CASINO ROYALE (1967) (Netflix) – On the surface, the idea that both the name James Bond and the designation 007 are moved from man to man are something of a good idea to explain away film and actor contradictions. Sadly, that’s just a plot device for something of a boring, silly mess of a film. Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond was nice in theory… Peter Sellers dressing as Napoleon, Hitler, Toulouse-Lautrec… it’s just weird. The very short bits with LeChiffre (Orson Welles) and Bond (Peter Sellers) playing baccarat and the torture sequence are some of the only bits that seem to survive to the remake in some small way.
The Remake Chronicles has an interesting comparison of the 67 and 07 versions of CASINO ROYALE, including the Monty Python influence.
I think this one tries too much to be everything from THE AVENGERS to CARRY ON… The first AUSTIN POWERS film seems to be a tribute to the twenty minutes near the the end of this film; Doctor Evil couldn’t be more of an homage to Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen). I imagine it would have done better with some of the laughing gas for the viewers and not just the characters in the final scene.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (Netflix) – Coincidentally, there’s more than just Peter Sellers in this and CASINO ROYALE on today’s schedule; also Tracey Reed. A classic satire of the cold war. Nice film to put CASINO ROYALE behind me.
AUSTIN POWERS – THE INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY – The first Austin Powers film, when it was still a funny concept. The whole film is somehow both better than I remember it, and worse. There were a few too many easy jokes in some cases; the scene with Tom Arnold is particularly simplistic and easy. Most of the best lines in this film are reserved for Dr. Evil.
Dr Evil: Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it’s breathtaking, I suggest you try it.