Swingin’ Sixties: Casino Royale (1967)
Let’s get one thing clear straight at the start, Casino Royale is a disjointed over-inflated mess of a James Bond spoof film. That said, there are a quite a few things, taken individually, which are remarkable and pleasurable to watch. The Oscar nominated Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love” sung by Dusty Springfield during the slow-motion aquarium scene with Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress is very sensuous and one of the best in the film. The unbelievable who’s-who cast provides nail-biting anticipation of who you might see next, while the bold colourful art direction and costume designs scream Swingin’ Sixties. Sadly, all these components taken together can’t help a film with a farcical plot and lack of continuity created by behind-the-scenes egos and excesses.
The star-power of this film boasts Peter Sellers, who was at his peak following the Pink Panther film hits; Ursula Andress, who’s iconic bathing suit from the Bond film Dr. No (1962) is highlighted in the Bond girl scene; David Niven, Ian Fleming’s original choice to play Bond; Orson Welles, complete with magic tricks; Deborah Kerr, Woody Allen, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Kurt Kasznar, Jacqueline Bisset, Joanna Pettet, and Barbara Bouchet just to name a few. Plus if you’ve got a quick eye you can also spot Geraldine Chaplin, Anjelica Houston and Peter O’Toole, who reportedly took a case of champagne as payment for his uncredited part.
Oscar winning English costume designer Julie Harris is credited with the costumes for the film, but noticeably there are four other designers who get credit for certain highlighted parts, leading us to piece together exactly what Harris designed. Bermans of London is credited for Ursula Andress and Joanna Pettet’s costumes, Henri Chombert of Paris is credited for Andress’ furs, Guy Laroche of Paris is credited for the Casino dresses, while Paco Rabanne of Paris is credited for the Guard Girl dresses. Meanwhile, poor Betty Adamson has the responsibility, as Wardrobe Supervisor, to keep all of this organized and straight. If you have a few cocktails, and can suspend your disbelief long enough, this film can be quite fun to watch. Cheers!