The very first book by Ian Fleming that stars the famous and enigmatic spy/detective/lover James Bond. First published in 1953. The casino theme has been used again and again in subsequent James Bond books, and has been used to great effect in the movies. This book also contains the source for the famous line 'shaken, not stirred'.

Two quotes from Casino Royale

Shaken, not stirred
"A dry martini," he said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, Monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a,large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink,", said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'm -- er -- concentrating." he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made{....}"

Prophetic words from 1955, the year of publication

History is moving pretty quickly these days, and the heroes and villains keep changing parts.

In the novel Casino Royale, Bond is called upon to challenge Le Chiffre(The Cipher, The Number) at baccarat. Le Chiffre is the paymaster of SMERSH, and has lost their money in an ill-advised venture into bordellos. He has to win 50,000,000 francs before Smyert Shpionam kills him. Bond, with the assistance of a beautiful agent (Vesper Lynd) and his new American ally, Felix Leiter, beats Le Chiffre at the table.

Broke but unbroken, the villain kidnaps the girl, captures Bond, and tortures him (with the simple but brutally effective technique of strapping him naked in a cane chair with the seat cut out and smacking him in the testicles with a carpet beater). Before he gets the money back or kills Bond, a SMERSH assassin comes along and kills Le Chiffre and his henchmen, freeing Bond and Vesper.

Bond then gets together with her, only to learn that she is a double agent. He decides to leave the routine spying to others and make SMERSH his special target, as they are the organization that keeps the Russian spies spying.

CST Approved

Casino Royale (1967)
Dir. Val Guest, Ken Hughes
Writing: Ian Fleming (novel) Wolf Mankowitz
uncredited: Billy Wilder, John Law, Michael Sayers, Woody Allen, Val Guest, Ben Hecht, Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, Peter Sellers

David Niven .... Sir James Bond
Peter Sellers .... Evelyn Tremble(James Bond-007)
Ursula Andress .... Vesper Lynd (007)
Orson Welles .... Le Chiffre
Joanna Pettet .... Mata Bond (007) (daughter of James Bond and Mata Hari
Daliah Lavi .... The Detainer (007)
Woody Allen .... Jimmy Bond (Dr. Noah)
Deborah Kerr .... Agent Mimi (alias Lady Fiona McTarry)
William Holden .... Ransome (CIA)
Charles Boyer .... Legrand (Cinquieme Bureau)
John Huston .... McTarry (M)
Kurt Kasznar .... Smernov (KGB)
George Raft .... Himself
Jean-Paul Belmondo .... French Legionnaire (as Jean Paul Belmondo)
Terence Cooper .... Cooper (James Bond-007)
Barbara Bouchet .... Moneypenny
Jacqueline Bisset .... Miss Goodthighs (as Jacky Bisset)
Peter O'Toole .... Piper (uncredited)

Before Austin Powers, there was this early spy-spoof, starring David Niven, whom Ian Fleming originally wanted to play the real James Bond. And so, the film follows the "real" James Bond as he tries to choose a successor, while Hollywood keeps up his image. Some very surreal sequences, very 1960s, and has Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," which for me makes it an automatic addition.

From the IMDB:
"With the success of Sean Connery's Bond, it was decided the only way a rival Bond film could survive would be as a parody. The Peter Sellers sequence is the only part of Ian Fleming's novel to make it into the film. The confrontation with Le Chiffre in the casino, the plan to discredit Le Chiffre with SMERSH and the villain's execution by enemy agents are all in the novel. So is the notion of Bond writing a book on baccarat, and the element of Vesper being an enemy spy."


Piper (Peter O'Toole): Are you Richard Burton?
Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers): No, I'm Peter O'Toole!
Piper: Then you're the greatest man that ever BREATHED.

Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen): You can't shoot me! I have a very low threshold of death. My doctor says I can't have bullets enter my body at any time.

Mata Bond: I bet Mummy would've taken me in!
Sir James: Mummy took everyone in.

Sir James: It's depressing that the words "secret agent" have become synonymous with "sex maniac."

