Casino Royale (1967) Poster



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The rift between Orson Welles and Peter Sellers was partly caused by the arrival on set of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Sellers knew her of old and greeted her in an ostentatious manner to ensure all cast and crew noticed. However, the Princess walked straight past him and made a big fuss over Welles. Nonplussed, Sellers stormed off the set and refused to film with Welles again.
Peter Sellers and Orson Welles hated each other so much that the filming of the scene where both of them face each other across a gaming table actually took place on different days with a double standing in for one the actors.
According to interviews with director Val Guest, Peter Sellers became such a problem during the filming that the decision was made to fire him before he had finished all of his scenes. As a result, the end of the marching band torture scene was noticeably altered and Sellers' subsequent scenes were written out.
David Niven played Sir James Bond in this movie. Niven was actually James Bond creator Ian Fleming's original choice to play Bond. Actors considered for the role of Sir James included Laurence Harvey, Stanley Baker, Peter O'Toole and William Holden. The last two have cameos in the film.
In 1999 MGM paid Sony $10 million for the rights to this film.
Although the conflict between Peter Sellers and Orson Welles has become legendary, it was reportedly Sellers who suggested Welles for the role of Le Chiffre.
Among the many inside jokes in the movie is Stirling Moss' cameo as a man who is instructed to "follow that car" and runs after it on foot. Moss is one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
According to writer Eric Lax, Woody Allen was astonished by what he viewed as extravagant spending on the film (for example, he was flown in and put up in an expensive hotel for several weeks doing nothing before they got around to shooting his scenes) and the chaotic production. He wrote to a friend, "The film will probably make a mint. Not money, but a single peppermint."
The British Intelligence agency in this movie is MI5 and not MI6 nor SIS as in EON Productions' official James Bond series.
The only James Bond movie to date to feature two US Top 40 chart-toppers from the same James Bond movie. They were the "Casino Royale" Theme by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and "The Look of Love" by Dusty Springfield, with music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David. They went to No. #27 and No. #4, respectively, on the US Billboard Chart. The latter song was nominated for a Best Song Oscar.
The film's original studio-approved budget was $6 million, a large sum for 1966. However, production problems resulted in the shoot running months over schedule, with an accompanying increase in costs. By the time the film was finally completed its original $6-million budget had more than doubled, making it one of the most expensive films made up to that time. The previous official Bond movie, Thunderball (1965), had a budget of between $9-$11 million, while You Only Live Twice (1967), which was released the same year as "Casino Royale", had a budget of $9.5-$11.5 million. The extremely high budget of "Casino Royale" caused it to earn a reputation as being "a mini Cleopatra (1963)", referring to the runaway and out-of-control costs of that infamous Elizabeth Taylor film, which almost bankrupted 20th Century-Fox.
The film premiered on April 13, 1967, exactly 14 years to the day after the Ian Fleming "Casino Royale" novel was published.
The scenes with Woody Allen were shot in London. Producers delayed his final day of shooting so many times that out of frustration Allen left the set, went directly to Heathrow Airport and flew back to New York City without changing out of his costume.
John Bluthal was to play more roles but Peter Sellers had him sacked.
This movie was aired for the first time in Guatemala on the night of 3 February 1976, only hours before the devastating earthquake that rattled the country and killed thousands. The movie is known in Guatemala as "The Movie of the Night Before the Earthquake".
In his first scene David Niven is seen bouncing up and down in a chair whose seat is fixed to what appear to be accordion bellows. This is a "chamber horse", a home exercise machine that was popular in 18th-century Britain.
The Mata Hari Dance & Spy School is located on the fictional West German street Feldmanstrasse, named for producer Charles K. Feldman.
Though the movie has little in common with the original Ian Fleming James Bond novel, a tie-in release of this book with the movie still occurred complete with the film's tattooed girl movie poster on the cover. A tagline for this edition read: "From: M. To: 007. IMMEDIATE ACTION. Have just seen Charles K. Feldman's film of this book - Only one thing in common - Both brilliant. Investigate and report."
Ursula Andress, Vladek Sheybal, Burt Kwouk. John Hollis, Angela Scoular, Milton Reid, Caroline Munro and Nikki Van der Zyl (the last performing voice-overs only) appeared both in this movie and in the "real" James Bond movies.
Ian Hendry was cut out of this project. All that remains of his role is a dead body being removed.
