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Andrew Graham-Dixon ...
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19 November 2006 (UK)  »

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Features Climax!: Casino Royale (1954) See more »

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Solid documentary but probably not for those just familiar for the films as you need a specific affection for Fleming and his writing in particular
17 February 2007 | by (Birmingham, UK) – See all my reviews

With the film version of Casino Royale doing great business in cinemas towards the end of 2006, this BBC4 documentary looks back at the book itself. An interesting subject since you do have to bear in mind how this was the first time Bond existed and how famous and successful he and the film series have become. Although this was screened on the back of the back of the new film, the focus is much more about the book and Ian Fleming himself.

The downside of this is that viewers unfamiliar with the book will probably find parts of this rather dull as it doesn't touch areas they are interested in. It does use clips of the 2006 version and the terrible spoof version but this is not really for any reason other than filling the film. Instead we spent a lot of our time hearing excerpts from the book which are followed by insight into the background from either Fleming himself (in a little seen interview) or others who knew him. For the most part it is reasonably interesting stuff but it never really engages or surprises as much as I had hoped it would because it is so matter-of-fact.

Graham-Dixon doesn't come across as having a lot of passion for this subject and as a result his delivery is a bit plodding. He isn't helped by his director who gives him quite static shots to deliver within and this does rob his words of energy as well. The others contributors are solid enough and the footage of Fleming will be worth the hour for his fans. Overall though, the casual viewer, fan of the film series will find this a tad stiff and dull. Fans of the original book will be interesting but even they will find a film lacking in much in the way of revelation.


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