A mess. CASINO ROYALE is two hours and eleven minutes of non sequitur. David Niven is Sir James Bond. (Author Ian Fleming, a close friend of Niven, always wanted Niven to assay his famous creation.) He's retired, middle-aged, bejowled, and tired. SMERSH is up to no good, so Niven is asked
to help when M (John Huston) is slain. He contacts several agents, all of them 007s. These include Andress, Sellers, Terence Cooper, and Pettet (who is Niven's daughter, the result of a liaison with Mata Hari). After more witless, star-loaded vignettes, Niven finally learns that the real villain
is none other than his own ineffectual nephew, Woody Allen.
CASINO ROYALE first found life as a one-hour TV show for CBS's "Climax" in 1954, starring Barry Nelson. The film rights were sold in 1955 and eventually acquired by ex-agent Charles Feldman. Almost every actor yukked it up while making this movie, and the result is totally unfocused. Anything with
five directors and screenwriters has to rank on anyone's list for sheer chutzpah.
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