up plenty of juicy gossip.

Rounding out the disc is a quirky theatrical trailer. Note that the 007 nickname appears nowhere on the disc or packaging. Fleming is mentioned in the credits on the back (his book "inspired" the film) in a tiny, near-illegible font.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

An overblown, overlong, unwieldy spoof, Casino Royale is more a historical oddity than a successful farce. It plays like a sketch comedy show, and like latter era SNL, more bits fail than not, but the cast is worth watching and the Burt Bacharach score is definitely worth hearing. Kudos to MGM for treating another bit of cult entertainment with the respect its fans deserve.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

music, one direction, four, take me home, midnight memories, taylor swift’s 1989, television, dancing with the stars, alfonso ribeiro, witney carson, sadie robertson, mark ballas, janel parrish, val chmerkovskiy, horror, celebrity, demi lavato, miley cyrus, the tj show, heart attack, sonny with a chance, disney channel stars, sports, katy perry, superbowl, half time, comedy, drama, saturday night live, michael che, bill cosby, cameron diaz, beyonce, 7/11, american music awards, sunday, movie, hunger games: mockingjay-part 1, danny strong, christian toto, john nolte, sarah seltzer, documentary, action, foo fighters, beat the bots tour, 2015, sonic highways, fenway park in boston, wrigley field in chicago, citi field in new york, rfk stadium in washington d.c., chris pratt, guardians of the galaxy, dave chappelle, shailene woodley, ansel elgort, steve carell, michael sam, judi dench, esio trot, bbc, philomena, dustin hoffman, richard curtis, sci-fi, james bond, christoph waltz, daniel craig, ralph fiennes, ben whishaw, naomie harris, patrick schwarzenegger, adore you, arnold schwarzenegger, maria schriver, family, the big bang theory, mrs. wolowitz, carol ann susi, breast cancer, jennifer actress, plunging neckline

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Snappy Planet

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store