Casino Royale Review

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Sir James Bond is called out of retirement when the world is threatened by mysterious mastermind ‘Dr Noah’. Meanwhile, the British secret service recruit and train various other operatives who are code-named ‘James Bond 007’, notably baccarat expert Evel


With five directors, at least seven 007s (including Joanna Pettet, Terence Cooper and Woody Allen!), more spot gags than a MAD Magazine article and a panoply of astonishingly beautiful women, this spoof of the Bond films is overpopulated, overstuffed, wildly inconsistent, episodic and a total mess. But it’s so expensively insane that it can’t help but be entertaining.

For the money, you get... a terrific Burt Bacharach score (and Dusty Springfield singing ‘The Look of Love’); trendy psychedelic sets (you’ll love Ursula Andress’s bedroom); stretches of inspired lunacy (Deborah Kerr’s Scots routine, Peter Sellers insulting Orson Welles over a baccarat table); Dave Prowse as the Frankenstein Monster; a flying saucer in Trafalgar Square; comedy cameos from British institutions like Richard Wattis and Ronnie Corbett; more ‘60s lovelies (Ursula Andress, Dahlia Lavi, Jacqueline Bisset, Joanna Pettet) in more outlandish frocks than any other picture (it’s more sophisticatedly sexy than the official Bonds); Woody Allen before a firing squad (‘my doctor says I mustn’t allow bullets to enter any part of my body’); and an orgy of excess that tides over the let-the-fire-extinguishers-off-and-have-the-cowboys-ride-in slapstick. Too often written off as a disaster – and admittedly a total mess (Sellers walked off the set in mid-film, and the contrivances used to cover this are glaringly obvious) – it is arguably a more engaging, appealing film than 75 per cent of the “official” 007 films.

Despite being not officially a Bond film this is good solid, entertaining action.