Monday, April 13, 2015

Seeing Double: Casino Royale…. Bond 365

Jonathan Cape (UK)

I think that today is rather unique because today in 1953 saw the UK book release of Casino Royale, the very first James Bond novel from Ian Fleming. And in 1967, Casino Royale the film version starring David Niven was released in the UK.

I read the novel for the first time probably about two years ago and do need to revisit it again. I enjoyed Fleming’s storytelling, especially his lengthy description of the high-stakes game of baccarat. If memory serves me correctly, I did find some of Fleming’s terminology towards women a bit dated, but overall, I quite liked the novel.

Casino Royale (1967) movie poster (Wikipedia)
I cannot say the same of the 1967 comedic version in which there were too many Bonds (even if it was meant to confuse SMERSH), too many directors, and too much mayhem. After becoming the Area Chair for James Bond Studies, I wanted to watch this version of Casino Royale, but when I finally did, I was sadly disappointed. Although Bond knock-offs and spoofs were very popular and rather fun to watch, I found this satirical offering a jumbled mess and jarring. In addition, because the novel and 2006 filmic version are favorites of mine, my dissatisfaction of this version was intensified. It was a waste of several talented people.

If you haven’t read the book, by all means, it’s well worth it, but  pass on the 1967 film and watch the 2006 version again.

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