Unlike most of the books that followed, Ian Fleming tried, somewhat successfully, to write a semi-realistic book. Very little glamor...the title refers to the Casino AT Royale, described as a lackluster beach town in Normandy, where Le Chiffre -- who was based, in part, on Aleister Crowley-- tries to win back his fortunes. We're talking about a time and place where one-way mirrors are considered wildly sophisticated and high-tech surveillance.

The pornography -- or fantasy element -- is that this fellow can freely travel to France with more than the then-current limit for money leaving the country (which was about $200 --today's money -- traveller's checks included, and credit cards hadn't been invented yet), eat WAY better than the average Brit (who was still on ration cards at the time), drink quadruple-sized martinis, and flirt with girls. When he gets tortured, Le Chiffre remarks that you really don't need to go into complicated setups to physically interrogate a man -- unlike a woman -- just tie them up and hit their balls until they talk. (I've often wondered what he'd DO to girls -- probably that thing involving a field telephone....or a Violet Wand..mmm...) Anyway, my favorite quote from the book....along with the impossibly large drink recipe, of course!

A small hotel/casino on the Las Vegas strip, directly attached to a Denny's restaurant. The casino offers one of the few dollar Craps games in the city (and the strip), with exceptional 100x odds on the game (yielding a theoretical 0.021% house edge for anyone who can afford betting $101 per round).

It offers $1 Margaritas, penny slots, and other low-minimum games in addition to Craps for cheapskates. Its slot club frequently offers double and triple point promotions.

Apart from these fairly unique attempts to entice people to spend money at their tables, and the by-name reference to the (in)famous book by Ian Fleming, the casino is unremarkable. Its slot club rewards only non-local players; any local who signs up is told they will not receive any funbooks or coupons, no freebies, and is unlikely to receive any promotional mailings from the casino. Its cocktail waitresses are a bit on the old side, and don't wear very impressive outfits anyway. They are all universally slow, no matter how much you're gambling, or how fast.

Odds calculation provided by; all the rest from experience.

Casino Royale (2006)

Contains some spoilers...

Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's first Bond book, is pretty unique as a Bond movie. For a start, the book was already made into a movie - back in 1967, though it was a parody rather than a real Bond movie, starring David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. The other thing about Casino Royale is that, unlike most Bond movies of the last 15 or so years, it isn't solely about the cars, girls and gadgets.

That's not to say that there aren't girls - Ivana Milicevic does a very sexy turn as Valenka, wife of one of the main villain's henchmen, Dimitrious, though the main romantic interest in the film, Eva Green's Vesper Lynd, isn't really typical Bond girl material. And there are gadgets, too - Bond tracks down villains using his mobile phone, and MI6 are able to determine how Bond has been poisoned over the internet using some fancy technology stashed in the glove compartment of his car; without Q, though, Bond is left with pretty much just a gun and a car to get on with. Finally, the cars - yeah, there are a couple of very nice Aston Martins, but the first car Bond appears in is a Ford. A nice Ford, true, but not the kind of thing you'd expect Bond to drive.

The main focus of the film is on poker. Gambling, and bluffing. The plot revolves around Le Schiffre, a mathematical prodigy who has made himself personal banker to any number of terrorist leaders around the world. He looks like a fairly typical Bond villain, but is well played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. His trick is playing the stock market, by setting up various events to cause stocks to rise and fall at will - for example, at one point M (played with her usual class by Judi Dench) implies that he was behind the 9/11 attack, and cleaned up on airline stocks afterwards. When Bond foils his attempt to destroy the biggest airplane in the world, Le Chiffre loses millions, and is forced into a poker tournament to try and make up what he has lost. And it just so happens that Bond is the best poker player in the secret service.

What a lot of people will be wondering is - what about Daniel Craig? Playing Bond for the first time, he didn't really look the part. Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, Roger Moore were all suave and debonair Bonds, while Craig never really looked 100% comfortable in his tuxedo. He still played the role with a lot of charm, and convinced in all the action scenes. And for the ladies - he does appear several times wearing nothing but a small pair of shorts.

