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
The year after this American James Bond telemovie was broadcast, the paperback edition of the Ian Fleming "Casino Royale" novel was re-titled as "Too Hot Too Handle" in the USA. Previously, Fleming had also suggested the titles "The Double-O Agent" and "The Deadly Gamble". In 1960, the title of the novel reverted back to "Casino Royale" in the USA. The "Casino Royale" novel was the first Ian Fleming James Bond novel to have ever been "Americanized" by him, i.e. British idioms changed to American idioms. See more »
As Bond walks Valerie to the elevator, the shadow of the boom mic is visible at the top of the screen. 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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