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
In an interview with Starlog Magazine in October 1983, Barry Nelson said: "So they went through and cut three words here, a line there, a half-a-word here, and their script ended up looking like a bad case of tic-tac-toe. I tell you it was so frightening that when I entered my only thought was, 'Oh, God, if I can only get out of this mother!'. I was very dissatisfied with the part, I thought they wrote it poorly. No charm or character or anything." Peter Lorre played arch-villain Le Chiffre and acted opposite a worried Nelson. Due to the last minute script-changes, apparently Lorre said to the panic-stricken Nelson, "Straighten up, Barry, so I can kill you!". See more »
A prop gun went off accidentally right at the beginning of the show. Four shots are heard but only three gunshot markings are seen on the casino building. See more »
This film is a bit of an oddity. It was a live TV play, made a decade before Sean Connery appeared in Dr No. It's nothing like the Bond films we all know and love - anyone expecting action set-pieces will be disappointed as the whole play/film takes place on 2 sets.
THE GOOD POINTS: 1. A rare little gem, bringing James Bond to the screen for the first time. 2. One of the closest adaptations of Ian Fleming's works. 3. Peter Lorre - very good villain.
THE BAD POINTS: 1. Renaming James Bond as "Card-Sense Jimmy Bond". Oh. My. God. 2. Making Bond a Yank. Americans seem to have this need to take credit away from the Brits for everything (Don't even get me started on U-571). 3. They made Felix Leiter a Brit and renamed him Clarence. Sigh...
Anyway, gripes aside it IS worth seeking out if you're a fan. It's available in 2 versions as far as I am aware. The version I have is about an hour long, but there are rumours of a longer version which continues from where the other left off in which the villain returns from the dead to carry on the fight a bit more.
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