Though the meat of the film is in the big poker game, there are also some very cool set-pieces. The opening sequence - shot nicely in black and white - tells of how Bond became a double-0 rated agent; his first mission, after the well-animated title sequences (featuring a fairly standard Bond theme by David Arnold and Chris Cornell), involves a very cool free running sequence on a building site - Bond's target jumps through windows and off ledges, while Bond himself just runs straight through chipwood boards, and ends up blowing up a small African embassy. There's enough action to keep 007 fans happy, while Bond's witty one-liners and his conversations with Lynd on the psychology of poker will provide for those looking for more than just brain-candy. The film's slightly drawn-out conclusion, while a little obvious, was still satisfying, and the film ends on the immortal line "The name's Bond. James Bond".

Overall, it was an entertaining film; while it's not exactly Bergman, it pushes all the right buttons, and you won't leave the cinema disappointed.

Directed by Martin Campbell.

Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis (screenplay) & Ian Fleming (novel).

Original score by David Arnold


Cast & some other details take from imdb.

YES! Yes, yes, the whole world...will know...that you died...scratching MY BALLS!

-James Bond 007

Um, yeah.

Casino Royale. It's almost like the Bond Franchise is out to erase the Woody Allen and Co. movie as a 'blot on their honor.' After making movies using titles ripped from increasingly tenuous connections to Ian Fleming's actual Bond stories, they've thrown up their hands and gone back to basics with the title of the very first James Bond novel. They're telling us that this is a serious attempt to 'reset the series,' as well - that Bond is in for a complete revamp (again).

So how'd they do?

Well, it certainly is a new Bond. For one thing, he's blond.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me be quite clear: I liked this movie. Quite a bit, actually. I have a large number of problems with it, however, and while I'm going to try to be as even-handed as possible in terms of lines spent on each, that's going to be hard. The reason for this is that the things this movie does right, it does because it does them according To Formula, whereas many of its mistakes are its very own. Therefore, it would be pointless to go into great detail about why the film is good; it's more effective if I tell you 'here's where it Does The Job' because, really, it's a Bond Movie. It's aspiring to be a – or the quintessential – Bond Movie. It does have some good bits all its own, and I'll try to hit those.

The Man

Heehee, I got to use the 'big strong' tags up there. Perfect. Daniel Craig is Our Favorite Not-So-Secret agent, and in this movie we see him achieve that iconic Double O status which means he's licensed to kill. We also find out some of what it takes to get that tick on your file. Craig has an interesting challenge to pull off, here. He's explicitly playing Bond as an early-career agent, before he's acquired the savoir-faire for which Sean Connery made the screen Bond famous. In this, he hews quite close to the novels; his Bond has icy eyes and a cold expression, and famously cruel lips (which for some reason Ian loved to talk about).

He's a killer, after all.

So for mannerisms, he's going by the Book Bond. Ruthless, cold, almost no quirky, funny lines (and practically zero double entendres). Some humor, but all of the type that would tend to make ice water drizzle down your back if you were facing him.

Physically, he doesn't really match up to the book well, but matches early Connery; Craig is an impressive specimen, and they love showing him to us. Getting out of the Bahamas surf, tied to a chair naked, ripping shirts off on several occasions (with and without bloodstains), etcetera. If you're into pecs, you'll be allll over this movie.

The Mission

If you're looking for any form of continuity to prior Bond franchises, just get off the train now. Let's see, it's Bond's first mission - but it's present day. There goes the books out the window. M is his boss, yes - but M is played by Judi Dench, who we clearly remember taking over from a prior, male M in a previous movie, in which she oversaw a different Bond who predated her in MI6. Uhhhh, okay, what? Right. It just gets worse. There's no Major Boothroyd (Q) at all, nor anyone who does his job; there's a group of anonymous 'support boffins'. BZZZT.

The less said about that, the better. The movie had really better stand up on its own. At least they explicitly called it a reset.

The Girls

Bond Girl. Ah. The myths, the magic. Well, not so much here. The first one (Ivana Milicevic) is a married woman (which our James says he prefers) who doesn't last long as the object of our agent's affections. She's attractive, luscious and slinky, and there does seem to be chemistry, but there's not enough time.

Room service? Yes, I'd like a bottle of Bollinger and the Beluga caviar.
Very good, Mr. Bond. For two?
No. For one.