Dr. Noah's name was a spoof of the name of the Bond villain Dr. No whilst the name of Miss Giovana Goodthighs was a parody of the Miss Mary Goodnight character, both from the Ian Fleming novels. These characters appeared in EON Productions' Dr. No (1962) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), respectively.
Vehicles featured included James Bond's black supercharged Bentley Special 4.5 litre; Evelyn Tremble's black Lotus Formula 3 race car; a white Jaguar E roadster; a black Mercedes-Benz; Wrights Dairies light yellow Bedford milk delivery van; a Citroën police car; and a Golden three-wheeler.
Orson Welles reportedly insisted on including magic tricks into his scenes, a possible source of the friction between him and Peter Sellers.
A carpet beater can be seen hanging from the side of Orson Welles's chair. This is a link to the original Casino Royale novel, in which Le Chiffre tortures Bond by thrashing his testicles with a carpet beater.
Apparently, when the majority of the stars were cast, most of them were not aware when they signed on that this was a comedy-spoof and not a straight James Bond movie.
Producer Charles K. Feldman originally intended to make the film as a co-production with official Bond series producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. Saltzman and Broccoli had just co-produced the previous Bond film Thunderball (1965) with Kevin McClory, and did not want to do so again. United Artists supposedly offered Feldman $500,000 for the rights to "Casino Royale" in 1965 but the offer was rejected. Forced to produce the film on his own, Feldman approached Sean Connery to star as Bond. Unwilling to meet Connery's $1-million salary demand, Feldman decided to turn the film into a spoof, and cast David Niven as Bond instead. After the film went through numerous production problems and a spiraling budget, Feldman met Connery at a Hollywood party and reportedly told him it would have been cheaper to pay him the $1 million.
Cameos by Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, and Barbra Streisand were planned.
Peter Sellers often caused interruptions by leaving the set for days at a time.
Numerous screenwriters and directors contributed bits to the film and were uncredited: Billy Wilder (the "Nobody's Perfect" tag line) and Terry Southern (the war room in Berlin) among them.
Orson Welles attributed the success of the film to a marketing strategy that featured a naked tattooed lady on the film's posters and print ads.
The name for the organization SMERSH comes from a Soviet counterespionage organization that existed during World War II. It was a branch of the NKVD (later KGB). The name is derived from the Russian phrase "smiert spionam" ("death to spies"). The Living Daylights (1987) later made use of Smiert Spionam as a plot device.
After the contest with the SMERSH bagpipers, the song David Niven is humming as he goes upstairs is "The Skye Boat Song", a traditional Scottish ballad about the glorious retreat of the failed insurgent leader Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Film debut of David Prowse.
Ian Fleming received three offers for the film rights to his "Casino Royale" novel during 1954. Producer/director Gregory Ratoff bought the rights to the novel in May 1954 for $600. It was a six-month option and Ratoff took this to CBS, which produced it and broadcast it as a one hour-episode for Climax! (1954) (Climax!: Casino Royale (1954)]. CBS then purchased the rights to the novel for $1000. John Shepridge negotiated the sale of the film and television rights in 1954. Before the sale, the "Casino Royale" novel had not been successful, and was even retitled and Americanized for its paperback issue. Twelve months later, and after TV episode was broadcast, Ratoff bought "Casino Royale" outright in perpetuity for an additional $6000. Both sales, including the option and the buy-out, Fleming later said he regretted because he sold them so cheaply, but he needed the money at the time. With the money from the larger sale, Fleming bought a Ford Thunderbird at a cost of £3000. Ratoff passed away on 14 December 1960. In 1961 his widow sold the rights to producer Charles K. Feldman for $75,000, and instead of a straight James Bond film, Feldman shot Casino Royale (1967) as a James Bond parody. In 1999 Sony paid MGM $5 million to settle the $40-million lawsuit that MGM had brought against Sony over the Bond rights, due to Sony's intentions to remake "Casino Royale". Sony agreed to hand over all of its rights to the Bond character and "Casino Royale". In an ironic twist of fate, Sony bought MGM in 2005 and in 2006 released its own serious adaptation of the book, Casino Royale (2006).
Though this film is not part of the EON Productions official series, a number of compilation albums and CDs of James Bond film music actually often incorporate one or both of two tracks from this film, "The Look of Love" and "Casino Royale", in their compilations.
Duncan Macrae (Inspector Rene Mathis) died before the film's release in the UK.
