American Combined Intelligence Agency spy James Bond aka Jimmy Bond arrives at the Casino Royale in Monte Carlo, Monaco but is shot at whilst entering. He meets up with British Secret Service secret agent Clarence Leiter (this character was called Felix Leiter in the original Ian Fleming novel). He briefs Bond about his mission then Bond runs into old flame Valerie Mathis (she is an amalgam of the Vesper Lynd and Rene Mathis characters from the novel). She introduces him to Le Chiffre who is the Chief Soviet Agent in the area and is nearly always accompanied by three henchman called Basil, Zoltan and Zuroff. Le Chiffre has been gambling with the Soviet funds of his employers and he's down several million francs. Bond's mission is to beat him at a high-stakes card game of Baccarat so Le Chiffre will be ruined. Written by
As Bond walks Valerie to the elevator, the shadow of the boom mic is visible at the top of the screen. See more »
[Directly behind Bond]
My cane is in your back, but it is a gun, not a cane, and can blow this space in your spine without a sound. You will appear to have fainted. I shall be gone. Before I count ten, you will accompany me to the office and give me the money. If you call for help, I shall fire. One... two... three... four... five... six...
[Bond suddenly knocks the cane out of Zoltan's hand]
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Character name Leiter is misspelt as Letter in the closing credits. See more »
I don't think it was until the internet era that I found out an obscure trivia fact and that was the first media appearance of Ian Fleming's James Bond wasn't Sean Connery in DR NO but Barry Nelson in an American anthology series called CLIMAX which adapted CASINO ROYALE . We all know Bond is the most successful film franchise in history and we all recognise the icons , the babes , the exotic locations , the gadgets , the big set piece stunts etc of a franchise featuring a very British fictional hero . Now imagine a James Bond story without any of these icons . Worse than that imagine if he was an American character ? I do apologise I didn't mean to make you faint
Some people have said this live American TV production deserves some credit for at least sticking to the plot of the original novel which is not something you can say about the films that started going their own way even before the end of the 1960s . My own fascination watching this was entirely down to the opposite reason - it's Bond as film noir that shares nothing in common with the film series . Bond played by Nelson wears a tuxedo and smokes too much but that's the only link you'll recognise . Surviving a murder attempt in the opening scene a policeman refers to it by stating:
" They weren't after your winnings then ? "
" Yeah ? They weren't after my autograph either " And that's the closest we get to show stopping one liners as the entire action takes place in a couple of sets shot in a TV studio as Jimmy tries to beat Peter Lorre's villain in a card game
On its own this obscure TV drama come thriller would be totally forgotten if it wasn't for the fact that it's the first on screen appearance of someone playing Ian Fleming's James Bond . In comparison you can see why Bond became an instant legend in the 1960s with the exotic location filming and the sexy and charismatic Sean Connery playing the role with a hard edge . Not to be too dismissive of the 1954 version of CASINO ROYALE it's fascinating to see Bond done as essentially film noir
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