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Being a Bond fan, procuring the video of this original broadcast was neither
an easy feat nor overlooked in its importance. The October 21, 1954 episode
of "Climax!" was the first time James Bond appeared on-screen, and nearly
half a century later Bond is still making movies.
The "live" quality of the show makes it all that much more enjoyable; the spontaneity of the lines spoken and the fact that the actors are working with an actual time limit makes for a show in which the flow is constant and consistent, the interest is kept to an expected level, and the characters are more realistic. These are qualities which cannot be replicated in some 20 overly planned and rehearsed later Bond films - but this only makes Casino Royale different - not better.
It is certainly entertaining, to say the least, to watch the original characterization of "Jimmy" Bond - a fast-talking American agent - and compare it to the amazingly developed cool-headedness of today's 007. What a difference 45 years can make!
I have only seen a few of these shows, they are pretty rare to see. One of them was "Trail of Terror" with Robert Preston and Diana Lynn in 1957. It was a live tv production, about the murder of a Dr., Lynn's husband. Preston was great in this as the police detective, and Lynn gave one of her typically latter day great tv performances. She acted on television from 1950 to 1965 and really expanded her range of acting; this was a typical great one as the grieving wife who almost goes against her values but is able to right her mistake at the last minute. Another excellent episode of Climax, and they are basically one hour long live films, was Katherine Ann Porter's "Pale Horse, Pale Rider." It starred Dorothy McGuire and John Forsythe, the second of their live television performances (they had earlier starred in a 1951 live remake of Dark Victory). Pale Horse, Pale Rider was a beautiful love story set in 1918, with the backdrop of WWI and the Spanish Flu, from which more Americans died than did American soldiers in WWI. This was one of the last, really, of McGuire's romantic roles and she is typically beautiful, charming, and lovely in it. It is one of her best television roles and she is very moving as the girl who falls in love only once. All in all, Climax was a great show from the ones I have seen and I wish I could see more!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wanted to see the original Casino Royale, and when I finally did, I
wasn't expecting much, but all up, I was pretty disappointed. It's
alright, but pretty weak.
It's live, so done like a play, but isn't that good. I apparently saw a version which had the last minute cut from it, so maybe the reason I don't like it so much is that I was disappointed when it ended.
Black and white doesn't bother me, so it wouldn't make much different whether it was colour or not. I actually don't think it would look as good in colour to be honest. I was surprised to hear that Ian Flemming had preffered this too Dr. No and the other official movies.
Acting is very good, I can't complain about it, and the story doesn't add much at all to flemmings novel, but took a lot away.
People say this casino royale is great, but all up, I can't see why.
Just for information purposes: if you buy the spoof of Casino Royale
(David Niven, Peter Sellers, et al) on DVD, this Climax episode is
included on it under the special features category.
The sound and video quality was not the greatest, but was about what I expected for a copy of TV video. Of the two, I prefer the spoof - Peter Sellers makes a great Bond and I loved it when he had to put on his glasses to shoot the cork off Ursula Andress' champaign bottle. If you've never seen the spoof and like Austin Powers, you should rent it. Soundtrack is good too. ; ; ; ;
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, I totally agree when the other users say that CLIMAX was a great TV
show. And so rare too. I don't think that any one would be able to get
all the 166 episodes !!!
I have already watched some of them. Some are actually amazing, such this one starring Vincent Price, as a very bad husband and father - NIGHT HUNT or NIGHT KILL, something like that...A great episode with a twist ending in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents manner. That's exactly what I love in this kind of TV series. But what I quite don't understand about CLIMAX is WHY making episodes that are the perfect copycats of great classics such as HUCKLEBERRY FINN or DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE...
WHY THE HELL ????
What's the use to show the audiences the exact story of films every one has already seen?
CLIMAX was not the only show to do this. I watched some others which did the same thing. LAURA, KISS OF DEATH, and many more classics made again for TV shows...
I hate that.
I only look for short stories in the AH Presents manner.
The director could not yell, "Cut!", so, when Peter Lorre's character dies, he lies there briefly. When he thinks the show is over, he gets up and walks off the set! He probably thought he was playing Rasputin. This is a prime example of the pitfalls of live television.
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