Peter Sellers' then-wife Britt Ekland would go on to play a Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
Maude Spector, the casting director for this film, also worked on a number of "official" Sean Connery and Roger Moore James Bond Films.
Director Joseph McGrath was fired and replaced by Robert Parrish.
When Mata Bond swings into action, the background music is "Bond Street" also scored by this film's composer, Burt Bacharach. The real Bond Street can be seen in the later James Bond movie, Octopussy (1983).
An enormous Taj Mahal-type set was designed for the film but never built. The real Taj Mahal can be seen in the later James Bond movie Octopussy (1983).
The first image seen in the movie is graffiti on the Paris pissoir reading "Les Beatles".
According to Val Guest, who found himself finishing the work started by several of the other directors, the producer offered him a unique "Co-ordinating Director" credit, but he refused.
Le Chiffre is a French word which translates into English as "The Cypher" or "The Number". Other translations in different languages include "Die Nummer", "Herr Ziffer", and "Mr. Number".
Peter Sellers and Burt Kwouk played Inspector Clouseau and Cato in several Pink Panther movies. Casino Royale (1967) and The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) are the only two non-Panther movies they both appear in.
According to John Huston the role of M was intended for Robert Morley but he was unavailable.
When Peter Sellers arrives at MI5 headquarters to be kitted out by Q, all the soldiers seen are from the Intelligence Corps. The peaked caps have cypress green bands: the Intelligence Corps only began to wear berets of this color as its regimental headdress in 1977. The soldier who knocks himself out when saluting is wearing the Intelligence Corps cap badge.
Polo (Ronnie Corbett) refers to Peter Lorre, who played LeChiffre in Climax!: Casino Royale (1954).
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The stuntman Tony Smart would later serve as a special effects technician on the remake Casino Royale (2006).
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The film was released two months before You Only Live Twice (1967), in which Burt Kwouk and Terry Richards also appeared. This was the first of two times that two "James Bond" films were released in the same year. It occurred again sixteen years later with Octopussy (1983) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
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The preponderance of Scottish cultural paraphernalia in the film is a nod to the nationality of Sean Connery, the actor who made James Bond an internationally popular franchise.
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The Bond / Casino Royale / Pink Panther connection: David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Roger Moore have all played James Bond and appeared in Pink Panther films, and their characters in The Pink Panther films had possession of the Pink Panther Diamond at one time or another. Roger Moore and Peter Sellers have both played Inspector Clouseau. Animator Richard Williams directed the opening credits for Casino Royale (1967) and The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976).
In his book "Woody Allen: A Biography", John Baxter lists uncredited contributors to the movie's script, including Allen collaborator Mickey Rose, Frank Buxton, Orson Welles, Joseph McGrath, John Huston, and former MGM president Dore Schary.
This film was originally intended to be released on Christmas in 1966, but because the shoot ran several months over schedule the film was not released until April of 1967.
Shirley MacLaine was once extensively touted in the media as going to feature in this movie.


Peter O'Toole:  As a Piper. His fee was allegedly a case of champagne (at least in part).
George Raft:  as himself, doing his famous coin-tossing routine.
David Prowse:  As Frankenstein's Monster in Doctor Noah's lair. Prowse reprised the role in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974).
Jean-Paul Belmondo:  As a French Foreign Legionnaire.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As of 2012, this is the only theatrical production in which James Bond dies during the course of events (in the concluding casino explosion).
Casino Royale was Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel. It was the only one not sold to Eon Productions. As a result, CBS TV first adapted it for an episode of Climax! (1954) in 1954, starring Barry Nelson as CIA agent Jimmy Bond. When plans began to adapt the novel as a motion picture, the original thought was to do a straight film of the novel. But with the success of Sean Connery's Bond, it was decided the only way a rival Bond film could survive would be as a parody. The Peter Sellers sequence is the only part of Ian Fleming's novel to make it into the film. The confrontation with Le Chiffre in the casino, the plan to discredit Le Chiffre with SMERSH and the villain's execution by enemy agents are all in the novel. So is the notion of Bond writing a book on baccarat, and the element of Vesper being an enemy spy. The film was generally reported as a failure financially in the press because it was outperformed at the box office by the official Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), which was released in the same year, and because of the film's high costs. Despite its very high production budget and additional costs in marketing and advertising, it still managed to make a net profit of well over $5 million for the studio. Casino Royale (1967) was the 3rd highest grossing film for the year behind only The Jungle Book (1967) and You Only Live Twice (1967).

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