Casino Royale, the '67 007 Spoof: Cast List And Facts
By | December 26, 2020
The 1967 James Bond comedy Casino Royale assembled one of the greatest cast lists in movie history, including Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress, David Niven, William Holden, Barbara Bouchet, George Raft, Deborah Kerr and more. The list of stars makes the poster look like a page out of a phone book -- well, if you look past Robert McGinnis' iconic image of a body-painted pistol-packin' model. This farce, which featured numerous James Bonds and which isn't at all part of the Eon 007 canon (which had kicked off with Sean Connery in Dr. No five years earlier), is the sort of kitchen-sink '60s comedy that tried to be hip but seems incredibly square today. It also tried to be funny, with mixed results.
Bond, James Bond, the seductive secret agent with no equal, never encountered a situation without a pun at the ready. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Casino Royale” that starred Woody Allen, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, and Orson Welles as opposed to Sean Connery or Daniel Craig. The ‘67 Casino Royale in no way resembles a James Bond film because it really isn’t one. Producer Charles K. Feldman secured the rights from Ian Fleming but failed to rope in any of the major players. So instead, Feldman, coming off the major success of the purposely incongruous, “What’s New, Pussycat,” went the spoof route for his swing at 007.
Casino Royale was a star-studded debacle -- not an unsuccessful film, owing probably to its A-list cast, but not a classic. It was painful to watch at the time (as contemporary reviews make clear); today it's kitschy fun for the dated visuals and verges on so-bad-its's-good. Eon productions, the company headed by the Broccoli family that is responsible for the Bond cinematic canon, was horrified by the tarnishing of the James Bond brand. Ever since, Eon has been famously protective of the rights to Ian Fleming's work, lest some other inferior version of the secret agent make it to the big screen. (Eon's failure to lock down exclusive rights to Thunderball resulted in the non-canon Never Say Never Again, but that's another story.)