Then the real deal - Vesper Lynd, (Eva Green) from Her Majesty's Treasury, there to oversee James' spending habits during the all-important card game at the eponymous Casino Royale. In true fashion, she is disdainful, haughty, smart as only brunettes can be in these types of movies, and he has to win her affections despite her loathing for his profession and 'type.' Straightforward.


Personal preferences don't count, so I'll cut this short. I was titillated, but not enthralled with Miss Lynd. She was extremely predictable, which the best Bond Girls really aren't. She felt too much like a foil.

No, I fell in love with what I felt was the Real Bond Girl in the movie. I am referring, of course, to the brand-spanking-new Aston Martin DB-S. Oh. Oh oh oh. Sexual energy formed into deep emotional connections of love and...never mind, I'll stop. It is all I would ever wish for, and I actually screamed in pain when it met a horrid and violent end.

The Villain

All Bond movies need baddies. This one is no exception. It has a plethora of them. In fact, it has a central bad guy, but it actually has so many of them I actually got completely confused. Point not in its favor. When the movie ends and you're trying to figure out precisely who did what to whom in the final twenty minutes, that's not a Bond movie, it's a David Mamet caper flick. Which this wasn't.

Mads Mikkelsen (did I spell that right?) does a good job as Le Chiffre, but Le Chiffre just isn't really...a Bond Villain, somehow. He's ruthless, but he's not in enough control to be a Bond Villain, even in the books. He's memorable, but not for the right reasons. He doesn't have a backstory. He, and then isn't, and it's not satisfying...and then there's a cloud of other bad guys who you can't sort out.

Custy, what did it get right?

Oh! Sorry. It got a lot of stuff right. The intro was extremely strong; classic Bond. The intro animation and theme? Great. Good stuff, despite sharing a weakness of the later Brosnan movies - the reluctance to use the classic Bond theme during action sequences. It's relegated to the closing credits, pretty much. Come on, people, there's a reason it's a classic of the industry.

The movie starts off very, very strong; just down-to-earth enough to eclipse the over-the-top nature of the Brosnan series' worst excesses, but modern enough and tight enough to avoid the fluffy-shirt-wannabe crap of the Timothy Dalton series - the ones where you wonder why he still isn't sporting Prince Barin's mustache from Flash Gordon. The initial foot chase, with heavy Parkour influence, is well choreographed and very well photographed as well, and establishes Craig early as a burly guy who's good with his body - somehow, you just can't see Roger Moore doing that stuff.

The movie isn't afraid to harken back to earlier Connery-era classic 'intrigue in a hotel' mode later on, rather than going the route of the later Daltons and the Brosnans, where once the ride had started the only thing possible was to continue to escalate the adrenaline level. The middle segment of the movie is taken up entirely by the poker game (Texas Hold'Em? Oh, please) at the Casino Royale and the intrigues surrounding it; this is a refreshing change from horse-to-yak-to-train-to-fighter jet-to-Concorde-to-ship-to-blimp-to-submarine-to-helicopter-to-space shuttle progressions that prior Bond movies have felt forced to follow.

Judi Dench, of course, is awesome. I have one problem with her, which is that one of the primary dynamics between M and Bond is that of unspoken father figure. Bond doesn't trust anyone except M, because as an orphan, M is his father figure - and while having Dench as a 'replacement' M was fine, having her as the only M he's known removes that dynamic. It's a tad disappointing. But Dench is so good, I almost don't care.

Final Summary

The movie is entertaining. Whether you'll like it as a Bond Movie depends, as some have said here, on what your taste for Bond is. I think it's a strong Bond movie, but it went about 25 minutes too long for its plot, and it shows. It could have been much stronger with some better editing. The villain needed to be stronger; Craig is a good Bond whose portrayal is problematic for me because I'm a purist and he's mashing various Bonds from various sources in a manner that I can't ignore. They do make a strong attempt to explain some of the classic Bond's well-known attitudes and affectations, which they can by showing him at the start of his career, and that's fun to see. The action sequences are good, but the ones at the beginning are better than those at the end, which is unfortunate because it really should be the other way around. In the end, though? It felt a lot like the book Casino Royale - authentic, which I like, but...authentic tends to mean 'dull.'

Still, it should be seen in the theaters, just for the opening sequence and the last line, if you're a Bond fan. It's enough to make you tear up.

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