Climax! (1954–1958)
5.8/10
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24 user 16 critic

Casino Royale 

American spy James Bond must outsmart card wiz and crime boss LeChiffre while monitoring his actions.

Director:

William H. Brown Jr. (as William H. Brown)

Writers:

Ian Fleming (novel), Antony Ellis (written for television by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Barry Nelson ... James Bond
Peter Lorre ... Le Chiffre
Linda Christian ... Valerie Mathis
Michael Pate ... Clarence Leiter
Eugene Borden Eugene Borden ... Chef de Parte
Jean Del Val ... Croupier (as Jean DeVal)
Gene Roth ... Le Chiffre's Henchman
Kurt Katch ... Le Chiffre's Henchman
William Lundigan ... Himself - Host
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Storyline

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 Jamie Skinner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1954 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (original broadcast)| Black and White (surviving kinescope prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Pate played the first ever Bond ally and screen incarnation of Felix Leiter but named Clarence Leiter instead. See more »

Goofs

As Bond walks Valerie to the elevator, the shadow of the boom mic is visible at the top of the screen. See more »

Quotes

Le Chiffre: All right. See this tool Mr Bond. It's very handy little tool. Serves all sorts of purposes. Oh. my little friend - you remember the one that had a gun that passed for a cane. Oh he was an expert with this. Huh. Unfortunately he's gone but I've learned a few of his tricks
[Moves closer to James Bond and puts the pliers in his face]
Le Chiffre: Now Mr Bond are you going to tell me where that check is?
James Bond: [Snigger. No response]
Le Chiffre: You won't, huh?
[Moves pliers away. James Bond looks away]
Le Chiffre: [Moves to end of the bathtub]
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Character name Leiter is misspelt as Letter in the closing credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally broadcast as an episode of "Climax!" (1954). Most prints retain the original Climax opening credits. The DVD release (as a bonus on the DVD for Casino Royale (1967) has added the MGM lion logo to reflect the fact the production is now owned by MGM. See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Weekly Bond: Casino Royale 1954 Review (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude for Piano, Op. 28, No. 24 in D Minor (The Storm)
by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

 
Jim Bond, old-time American-style
1 May 2007 | by BogmeisterSee all my reviews

Let's enter a dim, bygone alternate universe where James Bond was an American agent, strolling through a low-budget TV production adaptation of the Ian Fleming novel. In footage nearly lost, reflected in the muddy black-and-white presentation, we witness an historic first - the first TV or film incarnation of James Bond. Completing the reversal on Fleming's original concept, Bond's buddy Leiter is a British agent (always an American CIA agent in the future films). Yep, we've definitely entered a Twilight Zone-type warped version of the Bond mythology. It's typical, however, of the limitations of the live television format from the fifties: two or three different small sets (rooms) are used for the entire show; the action is slow, driven mainly by dialog, and it has the feel of a stage play, in three acts. What brief fight scenes there are, towards the end, are somewhat crude and awkward, not surprising since it is a live broadcast. The script follows Fleming's premise: Bond's mission is basically to outplay the main villain at cards (baccarat, in this case) and take his money; this remained the major plot point of the new film version in 2006.

Filmmakers always seem to despair when given the task of making a card game exciting on film, but the potential is there - "The Cincinnati Kid"(65) is a good example and the 2006 version of "Casino Royale" also did a good job. Here, though a static game of cards seemed suitable for a TV episode, the solution was to make the scenes as short as possible. Bond (Nelson) gains the upper hand over Le Chiffre (Lorre) after only a couple of hands in the 2nd act and it's all over. The more intense scenes, in this version's favor, come about in the 3rd and final act, when Le Chiffre employs a tool of torture (below the bottom of the picture, off-screen) on a couple of Bond's toes; I guess he breaks them - actor Nelson gasps in pain convincingly. This retained the essential streak of sadism in Fleming's Bond stories (and the subsequent films), a surprising inclusion considering the bland TV standards of the fifties. Nelson was bland, as well, but adequate. Lorre was Lorre, one of those character actors known for stealing scenes, with an unforgettable voice. He was well cast as the first Bond villain, albeit a TV show version. This was, to its credit, a serious, no-nonsense approach, if quite a bit on the stiff side.

Bond:6 Villain:7 Femme Fatale:6 Henchmen:5 Leiter:6 Fights:4 Gadgets:n/a Pace:5 overall:6-. This was the Bond title that the producers of the regular series of Bond films begun in 1962 were unable to use until the end of the century. The next film version of "Casino Royale" was in 1967, a completely different approach as a satirical silly romp. But James Bond would return on the big screen in "Dr.No"(1962).


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